Three Southwestern Adventist University business majors recently achieved top scores on The Business Strategy Game, an online exercise where students from around the world are divided into teams to run simulated athletic shoe businesses. McGraw-Hill Education Inc. markets the Business Strategy Game as a way to test the entrepreneurial skills among future and current business professionals by placing them in a simulated global market.
The students of Southwestern’s Business Policies and Strategies class, taught by Dr. Fred Harder, is the senior capstone course that all business majors are required to take. Harder split the class into seven teams. Six of these teams scored better than 80% of their competition, worldwide! However, team C, who named their team the “Champions,” scored even higher. The “Champions” consisted of Harvey Contreras, Nhat Nguyen and Tony Seery.
Dr. Harder summed up the Champions’ strategy as such, “They started by differentiating their product as a high quality item for a niche market, but as the other teams copied them to catch up they had to modify and go after a larger market. The dynamics of the game are such that any good strategy can win, but you have to watch out for your competitors because they can ruin it for you.”
The Champions ended their simulation with an overall score that was tied for first place worldwide, but also tied for 35th for their earnings per share and 13th for their stock price, all while competing against teams from around the world. In doing this the Champions scored better than over 55,000 students in 3,000 classrooms at almost 600 college or university campuses from over 50 countries.
Total scores were decided by weighing a pre-set investor expectation score against the best-in-industry score. The maximum score, after a 50%-50% weighting of those two values, was 110, which the Champions accomplished each of the final eight weeks of the ten week simulation. Each week is a virtual year in operating the business.
The Business Strategy Game gave the responsibility of directing the fictional company to the students after the company had gone through ten years worth of pre-simulated growth. The student co-managers were tasked with growing the brand while competing against companies who were being run by other student teams. Students had to do all of this while also managing plant operations, stock listings and celebrity endorsements of their brand.
Dr. Harder elaborates on the accomplishment, “This kind of success speaks well of our students, but it also shows that we can be proud of the education being offered here at Southwestern Adventist University. Our seniors stack up well against the best universities in the world, even those that have much stricter enrollment criteria than we do. Many universities use this information to show that they are doing a good job to their accrediting agencies.”
“It was amazing to see our class represented in such a big way,” shares Tony. “Sometimes we think of ourselves as coming from little Adventist schools when we go up against some of the huge state schools in competitions like this. It goes to show what we’re capable of – we can compete on the same level and still talk about how different our school is. You can have strong academics while going to a school where you’re spiritually fed. It’s a real witnessing tool!”
The achievement that the Champions, as well as the other teams from their class, accomplished while competing against their peers shows the level of academic excellence that is achieved at Southwestern Adventist University. These students are developing the skills necessary to seize opportunities and find success in the modern world. The business world of today shapes and molds the lives of millions; a strong sense of ethics is becoming more and more rare. With the blessing of God and His guidance and the skills learned at Southwestern, young entrepreneurs like Harvey, Nhat, and Tony can bring change on a global scale.