Thursday, January 2, 2014
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Eleven students in the Westminster College "Strategic Management" capstone course recently completed a global simulation known as the Business Strategy Game. Nine placed in the Top 100 for their performance at least once during the semester.
Each week of class simulates a year in the life of the organization that student teams manage. During the game students operate an athletic footwear company and compete against other footwear companies in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Each company has co-managers that are responsible for making decisions on production operations, upgrading plants and expanding or reducing plant capacity, worker compensation and training, pricing and marketing, and more.
"This is a big accomplishment, because it's global," student Andy Wallen said. "To say we are all in the Top 100 is really special. It shows all the hard work we put in. It scratches the surface of what our future in the business world entails and helps us to know what area of business we want to go into."
"It helped us understand how numbers influence markets," student Cody Culp said.
Culp and Wallen were co-managers of team "Baller Shoes." They placed fifth worldwide for their return on average equity (ROE) for the final week, and placed the highest in their class during the semester. They captured the market share across the globe by having mid-quality and average priced footwear. Their market research allowed them to forecast the competition's moves and anticipate pricing strategies. The team worked on the project for at least eight hours a week.
Culp, a senior international business major, is a son of James and Sue Ann Culp and a graduate of East Liverpool High School. Wallen, a senior business administration major, is a son of Gary and Rebecca Wallen of Erie and a graduate of Iroquois High School.
Team "Crowd Pleasers" placed eighth worldwide for their ROE during the last week of class. They also placed 19th for their ROE for week 17. They aimed for on-target numbers each round and hit multiple bull's eye awards. Their effectiveness in controlling the budget and financing allocations gave them the advantage of having significant interest income.
Co-managers were Sierra Bell, Nicolas Figueroa and John Nalesnik. Bell, a senior international business and Spanish major, is a daughter of A. Duwayne and Stephanie Bell and a graduate of New Castle High School. Figueroa, a senior international business and Spanish major, is a son of Luis and Judith Figueroa of Lorain, Ohio, and a graduate of Amherst Steele High School. Nalesnik, a senior business administration major, is a son of John and Kimberly Nalesnik of Darlington and a graduate of Blackhawk High School.
Team "Dashing Shoes" placed 51st for their ROE for week 11. They employed a cost-margin strategy, giving up market share and focusing on having the lowest cost per pair sold and developing large profit margins over the competition.
Co-managers were Kathryn Price and August Santillo. Price, a senior business administration major, is a daughter of Paula Curzi of New Wilmington and a graduate of Mercer Area High School. Santillo, a senior business administration major, is a son of August and Kimberly Santillo of Mercer and a graduate of Briar Woods High School.
Team "Abattoir Shoes" placed 70th for their ROE for week 14, 98th for week 16, and 80th for the final week. Abattoir focused all operations overseas, had high quality footwear, and built economies of scale to cut costs.
The co-managers were Trevor Crogan and Ronald Sullivan. Crogan a senior international business major, is a son of Thomas and Terri Crogan and a graduate of Canfield High School. Sullivan, a junior business administration major, is a son of Nancy Sullivan, Poland, and a graduate of Canfield High School.
Team "Expugn Footwear" exploited private label operations and dominated the market with high priced, low cost footwear. They found themselves in a niche market with little to no competition.
Expugn was co-managed by Christine Arick and Jessica Dugan. Arick, a senior international business major, is a daughter of Scott and Janice Arick of New Kensington and a graduate of Kiski Area High School. Dugan, a senior business administration major, is a daughter of Eric and Barbara Dugan and a graduate of Conneaut Valley High School.
"Students learned to fine tune the strategic decision making process for all management decisions within their respective companies," said Brian Petrus, adjunct faculty in economics and business and Strategic Management course instructor. "Decisions included production standards, plant capacity, pricing strategies, employee compensation and Six Sigma practices, marketing strategies, distribution and logistics decisions, and multiple other decision processes. These decisions mimicked real life practices and have provided students with a unique perspective with regard to what it takes to run a multimillion dollar company."
Petrus continued, "I am extremely proud of how the students handled the strategic decision making process. It is a significant achievement to place within the Global Top 100. Each team has done an exceptional job as it relates to developing and employing a unique strategy, analyzing the competition, forecasting and budgeting financial projections, and competing head-to-head against one another."
According to the Business Strategy Game website, "The competitive nature of a strategy simulation arouses positive energy and steps up the whole tempo of the course by a notch or two. The healthy rivalry that emerges among the management teams of competing companies stirs competitive juices and spurs class members to fully exercise their strategic wits, analytical skills, and decision-making prowess - much more so than occurs with many other types of assignments."
The Strategic Management capstone course specifically focuses on general management skills involved in choosing an organizational strategy, committing critical resources to implementation, and appropriately reevaluating that strategy as internal and external organizational environments change. The course integrates the major business functions using top management's generalist views. The primary method of instruction is case analysis.
Contact Petrus at 724-946-7163 or email for more information.