Written on 28 Apr 2017.
Only the best survive in the fast-paced business simulation that EDHEC Global MBA candidates recently experienced. The goal is to manage fictitious companies, competing in a given market, over a period of time. Teams are under pressure with tight deadlines, economic crises, stressful negotiations and cut-throat competition - all part of the race to create the most profitable company in this universe.
Each team controls a manufacturing company situated in China, Europe or the US and every team member assumes a role representing a job function in the company:
The 3-day competition is spread over six business quarters during which the teams receive a variety of economic input to which they must react and make strategic decisions. At the end of each quarter the teams submit a decision sheet with chosen strategies and tactics. Results are computed using Gaia software which determines their profitability and ranks each of the teams. Professors of Strategy are on hand throughout to impart their expertise, comment of the general positioning of each company and provide helpful feedback on the results of each period.
“The teams have to organize themselves well to ensure maximum efficiency. It’s interesting to see how participants manage their individual stress and adapt their team’s reaction to unexpected bad results. They have to negotiate various contracts, which require them to work hard on their cost structure while various strategic options in terms of global strategies are also put to the test: sales contracts, subcontracting, offshoring, investing in other companies’ facilities and equity investment.”
Nouhad Abdel Malak, Lebanon
We had to take care of all production and administrative tasks, such as creating partnerships and coalitions, managing labor, buying/trading raw materials, optimizing technologies, developing marketing strategies, implementing R&D, and putting together a sales plan, etc. All the knowledge we gathered during our MBA curriculum had to be implemented in order to succeed. I particularly liked the feeling of excitement at the trading floors, where people operating on a limited time frame wanted to execute deals and fence off competition. The closer you get to the end of the quarter the more rush you feel! Another aspect was the amount of responsibility we had. Even if it was a virtual world, you could observe the disappointment, satisfaction, or delight on the faces of fellow participants at the end of each quarter when we got together in front of the main screen for the quarterly results. It was a learning experience on all levels, preparing us to assume bigger and more challenging responsibilities after the end of the MBA programme, practicing real world problems in a virtual setting is like getting a free taste of what lies ahead.
Or Cohen, Israel
The simulation helped me to understand the different phases of business decision making, from production through marketing and to forecasting of sales and revenues and integrate many of the business knowledge I have gained thus far in the MBA. Along with the guidance of the professors we were able to see the big picture of business management while adopting a steep learning curve.
Each day of the course brought with it new challenges and new opportunities. Teams that complemented each other thrived, partnerships triumphed over competition and every mistake became a crucial lesson. Above all, every day was a fun and rich learning experience.