MBA Students Use Simulation Game to Hone Business Skills

By Brandon Swenson July 18, 2023

Real-world simulations are becoming an increasingly important tool for Master of Business Administration degree students to learn how to compete more effectively in global marketplaces. These simulations provide a hands-on, interactive learning experience that allows students to apply the theories and concepts they've learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios.

UA Grantham’s MGT570 Strategic Management course is a graduate-level class designed to teach students how to effectively compete, grow, and generate return-on-investment. The course uses the Business Strategy Game (BSG) simulation exercise through its eight-week curriculum. The BSG game simulates a fictional athletic footwear company that competes in the global market. The company's operations include the design, production, and marketing of athletic footwear products. The game requires students to make a range of decisions related to various aspects of the company's operations, such as production, marketing, finance, and corporate social responsibility.

The BSG is designed to simulate a competitive business environment, where multiple companies are competing for market share and profitability. In this context, students must make strategic decisions to maximize their company's performance while responding to changes in the market, shifts in consumer preferences, and actions of their competitors.

According to Prof. Matthew Schigur, Director of the MBA program at UA Grantham, “Simulation games can replicate real-life market conditions, such as changes in demand, supply, and competition; thus helping students understand the complexities of the business environment and learn to respond to evolving situations.”

This practical approach to learning also helps build confidence, as students are given the opportunity to test and refine their strategies in a safe and controlled environment. Students can test various strategies and see the consequences of their decisions, without risking any real financial or reputational harm. This type of experiential learning is highly effective and has been shown to improve long-term retention of knowledge.

A former UA Grantham MBA student, Andrew K., said the “BSG simulation really pointed out the importance of how to raise capital and signal to investors that the company they’re investing in is strong. I was surprised to learn how important celebrity endorsements are. The image rating is crucial for demand, as can be seen with Nike Air (Michael) Jordan shoes, which continue to sell out.” Andrew’s team lead the nation in the Business Strategy Game in 2020 and the UA Grantham teams routinely finish near the top of the nationwide standings.

Schigur commented that “Using simulation games in MBA education is an effective way to prepare students for the realities of today’s business and to better equip them for success. We are delighted when our students achieve results – it shows that this practical approach works.”

UA Grantham’s industry-relevant education, which features real-world applications such as the Business Strategy Game, ensures UAG’s students are ready to hit the ground running and make a difference after earning their degree.

About the Author

Brandon Swenson
Brandon Swenson, communications manager, is on University of Arkansas Grantham’s editorial board. A veteran and college graduate himself, he understands the benefits and intricacies of government education programs, such as veteran education benefits. Brandon earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two-decade tour in the United States Marine Corps.
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