Applying academic knowledge to practical settings allows students to gain real-world experience and invaluable skills.
Six Buena Vista University students — comprised of two separate teams — recently proved they can effectively put their business skills to use when they tied for best overall score worldwide in the Global Business Simulation Strategy Game, or “Glo-Bus.” The students all attended different sites of BVU’s Graduate & Professional Studies (GPS) program and collaborated online for the Glo-Bus competition as part of a class project.
Glo-Bus is an online, computer-based simulation in which teams manage the operations of a fictitious digital camera company while competing against other companies in a realistic setting. The simulation is used internationally throughout many higher education institutions to provide students the opportunity to practice and experience what it takes to develop strategies in a globally competitive marketplace.
Each week, scores are generated based on a variety of performance criteria including earnings per share, return on equity, net profit and net revenue. The BVU students competed with over 500 teams from 61 universities as part of the virtual simulation.
Students on the Glo-Bus team entitled “ALAST TERM SENIORS” (Company A) were:
- Melissa Harris, a management/entrepreneurship major from Marshalltown who graduated in June from BVU’s Marshalltown site.
- Kayla Stewart, a finance and banking major from Ottumwa who graduated in June from BVU’s online program.
- Ben Wellington, a senior finance and banking major from Sac City who is attending BVU’s Carroll site.
Students on the Glo-Bus team entitled “B MMP Inc.” (Company B) were:
- Shawn McClain, a senior business administration and management double major from Exira who is attending BVU’s Carroll site.
- Kelly Miller, a business management major from Ithaca, Mich. who graduated in June from BVU’s online program.
- Tim Pyatt, a senior finance and banking major from Mason City who is attending BVU’s Mason City site.
The students participated in the exercise as part of their Business Policy & Strategy online course taught by Gary Baker, an adjunct faculty member at BVU, who has used the interactive management simulation in 34 different classes since 2006.
“While there are some parameters in the simulation that are set to keep it ‘real,’ it focuses on the multitude of decisions in a firm that need to be made to achieve positive results and what happens when one segment is ignored,” says Baker. “Students learn that decisions do not go away and that they are accountable for past decisions that influence present day results.”
“It felt great to be recognized for the hard work and determination that we put into this simulation,” says Shawn, who will graduate from BVU in March. “The course material complemented the work we were doing in Glo-Bus and it gave us an edge when it came to making decisions.”
As part of the simulation, each team member acts as a co-manager. Teams must continually monitor their company’s operations, market conditions and the actions of competitors. Students make decisions related to marketing, product design and production, labor, cash-flow and strategic planning.
“Our primary responsibility was to manage the company as a whole and make decisions based off of our projected demand and each company’s market share,” says Ben, who will graduate from BVU in August. “Not only were we in charge of the assembly of the product, shipping and quantity, but we were also in charge of employees and their benefits, wages and compensation. We pretty much did the job of any management team within a real company.”
“The exercise has not only given me a better understanding of how many factors go into the financial stability of large companies, but it has also given me an edge in my career,” notes Shawn, who works as an insurance agent for Nationwide Mutual. “The interactive reports have given me experience in what truly plays into the costs that companies can incur, whether it is related to the cost of labor or the cost of supplies, they all add up and can have an adverse effect on profits.”
In addition to tying for best Overall Game-To-Date Score, “ALAST TERM SENIORS” ranked among three other Global Top 50 lists including Earnings Per Share, Return on Equity and Stock Price. “B MMP Inc.” ranked among two Top 50 lists including Earnings Per Share and Stock Price.
“The simulation gave me a better sense of everything that you have to consider when running a business,” adds Ben, who plans to pursue a career in banking after he graduates. “If you increase ‘x’ then you better realize how that is going to affect ‘y.’”