The Role of Business Simulation Competitions in Higher Education

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Maharishi University of Management MBA students rank among the top 10 in International CAPSIM Foundation Business Simulations. This 4th year, 4 of their 5 teams placed in the top 10, taking 1st and 2nd place.

The winning Baldwin team (all from China): Chuang Huang, Yiyang Sun, Menghao Sun, Lin Long, Qi Wang

We feel that this demonstrates pretty dramatically that there's something that we're doing very right.

How do MBA schools assess the success of their curricular outcomes? How do students know the school they select will properly prepare them to compete in the marketplace? These are burning questions in today’s high-priced education and uncertain economy.

Typically, MBA programs offer courses in a vast array of topics, from accounting to human resources, managing production to sales and customer service. Students absorb a lot of information, but do they learn how to integrate it all into the real world of executive decision-making?

Some schools have discovered that on-line business simulation competitions can provide a good capstone experience for measuring a program’s effectiveness and their students' performance.

One program testing such outcomes is the CAPSIM Foundation Business Simulation. They challenge students with a scenario where the Securities Exchange Commission has broken up a manufacturing monopoly into six companies of equal size. By running the company for 8 years, each team scores points across a variety of short-term and long-term performance metrics based on the Balanced Scorecard with 4 perspectives: customer, internal processes, financial performance, and learning & growth. The total score earned by each team is the basis of comparisons to other MBA teams that participate in the Foundation Simulation during the previous six months.

Students in Maharishi University of Management’s MBA for Accounting Professionals have competed in the CAPSIM business simulation and placed in the top 10 positions 4 years in a row.

When CAPSIM was used early on in the MBA curriculum, 2 out of 7 groups placed in the top 10%. Two years ago CAPSIM was moved to occur after the sixth month of MBA studies. Since then, 8 out of 9 groups finished in the Top 10th percentile.

MBA teams from MUM placed in the top 10 not only in the nation, but also around the world. This year’s top schools competing in the simulation included teams from University of Maryland; Villanova University; University of Texas at Dallas; University of Indianapolis; Drexel University; Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico; and Alfred Laurier University, Canada. Other international competitors included MBA schools from Switzerland, UK, and Thailand.

Four MUM teams finished in the top 10 of out of 103 MBA teams who participated in the CAPSIM Foundation simulation for the six-month period ending July 25, 2013. They took 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 9th, and a fifth team placed 33rd. This is the 4th consecutive year in which MUM’s MBA Accounting students have placed at least one team in the Top 10. Two years ago an MUM team finished 1st out of 135 teams.

Twenty-three students from nine countries comprising 5 teams participated in the MUM simulation—Cameroon (3), Cambodia (2), China (5), Ethiopia (4), India (2), Jordan (1), Liberia (2), Nepal (2), US (2). The team that took first place were all from China. See this Achievements report displaying photos of all 5 teams. Four MBA Teams Finish in Top 10 at International Business Simulation.

These wins give students the confirmation and confidence that they can succeed in the world of business. It also shows professors in the MBA Program at Maharishi University of Management that they are doing something right. A DC accounting firm director told professor Andrew Bargerstock, Ph.D., director of MUM's MBA Programs: "We've hired 30-40 people who have come out of your program, and we're just consistently amazed at the quality of people coming out. I don't know what you're doing there, but keep doing it."

American universities generally have the reputation of producing very good technical accountants who are not always very competent as decision-makers when they enter the workforce, says MUM Accounting Professor Dr. Andy Bargerstock. “This problem can be traced to traditional teaching methodologies that ask students to solve problems with well-defined answers. But, in the real world, business decision-makers face a complex world of uncertainties.”

The simulation provides an opportunity for students to practice teamwork skills such as collaboration, negotiation, and consensus building. In addition, the groups begin to think and act both strategically and tactically, like an executive management team in a dynamically changing environment with competitors, he says.

The students said their successes were the result of well-integrated decisions concerning product pricing, building customer awareness, product innovation, automation of production facilities, controlled expansion of capacity, cost control, training and development of personnel, and sound financing strategies.

Many of the students said their practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique contributed to their success. Qi Wang, member of the #1 team, said her team’s practice of meditation helped facilitate executive teamwork.

“Because we all practice the Transcendental Meditation technique, we were able to maintain very broad awareness throughout the simulation even when we had to focus sharply on individual decisions. Also, we were able to engage in harmonious communications even when we were debating alternative decision possibilities. Our healthy team dynamics helped us to produce outstanding results.”

Bargerstock explains the Consciousness-Based Education methodology with its technology of consciousness at MUM develops the executive brain. He says it enhances the creativity and intelligence of the students and gives them a competitive advantage.

The marketplace can be a very stressful environment. Preparing students academically and personally to think on their feet and work as a team, handling the stress through meditation, TM, gives them an added edge in the race to compete and succeed.

Founded in 1971, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) offers Consciousness-Based℠ Education, a traditional academic curriculum enhanced with self-development programs like the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Students are encouraged to follow a more sustainable routine of study, socializing and rest without the typical college burnout. All aspects of campus life nourish the body and mind, including organic vegetarian meals served fresh daily. Located in Fairfield, Iowa, MUM is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business. Visitors Weekends are held throughout the year. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 800-369-6480 or visit

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