Digital Disruption: Simulation challenges MBA students to solve real-world problems

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U of R team places seventh-highest in 19-year history of the competition

What would it take to turn around a struggling $100-million company? How could you manage the business to improve sales and profits?

Thanks to a digital simulation from Chicago-based Capsim Management Solution, University of Redlands School of Business students not only answer those questions, but also see the impact of their choices, providing the type of feedback once reserved for real-life experience.

“Our classes are four hours long in the evening so it’s important to keep things lively with the students fully engaged,” says U of R Adjunct Business Professor Rob Jenks, who teaches MBA students at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in Chula Vista, Calif. The program is the result of a partnership between the U of R and the company, which researches, develops, and manufactures high-tech products such as aircraft engine components.

Each class typically practices for two rounds of the capstone exercise, known as “the Capsim.” The class then competes with five other teams from other institutions for eight rounds, simulating eight years of business competition in a few weeks.

“Simulation research and analysis happens as homework, and when the MBA students are in class they are actively working as a team to finalize the finer points of analysis, make decisions, and report on lessons learned,” Jenks notes. “As the weeks progress, the excitement builds, the students are hooked, and many report dreaming about their next moves at night.”

U of R’s UTC students not only enjoyed the mental challenge and the rivalry, they demonstrated superior business prowess. One UTC team (Anthony Bianchi ’17, George Edward ’16, Philippe Josset ’16, Kevin Strinz ’16, and Debra Zieger ’17) earned a ranking as the seventh-highest in the 19-year history of the contest, and three of the teams scored in the top 12 percent of all MBA student contestants worldwide.

Next: Digital Disruption: By the numbers

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