Students Run Multi-Million Dollar Simulated Business in Contest
UT Dallas Team Places 4th in Contest That Drew Competition From 280 Universities Worldwide
May 24, 2013
The fourth-place team representing UT Dallas in the Capsim Challenge included (from left): Ca Nguyen, Sarah Monique Ching and Iris Mostrom.
Business students Sarah Monique Ching, Iris Mostrom and Ca Nguyen are not CEOs of a $100 million business, but they recently proved they can run a simulated company better than many college students throughout the world.
The Naveen Jindal School of Management undergraduate students placed fourth in the Capsim Challenge, an online international competition designed to see which business school students have the business acumen to run a multi-million dollar enterprise.
More than 1,750 students from 280 universities worldwide competed in the semi-annual contest, all vying for a spot in the two-day, high-pressure business simulation finals. In the final round, which ended April 28, the top six student teams competed in a weekend of intense business warfare.
“Winning the Challenge is an incredible success in itself, given the intensity of the competition globally. It still amazes me to see how students can execute their own strategies with such accuracy and precision,” said Challenge Coordinator Anthony Illuzzi.
The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. “Previously, I have had UT Dallas MBA students make the finals, but this is the first time one of my undergraduate teams made the finals. This is really a great achievement,” said Dr. Larry Chasteen, clinical professor of Organizations, Strategy and International Management and head of the Professional MBA online program.
Throughout the competition, students worked to turn their computer-simulated struggling companies into successful, profitable businesses. Student teams battled one another by making strategy, finance, production and marketing decisions to grow their businesses and win the greatest market share.
Although seniors Ching, Mostrom and Nguyen had competed against both computers and classmates in a simulation in Chasteen’s strategic management class, playing against university students around the world under pressure proved to be a bigger challenge, Ching said.
“Playing against computers is nothing like playing against real people. Industry conditions and year-end reports offered a lot of information, but we still had to account for the decisions such as pricing, product placement and capital investments. We had to form expectations of what the competition’s strategies were and adjust accordingly throughout the game,” said Ching, who is majoring in finance and economics.
The contest taught the team members many lessons, including the connections between research and development, marketing, production and finance, and how a decision in one functional area can affect others.
“We also learned that the use of a balance scorecard as a reporting tool emphasizes that financial statistics alone cannot be the sole determinant of a company’s performance,” said Mostrom, who is majoring in both management information systems and supply chain management. “Instead, other perspectives like internal business processes, customers, and learning and growth are just as important to evaluate a company.”
Mostrom said the experience also brought a better understanding of “incorporating a long-term view to run a company effectively and efficiently, even if it means sacrificing short-term profit to gain long-term benefits in productivity, cost reduction and corporate social responsibility.”
Nguyen, who is majoring in finance and economics, attributes the team’s success to good communication and effective teamwork.
“I hope that business students will give the simulation a try. It’s a great opportunity for you to transcend classroom knowledge in a practical situation,” she said. “It’s so gratifying to see your stock price skyrocket exponentially and your company dominates the market.”
Find the results from Capsim’s Spring 2013 Challenge here.
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