One of the most exhilarating activities during the MBA was the in-class simulations. The direct head-to-head challenges either between teams or individuals are very exciting, and enjoyable if you are an adrenaline junkie. During the RSM EMBA, we only had three instances where we were graded on these simulation sessions.
The first was the Markstrat marketing simulation game. A game where we competed in teams against each other for the favor of the virtual customers. Our team’s strategy, to dominate the low-end market segment by “selling a ****load of Sonites” to the growing customer segments of Shoppers and Savers, worked out brilliantly. In a later stadium, our team also succeeded in taking >50% of the market value share of the “professional” customer segment. The blue line shows how our team’s strategy dominated the market in terms of sales volume.
The second graded simulation was the global supply chain management simulation. It was an individual effort where my ego got hurt by Pedro Iriondo who took the first place ahead of me. However, the combination of Board questions and rapid fluctuations in customer demand and product options made the simulation an intense and fun exam even when losing.
The third simulation was part of the course “Leading Strategic Business Change” and was called ExperienceChange. In this intense simulation, I had the honor of leading the best team (out of 16). Important success factors were the structured and efficient preparations that enabled us to go for a nice walk around campus between the prep session and the actual simulation.
How to prepare for these events? Play a lot of RTS games. A gamer’s mindset is not only useful when engaging customers, it also trains skills in information processing, resource allocation, and decision making. In addition, it helps to have experience in programming as I found a bug in the Markstrat simulation that gave me a minor tactical advantage over the competition. Of course, I reported the bug and how it could be reproduced in full accordance with the student code of conduct (it should be fixed by now).