By Sam Phillips
Youngstown State University will be the first college to offer a business simulation program to undergraduate students through a partnership between the Business Strategy Game and YSU’s Entrepreneurship Center.
Students of any major can compete in the Business Strategy Game to win prizes. There will be 10 teams, with three to five players each.
Joseph Angelo, YSU business professor, created a deal with the company to offer the program to undergraduate students for free this semester. He said the game is a fun way to learn about business concepts.
“I teach business students, but I want to see what other students, like art and education students, can do,” Angelo said. “They can take lessons learned and apply it to their careers.”
Players are in charge of running a tennis shoe company in the game. They can decide everything from the quality of the materials that will be used to the price of the shoes. The winner will be the team that grows the largest company.
“It’s like ‘Sim City’ on steroids,” Angelo said. “Students will run a company and have a friendly competition against other teams. They have to set a sales strategy and make international business deals.”
The competition lasts 10 weeks, each week representing a year of business. Teams start at the company’s 10th year of business owning 10 percent of the market share, factory plants and some money.
Teams can decide how to spend their money, and whether or not they keep plants open. The success of other teams will have an effect on a team’s performance, because control of the market share changes.
“It’s a great way to teach non-business students some business concepts,” he said.
Simon Rafidi, secretary of Enactus, said his group will be competing. He said the game is valuable because it teaches students how their actions can build an organization or set it back.
“We want all of the colleges of YSU’s campus to participate, because every student has the ability to become an entrepreneur in their field of study,” he said.
The first place winners will receive $400, and the second place winners will receive $200. A third prize of $100 will be given to the team that improves the most.
Angelo said a kick-off party will be hosted in the beginning of the spring semester, then the teams can run practice rounds to get accommodated with the software. The game will begin around the third week of the semester.
“This is an opportunity to make mistakes and learn important lessons from them, so you won’t make them in the real world,” Angelo said.
Progress submissions are due Tuesdays so Angelo can keep track. Strategies will be discussed at the wrap-up party, which will be hosted when the game is completed.
Angelo said he would like for other universities to adopt the program and hold regional competitions.
“I’m excited; it’s going to be a unique and interesting experiment,” he said. “There is no risk involved for students.”
Jean DeAngelo, a finance major, is in charge of marketing the game to students. She said she is excited for the game to take off.
“I think anyone can learn how a small decision can affect a company,” she said. “We want people to know we are giving out cash prizes. It’s rewarding anyways; healthy competition is fun.”
Students who are interested in participating in this game can contact Joseph Angelo at 330.941.7149 or visit http://cms.ysu.edu/entrepreneurship-center/entrepreneurship-center