In the Business Simulation course, students, in groups of four to six, will manage a virtual company as an aid to learning, by doing, about the practical aspects of running a company in a dynamic international environment. The course will be provided in a compact blended learning environment.
Teaching and Learning Methods:
Uniquely at Eurecom, this course will be delivered in a blended learning environment. That is, only half of the learning will take place in the classroom at fixed times each week. The other half of the course will be undertaken online at times, and places, suitable for the individual student teams, provided that the required tasks (usually a decision set) is completed within the defined week timeframe.
Research has shown that the best learning experience from the business simulation is over a concentrated timeframe. Therefore, this course, of the standard 42 hours effective learning time for a 5-credit program, will be completed over seven weeks elapsed time (rather than the standard 14 weeks). Some students may find this helpful; freeing up time towards the end of the semester to work on projects in other courses.
During the course, following initial briefings, student teams will each take up to 12 sets of business decisions; each decision set representing one quarter of a business year. Decisions are entered online before a predefined cutoff date and time. These decision sets drive the simulation, the results being provided online. During the seven classroom sessions, instructors will be available, face-to-face, to answer questions and provide support. Between the classroom sessions, instructors are available online (asynchronously, and, at pre-agreed times, live), as are a range of online support materials, including videos and guides.
Teaching will combine classroom and video-based instruction, guidance, and support, with additional online materials and individual support helping students, at their own time and pace, to master the technical and practical aspects of the simulation.
Active participation is required from each student. The grading system is continuous (see below) and is on both team and individual results. On-time attendance at entire classroom sessions is mandatory and will be recorded. Unapproved absences may result in expulsion. Individual student participation during the online sessions will be monitored by the teams themselves. Peer reviews are part of the evaluation process. In the final classroom session, each team, involving each individual student, will present their results to the class and to assessors.
'Executive Brief' - a short on-paper and on-line overview of the simulation
'Executive Guide' - a detailed online guide to the simulation
'Gazette' - an online 'newspaper', about the simulated world, available for each decision cycle
'Gossip' - a (mainly) paper-based 'newspaper' about current company results and actions, available most decision cycles
Videos and other online guides and materials on specific subject areas.
There are no formal pre-requisites, though students having studied business and/or economics at other institutions, or have taken the 'Introduction to Management & Business', the 'Personal Development & Team Leadership', or 'Entrepreneurship' courses at Eurecom may find the initial learning to be a little easier.
The business simulation is a sophisticated representation of the real world with many hundreds of variables (currencies, interest rates, economic activity, government policies, etc.) most of which change each quarter. Student team gather information about the simulated 'world' - of four countries - through the simulation online guides, from 'newspapers', by analysis, and by discussion with other teams. The scenario that we will be using is the world of chips and PC's. In this scenario teams, may: invest in R&D; build or buy production plants; invest on marketing or production improvements; establish sales offices; buy and sell products, services, and intellectual property rights; compete and/or cooperate with other companies; borrow (or lend) money, etc., etc. In short, undertake many of the activities found in real-world businesses. Successful teams will build their own decision tools, or may buy them from other companies. The types of deals possible between teams is almost unlimited.
Students in previous courses report being deeply engaged in the learning process, and having a lot of fun while working intently to match the competitive pressure from other companies.
The objective is that students get:
1. An understanding of the domains covered by management studies by getting involved in practical decision-making situations.
2. An exposure to some basic management techniques, in the different areas of business management (accounting, marketing, operations, strategy,...), and how these areas are closely integrated with one another.
3. An appreciation for the importance of the economic environment and its impact on company performance (the simulation includes an economic scenario).
4. An understanding of decision-making in the context of a team (issues such as team dynamics, leadership, inter-team behavior, will be experienced in practice).
5. An experience of competition (there will be a winner announced in the final class) between teams/companies.
Classroom hours: 7 x 3
Online hours: 7 x 3 plus
Nb hours per week: Equivalent to six plus hours per weeks over seven weeks.
Grading Policy: Both teams and individual students are evaluated.
Team evaluations include: company results: retained earnings (profits), dividends, supplier credit (negative); the company's working conditions at the end of the simulation; the quality of the two business plans prepared by the team; and the quality of the final report to shareholders.
Individual evaluations are based on: team evaluations, on-time attendance and completion of Learning Logs; results of two in-class quizzes; the results of two peer evaluations; and personal performance in the final presentation.