Think you have what it takes to run a successful company? A team of Business Administration students in Professor Mario Pascucci’s Applied Business Planning class do. They recently ranked in the Global Top 100 of the Business Strategy Game (BSG), an online simulation exercise in which student teams compete against one another to manage an athletic footwear company in four global markets.
The game challenges students to apply what they’ve learned in business school, including assessing risk, analyzing industry and competitive conditions, and making strategic decisions in a rapidly changing market.
“Do they want to sell online, through regular retail or private label? Hire or fire a celebrity spokesperson? There are 180 different decisions they can make, and each one has ramifications,” says Pascucci. “It’s as close to running a business as you can get – except you don’t get fired if you make a mistake.”
A class competition with international rankings
Drawing on the theory they’ve learned in lectures, each team develops a 10-year plan for their company’s growth and then refines it as that virtual decade plays out. When the simulation is complete, teams are asked to prepare a case study and analysis of their company’s performance, and present it to the class. “Conversations at the end get quite animated,” says Pascucci.
While students only compete directly with teams from their own school in the game, rankings are calculated among players in nearly 50 countries, from Hong Kong to the Netherlands. During the week of Nov. 16, George Brown’s “B Company” ranked 41st among 4,465 teams worldwide.
The BSG is particularly well suited for remote learning, as students are able to participate from anywhere – and much like working in a real-life international company, they may have to collaborate with colleagues in other parts of the world and other time zones.
Pascucci has been using the BSG in his classes for years, and he’s always impressed by his students’ performance and level of engagement. “Students go to sleep thinking about this game because that’s how exciting it is,” he says. “They just love the competition and strategy of it.”