Last month a team of three students in the Accounting MBA finished in ninth place in a national business simulation competition against 92 other MBA teams from universities around the U.S.
Four teams from MUM participated in the competition, with the team of Patricia Barreto-Larez (Venezuela), Thao Tran (Vietnam), and Ying Liu (China) earning ninth place. The simulation was part of Andrew Bargerstock’s class in Lean Accounting Transformation.
The simulation required the students to take the role of a company and make myriad decisions, from pricing and cost control to innovation and automation. The simulation creator, Capsim Management Simulations, Inc. of Northfield, Illinois, is the largest business game provider in the U.S.
Dr. Bargerstock said that the game scenario took place in the sensor products industry. In the scenario the Securities Exchange Commission has broken a monopoly into smaller companies. Each team assumed the role of a company and began with an equal market share and financial resources. And each round of decision-making represented a year of business activity. Making good decisions was no small task. The students had to analyze and assess a variety of reports about the industry, the competitors, and their company’s own past performance results. They had to decide on research and development strategies, marketing tactics, sales and production forecasts, financing requirements, human resource management tactics, and total quality management (TQM) initiatives.
To measure their success in making all these decisions, the teams were evaluated on their abilities to maximize growth across five metrics: return on assets, return on equity, stock price, asset turnover, and market capitalization. The simulation began with four practice rounds. Then the simulation was reset and over the course of three weeks, the teams all submitted decisions for eight competitive rounds. After each round, the teams could view the results of their decisions as seen in financial statements and a variety of reports.
All the students who participated expressed appreciation for the opportunity to learn about executive decision-making and small group dynamics. “The simulation is a real challenge,” Dr. Bargerstock said. “It takes both strong analytical skills and informed intuition to make good decisions in this simulation.”
The team said that its success came from a combination of good decisions about product pricing, building customer awareness, product innovation, automation of production facilities, controlled expansion of capacity, cost control, training and development of personnel, and sound financing strategies.