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Senior Communication Studies Students Take Lead in International Business Strategy Game

Posted Nov. 21, 2013

By Victoria Humphreys

Ph.D. candidate in the College of Communication and Information and adjunct instructor Rocki Basel introduced her Small Groups and Teams class to a business simulation game called The Business Strategy Game. One team climbed tonineteenth place in a global market after it started in last place in the class. Basel said she wanted to do a class activity that would teach students how to work in groups through the semester.

The Business Strategy Game is an online application played internationally which teams use to run an athletic shoe company. It involves head-to-head competition against other groups in the class and at universities across the world. This game also involves 2,461 classes at 436 different schools in 37 different counties who all compete against one another in a global market.

"I wanted to see everyone work well in a team and create an environment where you would go through the different steps a group goes through," Basel said. Because the game is targeted at, but not limited to, business majors, communication studies majors might not fully understand all the terms, which created a problem that each team would have to work together to overcome.

The group, which calls itself Team F, consists of senior public communication majors Owen Dolbear, Justin Hufgard and Tia Powe. Team F started out in last place in the class and skyrocketed to the top 20 on the Return on Equity, which measures a corporation's profitability, score against the global market.

Team F said when first introduced to the game they were overwhelmed, intimidated and confused.

"Unless you have owned a multinational corporation, you probably have not faced these types of decisions," Dolbear said. He wondered how complicated this would be because they did not understand how the decisions would affect their mock company.

Hufgard said he was surprised and felt lucky to rank so high on the Return on Equity score because of the teams inexperience with business.  Dolbear said a lot of people were selling a high priced product and a lower segment was not seeing sale. He said Team F is the "Walmart of shoes" selling their product for a low price. Hufgard said that breaking away from what everyone else was doing allowed Team F to dominate the sector and the class.

Powe said that this game was a very useful tool because it was a great way to see how one can operate individually amongst a group.

"One thing we are big on is communicating and listening to each other's ideas," Powe said. "Regardless of your major, make sure you listen to other ideas to figure out what you're not familiar with. Win or lose, stay focused and keep improving yourself."

Basel said she could tell early on that Team F would excel because she saw how much it bothered members to be in last place in week three. She saw how competitive they became and then skyrocketed to the top of the class in week four.

"I think it has been an inspiration for the rest of the class to see them go from last place to first place," Basel said. "I am really proud of them."