Category Archives: News

Image of question on piece of paper: "Does the leftover marketing budget rollover to the next period?"

Music2Go Tip: Leftover Marketing Budget

Besides the view of the Auckland skyline and the iconic Skytower, it is likely you have come to this page searching for the answer to the question: “Does the leftover marketing budget rollover to the next period?”

The short answer? No. It is therefore in your best interest to spend the entirety of your marketing budget (see Budget Spending report under Forecast Results to see how much of your budget you have spent).

Be sure not to overspend on your budget as well. If you do spend more than has been allocated to you then the simulation will cut back on your spending for you which may not be in the manner you would like!


How do you get a larger budget?

Your budget is given to you based on either 50% of your last year’s gross margin (see the Industry Benchmark report under key reports for this figure) or $25 million, whichever is higher (up to a maximum of $50 million).

Alternatively, you can launch a new product which provides your firm with an extra $10 million to fund the launch campaign (but this comes with its own expenses). This funding only lasts for one year.


While there is no ‘one-way’ to win MikesBikes or Music2Go; be sure to check out our tutorial videos and the player’s manual for advice on how to best implement a strategy your team has chosen.

If you have any questions about the simulation feel free to get in touch with us at or fill out a contact us form.

Tutorial Video: Forecasting Sales within MikesBikes-Advanced

Tutorial Video: Forecasting Sales within MikesBikes-Advanced

The video above will demonstrate how to make a Sales Forecast for an existing product and a new product, as well as the complementary production decisions for both.

Just a note that for our example in calculating the Planned Production units for our existing product, you will see that we have Closing Inventory. However, if you have no units of Closing Inventory, you do no need to subtract any units from your Sales Forecast to calculate your Planned Production.

We have provided you with the script for the video below to read through:

“In MikesBikes Advanced you will be required to enter a Planned Production decision for each of your products. Your Planned Production will be your Sales Forecast minus any existing stock.

Planned Production = Sales Forecast – Existing Stock

How do I conduct a Sales Forecast?
A Sales Forecast is a prediction of the number of units we believe we can sell in the year ahead. This is calculated by predicting our market share for the year ahead; being the percentage of the total market we believe we can secure.
Estimated Market Size Next Year x Percentage Market Share

What is our market share?
So what we need to do first is to identify our current market share through the Market Summary report. We can see that for our RC Rockhopper product, we had a market share of 49.8% of the total unit sales last year.

What is the estimated market size next year?
We then need to find out what the total market size will be for the year ahead. If we look at the Market Information report, we can see the forecast demand for the year ahead is 45,000 units.

Calculating our Sales Forecast
Therefore, in this example our Sales Forecast would be 49.8% of 45,000 units. Being 22,410 units.

Note that if you believe that based on your decisions for the year ahead you can increase your market share from last year, you would adjust this figure.

For this example, we believe our market share will remain constant therefore Sales Forecast will be 22,410 units.

Calculating our Planned Production
Now that we have a Sales Forecast we can calculate our Planned Production.

We can see on the Product Summary report that we have 1,698 units of Closing Inventory.

Therefore, our Planned Production is 22,410 minus 1,698 units. Being 20,712 units.

This is entered this into the Products screen under “Pricing”.

How do I conduct a Sales Forecast for a New Product?
For a new product, the challenge is we do not have any existing sales to calculate a Sales Forecast from.

Therefore, a Sales Forecast for a new product can only be based on the Forecast Total Market Size.

In this example, we are wanting to launch into the Leisure market.

The Market Information report tells us that for the year ahead, the Forecast Demand for the year ahead is 26,000 units.

If we then look at the Market Summary report we can see that there were no competitor products in this market last year. However, given the opportunity an empty market creates, we should assume that at least one other competitor will also launch into this market.

Considering this Single-Player scenario only has one other competitor we can aim to produce 50% of the Leisure market’s total size which is 13,000 units. Click Apply”


If you have any questions, please feel free to click here and fill out a form or email us at

How to Design a Business Course around MikesBikes-Advanced

How to Design a Business Course around MikesBikes-Advanced

Designing a course requires professionals, topic experts, and a deep understanding of students’ needs. The long and short of it: course design takes time. Therefore we are creating a series of articles on how select Smartsims clients employ business simulations to engage their students.

This article follows Professor Darl Kolb of the University of Auckland. Having utilized MikesBikes-Advanced within both MikesBikes-Advanced in both undergraduate and post-graduate courses, Professor Kolb’s students often exclaim this is the highlight of their degree.

Professor Kolb truly embraces the concept of experiential learning by utilizing course activities which reflect real-world situations managers of a company may experience. Through role-play students adopt roles within a ‘management team’. Instructors will take up the role of ‘shareholders’ or ‘board of directors’ who the students are responsible to. Deeply ingrained within the course content, the simulation is entirely relevant to the student’s and their futures. This relevance inherent within the simulation is key to keeping the students engaged. Professor Kolb finds this metaphore also provides students a sense of purpose and develops their skills for real-life business situations.

How is the simulation structured within the course?

“We have put it right at the centre of the design so it begins early on and runs on throughout the course so there is no seperation, it is intertwined … Students are getting used to the simulation just as they are getting used to the course.”

– Professor Darl Kolb

In general MikesBikes-Advanced features two key phases. The Single-Player practice round has students competing against a computer opponent where they can control moving back and forth between decision periods (which we term “rollovers”). This usually occurs over a two to three week period. Students then move onto the Multi-Player competition where student teams will be competing against each other for highest Shareholder Value.

Professor Kolb’s course is structured according to the following key events:

 1. Single-Player phase featuring:

  1. Single-Player Practice
  2. Resume Activity
  3. Multi-Player phase featuring:
  4. Multi-Player Practice Round
  5. Multi-Player Competitive Round
  6. Reflections
  7. Board Meetings
  8. Group Presentations Presentations
  9.  Final Shareholder Value

1. Single-Player Phase  

“Students play the Single-Player to get orientated [with the simulation] just as if they were getting work experience to get this executive role we are going to give them.”

– Professor Darl Kolb

Professor Kolb introduces the course and the simulation together, ingraining into students that theory goes hand-in-hand with real-life business situations. Providing students with access to the Single-Player allows students to experience the simulation before they begin their simulation associated assignments.
Single-Player Practice

Professor Kolb introduces the simulation to students in the first class and covers how the course will run. Outside of class time students will use the Single-Player for the first week aiming to gain the highest Shareholder Value they possibly can within a set number of rollovers (six to eight). Student’s best result in the Single-Player is included with their resume.

Resume Activity

Each student must submit a brief resume which includes past qualifications and/or experience which may be relevant to a position in the Management Team of their MikesBikes company, as well as their best Single-Player result. Professor Kolb then uses this information to assign students into teams of five, with an objective of splitting up those who performed well in the simulation and/or who bring previous business experience/qualifications. As part of this, Professor Kolb also assigns each student the role of either: CEO, Marketing Manager, Operations Manager, Finance Manager or Innovation Manager for their team (or ‘firm’). This application process helps students to develop the skills required to construct a resume and apply for a specific role they desire, often students will apply to particular roles they envisage for themselves after having completed their course.

2. Multi-Player Phase

“When their company begins performing we give them three practice rounds so they get to see the full MikeBikes-Advanced experience but they also get to restart and have another go in a different market. We have this stage to help students to come to grips with the complexity and the depth of the simulation.”

– Professor Darl Kolb

For the duration of the course, Professor Darl Kolb will continue with tying the simulation into the content he teaches. As a live case study, MikesBikes-Advanced provides him with a lot of opportunities to address specific events in the simulation by applying theory he chooses to present in class. With the simulation being applicable to each and every student, students find this content engaging and relevant.

Multi-Player Practice Round

The Multi-Player begins with four practice rollovers which occur weekly. This gives students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with their role and the team’s dynamics. It also enables students to, this course design starts students with a few practice rounds of the simulation. Letting students test strategies, make mistakes and learn from these. Students are bound to make mistakes and that is the nature of learning. This lets students make mistakes without affecting their grades later on. After the practice rollovers have been completed, the simulation then resets ready for students to begin with the real competition.

Multi-Player Competitive Round

The simulation is then reset ready for students to begin the real competition. Further rollovers are processed weekly. Over this phase Professor Kolb uses the activities below to facilitate real-world learning outcomes.

At certain points throughout the course Professor Kolb assigns reflective exercises for students to complete. The most intense exercise for the individual students are the reflective essays; they require a combination of theory, personal experiences, introspection, and self-evaluation. Students are then graded upon their ability to describe their situations, their insight, and their ability to combine this with theory.
Board Meetings

Mid-simulation students engage in mock board meetings, where the Management Team (students in each group) must present to their board of directors (two or three faculty members). Students summarize their strategy, goals, and performance. Board members challenge students on the reasoning behind their decisions and remind them of their responsibilities to shareholders in future decision periods. This is potentially an activity which students can be graded on.

Group Presentations

After the final rollover each Management Team presents their simulation journey to the class. This is an opportunity to reflect on what went well, what mistakes were made, what they would they have done differently and what their learning outcomes have been.

Final Shareholder Value

Teams are ranked at the end of the simulation based on their Shareholder value. This is Smartsims’ recommended key performance indicator.

How does Professor Kolb grade the simulation?

Professor Kolb’s course content focuses on managing people and organizations. As such, although students are graded on final shareholder value, the majority of their course grade is assigned to reflections, board meetings and group presentations as mentioned above.

Is this the only way to design a course with MikesBikes-Advanced?

Far from it! This is only one article in a series which explains various different ways other instructors are including the simulation within their business courses. There are multiple ways on how to incorporate a simulation beyond this too! The options are limitless.

Want to get started incorporating the simulation into your course design? Want to learn more? The Smartsims Sales Team have years of experience and are here to help. Click here to talk to them about your course and how you would like to implement MikesBikes.

By Brook McFarlane

Why Instructors Love Smartsims

Why Instructors Love Smartsims

Course instructors love Smartsims Business Simulations because they:

  • Brings business terms, concepts and processes to life
  • Students are actively engaged
  • Complements course content
  • It’s an exciting and rewarding teaching experience
  • Applicability to the real world
  • “Best experience of my university career”
  • Detailed, interactive and easy-to-use interface
  • Smartsims support through every step

Smartsims are a pioneer in the industry. We have been involved in education through simulation for over 20 years. Our simulations are used by Universities, Colleges, and High Schools; as well as Corporate Training and Certification Courses. Each year our simulations are used in close to 20 countries worldwide, and in the last decade we’ve had over 300,000 people use our simulations. Our customers come back year after year, and some have even won awards for the use of our simulations in their courses.

Smartsims Business Simulations are flexible in their integration, from complementing an existing course structure, through to being the central feature of a course, or even as an exciting way to end your course. Our business simulations have been integrated into a variety of courses ranging from those at an undergraduate level such as Introduction to Business, Principles of Marketing and Advertising, through to Business Strategy/Capstone, General Business, Management Accounting, Organizational Behavior, MBA and Certification Courses for Professional Institutions.

Apart from the easy to use nature of our simulations, one of the most significant points of difference with our product offering is the world class customer support. We have worked with institutions with as many as 3,000 users in single sessions, to others running 1,000 plus students spread over multiple campuses, right down to a single 15 student sections. We take care of course setup, and management of your simulation is easy with our completely automated system.

Our team are here to help and we have in-house specialists who can advise with course design requirements to fit a simulation into a new or existing course.

For a no obligation demo or free quote contact us.

Tutorial Video: How To Use Offline Mode (All Simulations)

Tutorial Video: How To Use Offline Mode (All Simulations)

The video above will run you through the offline mode; what it is and how to launch it within all of our simulations. Please do note that some courses have the offline mode disabled, in which case you won’t have the option of launching an offline mode to test your Multi-Player decisions.

We have provided you with the text of the video for you below:

“Our simulations feature an offline mode which allows you to test your Multi-Player decisions through it. This video will first run through how you can launch an offline mode and following this I will discuss the limitations of the offline mode.

Now we will show you how to launch your offline firm. Please do note that some instructors have chosen to have the offline mode disabled for your course.

When you login to the Smartsims website and navigate to the simulation page, you will see a blue launch button and also an Offline button under the Multi-Player heading. Clicking on the blue button launches your live firm and clicking on the offline button launches an offline version of your firm where you can test the quality of your decisions. You are able to rollover to try out different options and strategies before you finalise your decision for that period.

The offline mode has several limitations to it, so bear these in mind.

In offline mode, your competitors use only their default decisions so it is important you don’t read too much into the results. For instance in Offline Mode you might launch new products into empty markets and do very well due to the lack of competition. But if you use those same decisions in the live Multi-Player, you could do poorly if the other firms choose to launch new products at the same time. Always think about what might happen if your competitors were to do something differently.

Decisions in Offline Mode are not saved back to your Multi-Player firm, so if you like the decisions you made, you should copy/paste the Current Decisions report into an Excel file, and re-enter the decisions by launching your live firm.

Now try using Offline Mode yourself, and feel free to email if you have any questions.”

By Dany Master and Brook McFarlane


Jaya, Maria And Rezyl Share Their Journey To First Place

Rezyl, Jaya and Maria (pictured above) form the team “Aether Bikes” from King’s Own Institute, Australia. While competing with other teams within their course (taught by Rex Walsh), Aether Bikes managed to achieve First Place within our MikesBikes-Intro Top 20 Hall of Fame!

Why is this significant? What does it mean?

Our Hall of Fame historically compiles the top 20 Shareholder Value results from firms played by students in courses worldwide. This means Aether Bikes beat every other team within our database. Considering our database includes hundreds of other firms and thousands of other students, for them to beat every single one of them is quite a feat in itself! It is fair to say this team had quite a good grip and understanding of business as a whole.

For those not in the know, Shareholder Value is the main Key Performance Indicator used within MikesBikes. Further, a rollover is the simulation’s way of showing a progression in time.

How did Aether Bikes achieve this?

“We found MikesBikes-Intro very competitive and engaging.

We adapted our strategy based on the current situation of the market and our competitor’s actions. In doing so, we made sure to keep track of all the Key Reports in the simulation, such as the Industry Benchmark Report and Market Summary (All Product Details) report. In addition to that, we have also made sure to read the Player’s Manual and watch all the videos available in the website.

The competition started out steady, but as time progressed, it got more competitive than we had anticipated. It became more difficult to come up with a plan that will differentiate our firm from others, as our decisions and strategy were quite similar to our competitors. What helped us on this were the resources available in the website, such as the manuals, videos and the key reports in the simulation.”

What advice did Aether Bikes have for other students?

“We would like to advice future students to read the manuals and watch the videos available in the website. These are very helpful in understanding the game. It’s also important to look at what your competitors are doing by utilizing the reports available. We strongly advice students to take advantage of the Single-Player, as this will better prepare them for the Multi-Player part of the simulation.”

Aether Bikes’ final comments:

“We believe that Smartsims has developed a great program in providing a real-world business experience. We have learnt and gained extensive knowledge about business, and how to run a company, just like in the real world. We would like to thank Smartsims for their efforts and our lecturer, Rex Walsh for being supportive and for providing us with helpful advice.”

By Brook McFarlane

MikesBikes World Champs

MikesBikes World Championship

Quick Links:

2016 MWC Competition Format and Rules

The MikesBikes World Championship (MWC) is an opportunity for the best performing MikesBikes teams from around the world to compete for the title of 2016 MikesBikes World Champion and cash prizes. Entrance is FREE for all participants.

Smartsims will invite the top ranking teams for each course (on Shareholder Value) to compete against other top teams using our MikesBikes-Advanced simulation. Invitations will be emailed at the conclusion of your simulation.

Upon receiving the invitation, students simply need to reply and confirm which members of their team will be competing. Any number of members from the team can compete, but there can only be one competing team per invitation. Confirmations must be received prior to 11.59pm on Saturday 26th November 2016 US Eastern Standard Time (EST).

What are the rewards to winners (Final Round’s Top 2 Ranks) of the competition?

At the end of the Final Round, the top two firms will receive cash prizes. The first placed firm will receive $250, and the second placed firm will receive $100. The winners will also be featured on the Smartsims’ website and awarded a Championship Certificate; a great addition to resumes.

How will the competition be structured?

The competition will run in two rounds, a qualification round comprising of 4 rollovers from Tuesday the 29th of November to Monday the 5th of December. At the end of the Qualifying Rounds, the Top 8 Firms ranked by SHV across ALL Qualifying worlds will move on to the Final Round. The Final Round will run from Thursday the 8th of December to Tuesday the 20th of December. All rollovers will occur at 8pm EST.

Note – The easiest way to identify the Top 8 is by referring to the Scoreboard once it has been updated.

Do participants have to attend the competition at a certain place or is it done online?

The competition takes place online directly via the Smartsims website, so participation can take place from anywhere with internet capability.

Will users of MikesBikes-Intro be competitive participants in the competition?

Yes we’ve had previous winners of the competition who had only used MikesBikes-Intro previously. The simulations are similar in application, with the main differences being in MikesBikes-Advanced students have full control over their firm from the first year, and there are two additional markets (Leisure and Commuter).

Participants will be given an opportunity to use the Single-Player (practice) version prior to the Multi-Player competition (access will be enabled after registration). They will also have access to our Manuals and Videos menu to familiarize themselves.

Will the ‘Mergers and Takeovers’ option be enabled for the competition?

No, all firms will have to compete as single entities.

What are the differences between the Windows software version of the simulation and the Online browser version?

The two versions are functionally equivalent, with all the decisions and reports being identical. As a result, only the Online browser version will be used for the competition. The one difference for the Online version is that the Offline Mode will not rollback more than one previous period; though the Offline Mode will be disabled for all during the Final round.

Where can I obtain the spreadsheets referred to within the Help menu?

You can email and request these spreadsheets.

Competition Decision Deadlines / Rollover Schedule
Qualifying Round 1: Tuesday 29 November 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Qualifying Round 2: Thursday 1 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Qualifying Round 3: Sunday 4 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Qualifying Round 4: Monday 5 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)

Final Round 1: Thursday 8 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Final Round 2: Sunday 11 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Final Round 3: Tuesday 13 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Final Round 4: Thursday 15 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Final Round 5: Sunday 18 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)
Final Round 6: Tuesday 20 December 8pm EST (-0500 Eastern Standard Time)

Note: The last rollover for both the Qualifying and Final Rounds will be a double-rollover to ensure no ends of game strategies are used and all companies are left in a healthy state.

2015 MWC Competition Results

The Sixth and Final Round rollover for Smartsims’ 2015 MikesBikes World Champs has now been processed and the competition is now complete. Bikes R Us from University of Haifa executed strategy with perfect timing and precision, ultimately reigning supreme! Leshaw from University of Auckland managed to finish a solid second, winning a tough battle against other contenders.

First Place: Bikes R Us from the University of Haifa
Bikes R Us Team

“After two second place in the past for the University of Haifa we are proud to finally win this competition. We took the lead in the second round and it was very challenging to keep it to the final round. It was a very great experience to compete both against our friends from the university and in 2015 Championship.

It was a great learning experience to play in MikesBikes, we would like to thank the other competitors from the finals and we wish everyone success in the future.” – Bikes R Us

Second Place: Leshaw from the University of Auckland

Congratulations to all those who competed in this year’s competition and wish you well in your future endeavours.

A full Scoreboard can be seen below:

Rank Institution Firm SHV Firm Participants
1 University of Haifa Bikes R Us $296.32 Aviram Cohen, Tal Shain, Daya Lettvin, Gadi Alon
2 University of Auckland Leshaw $231.08 Kaisaier Keyum
3 University of Auckland The Mighty Dumplings $176.86 Samuel Kiss
4 North Island College CyclePath $128.23 Cheri Carroll

2014 MWC Competition Results

With the final rollover for our MikesBikes World Champsionship processed, we are happy to announce the winners of 2014’s MikesBikes World Champs!

First Place: Apollo from the University of Auckland

“It is an amazing experience to compete in MBWC, Bikes R Us Teamand this game provided us with great opportunities to improve business analysis skills, team work and communication skills. We really appreciate it” – Hui from Team Apollo

Second Place: Momentum from Red Deer College

Congratulations to both teams and thank you everybody who participated! It was another great year and another intense competition!

The final scoreboard is below:

Rank Firm Institution SHV Team Members
1 Apollo University of Auckland $356.64 Tong Xu | Xiaoyu Zhou | Jarassiva Sivapirunthep | Hui Wang | Yuxin Su | Yuchi Shen
2 Momentum Red Deer College $195.46 Jordan Collier | Rylie Schaefer | Sam Debree | Mike Dobrowolski | Ryan Dahmer
3 The Cycle Shop University of Auckland $154.70 Sarah Lowe
4 weCycle University of Waterloo $131.72 Jeffrey Ying | Shannon Lan | Linda Zhang | Shivi Agarwal
5 Cycology TAFE NSW – Ultimo $2.15 Johan Wasserman
6 Felt Racing University of Waterloo $2.00 Andre Ostrovsky | Zi Heng Cao | Archit Shori | Melody Zheng
7 The Underachievers University of Waterloo $0.01 Jonathan Tsang | Eric Pang | Tom Zeng
8 Waterloo Bikes University of Waterloo $0.01 Austin Montgomery

2013 Championship Final Results

The sixth and final rollover for Smartsims’ 2013 MikesBikes World Champs was recently processed and the ultimate Champion is Xavier Wills from TAFE South Australia. All firms started the competition with a similar strategy but through unrelenting focus on the market, his firm and the products his firm was selling, Xavier Wills climbed up the leader-board, continuing to adapt to survive and excel!

“Competiting in the Mikes Bikes Championships was a great learning experience and has helped further my understanding of business and marketing principles, especially in regards to meeting the demands of the consumer. It was a very tough competition and full credit to SPIRIT BIKES, who were almost impossible to overcome. Best of luck to all of the competitors from the finals, I wish them all the best for their future business endeavors.” – Xavier Wills, Integrated Smack

The top performing firm was followed closely by SPIRIT BIKES, run by the University of Haifa’s dedicated students, Oren Feldman and Sharon Sisso. They gave a solid challenge till the very end and had us here at Smartsims guessing till the last minute!

It is no easy task being successful in the midst of giant conglomerates like the Top 2, but Middle Georgia State College’s Hamid Ganjikia found a position for his firm Cyrus to not only survive, but also thrive!

The 2013 MWC is the most interesting competition we’ve seen in recent times and it was no small feat to get to the Final Round. We would like to wish all the firms in the Final Round, not just the winners, all the best for their future endeavours! It was a pleasure spectating and we hope the Competition has been a great learning and fun experience for all of you.

Here are the results from the Final Rollover:

Rank Firm Institution SHV Competitors
1 Integrated Smack TAFE SA AIT $335.11 Xavier Wills
2 SPIRIT BIKES University of Haifa $325.73 Oren Feldman, Sharon Sisso
3 Cyrus Middle Georgia State College $132.87 Hamid Ganjikia
4 Luxury Bertels College of Staten Island $20.08 Javad Ali, Usman Ahmed, Mohammad Chugtai, Catherine Jeanbart
5 Cycle Paths Loyalist College $1.44 Aaron Sutherland
6 dyNMites NMIMS Mumbai $0.90 Nooruddin Hussain

2012 Championship Final Results

The 2012 MikesBikes-Advanced World Champions are…

First Place to Accounting Cyclers from the University of Waterloo – imageWith its fair share facing challenges, the Accounting Cyclers rose against powerful competitors like SAPYU and Still Life on a Pear, executing a well-timed strategy to come far ahead of the competition. The winners had a great experience synthesizing teamwork with victory.

“It was an amazing experience competing in the MikesBikes World Championship – thank you for providing us with the opportunity to use our skills and teamwork in such a dynamic business simulation game” – Accouting Cyclers’ Spokesman, Daniel Zhang

Second Place to SAPYU of Drexel University – Starting off as a strong contender, SAPYU stayed in top positions throughout the duration of the competition! The firm’s greatest strength was its ability to grow steadily despite constant changes to the industry.

“MikesBikes-Advanced has been a very good learning tool. imageBeing able to manage marketing, operations and financing all together and see the results of our decisions in first hand was not a small thing. The competition during the final round was intense, nothing was set until the last rollover. This experience will be very helpful to any career” – SAPYU Spokesman, Weilei Yu

Final Scoreboard

Rank Firm Institution SHV Competitors
1 Accounting Cyclers University of Waterloo $337.28 Ray Liu, Liang (Zhongshi) Chen, Alice Poon, Daniel Zhang
2 SAPYU Drexel University $196.11 Weilei Yu, Aaron Hartmann, Summer Rose Horan, Daniel Pinto
3 Still Life on a Pear University of Waterloo $167.27 Quinn Fischer
4 Cyclepath Bikes University of Auckland $156.08 Jane Choi, Joshua Robinson, Rachel Gabriel
5 Cyclone Christopher Newport University $8.01 Stephen Browne
6 Belicoli Bikes Manukau Institute of Technology $1.44 Virginia Imhoff
7 Firm6 University of Auckland $0.01 Louis Tangiia, Owen Isaachsen, Johan Lim
8 Vanquish Cycles Drexel University $0.01 Jerome Lynch

The competitive nuances were picked up on in most cases and efficient teamwork seemed to be a recurring factor to success. We wish all the participants well in future endeavours and thank them for the value they added to this event.

-Danny Master

2011 Championship Final Results

The 2011 MikesBikes-Advanced World Champions are…

First Place to Matt Hopkins – Hailing from Bowling Green State University, USA, Matt veered his firm Iron Bike Tyson to victory, while competing with other powerhouse firms like ELOTI and Fairly Cool Cycles.image Having established a strong foothold in the market from early on, Matt says he found the competition fun and extremely competitive!

“I would first like to thank all the competitors, you made this an extremely challenging competition. I constantly found myself questioning and tweaking my strategy to adapt to the hyper-competitive market. Overall, this was an excellent experience and I couldn’t be any happier” – Matt Hopkins

Second Place to Tomer Weistuch, Inbal Nishlis, Ortal Azulay and Liora Barac – Competing from the University of Haifa, Israel, this team stayed in top positions all throughout the competition. The firm’s biggest strength was being long term sustainable, while maintaining steady profits. Team spokesperson Tomer Weistuch passes on this message: image

” Thanks for the opportunity to learned a lot about business through the game. It was a great learning experience” – ELOTI

2011 Final Scoreboard

Click Turning Back in Time

Flashback to MikesBikes Way Back When

There’s a social media trend that’s been going on for quite a while now, where you post old photos or memories from the past to share among your friends. Along with the photo is your caption, for which you will add either #FlashbackFriday, #TBT, #ThrowbackThursday or both if you wish. These hashtags denote that your photo is a “blast from the past.” This trend is the theme of our article and today’s piece is certainly a major #TBT. Continue reading Flashback to MikesBikes Way Back When


The Benefits Of Business Simulations

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”

– Albert Einstein

Instructors have felt the pull away from traditional teaching methods such as pure theory and case studies thanks to technological advancements in ICT and education. The student of today has been raised in an environment of connectivity with access to PCs, laptops, smartphones, and phablets. It is a part of their social context (Canaleta, Vernet, Vicet & Montero, 2009). Technology has permeated into everything we do, shaping our minds and affecting the way we teach (Carr, 2010). Today’s student may be inseparable from technology in itself (Canaleta et al., 2009; Woollaston, 2013); it is then fair to say their learning environment naturally requires ICT for any form of meaningful engagement. Not only in education but in daily life, the consumer and the student seek to gain a more active role within their environment (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Teaching methods therefore are moving away from the student as a passive learner, limited to taking notes and listening. Emerging from this is a new focus on learning surrounding the students actively constructing their own knowledge (Canaleta, Vernet, Vicent & Montero, 2009) and the instructor fulfilling the role of facilitator.As facilitators, the instructors’ role changes from simply distributing facts and theories to allowing the construction of a student experience. This is consistent with increasingly popular experiential learning theories purported by scholars such as Kolb (1984). With this in mind, it is easy for us then to state that online applications like business simulations rightfully occupy a pivotal place in learning environments.

Benefits of Business Simulations

Business simulations allow students and instructors to interact meaningfully. Further, by making various decisions for their simulated firm, students are tasked with transferring learned knowledge from class into a relevant and new scenario which is a requirement for engaging and memorable learning (Dirkx, 2001).

Stumpf and Dutton (1990) recognised that simulations resonate on both cognitive and emotional levels. Students gain the ability to apply learnt theory in action, validating that what they studied is relevant and applicable in the real world. At the same time, they develop communication and analytic skills which will be relevant to their future careers. On the other side of the spectrum, facilitators often feel that they made a positive difference to students’ learning, which is both relevant and required in today’s business world.

Anderson’s (2009) framework outlines three major outcomes from business simulation and cognitive learning:

Learning – Students gain first-hand experience of how business management decisions are interrelated. (e.g. how marketing decisions can affect manufacturing or finance decisions). Executing these concepts themselves, students learn skills such as:

  • Performing under pressure;
  • Analyzing environments to develop and implement a business plan;
  • Collaborating with teammates and managing conflict; and
  • Reflecting upon their performance and identifying areas of improvement to fare better.

The desired learning outcomes of a course are a major factor in the decision of whether or not to incorporate it as part of the course. Over several decades, scholars such as Bloom (1959) and; Gentry and Burns (1981) have provided descriptions of learning and the assessment process:

Cognitive Domain: Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives

Learning Objective Description of Learning Assessment Process
Basic Knowledge Student recalls or recognises information Answering direct questions/tests
Comprehension Student changes information into a different symbolic form Ability to act on or process information by restating his or her own terms
Application Student discovers relationships, generalizations, and skills Application of knowledge to simulated problems
Analysis Student solves problems in light of conscious knowledge of relationships between components and the principle that organizes the system Identification of critical assumptions, alternatives and constraints in a problem situation
Synthesis Student goes beyond what is known, providing new insights Solution of a problem that requires original, creative thinking
Evaluation Student develops the ability to create standards of judgement, weigh and analyze Logical consistency and attention to detail

Source: Bloom, Englehart, Furst, Hill & Krathwohl, as cited in Anderson & Lawton, 2009.

It is our cognitive comprehension that allows us to adapt to what we have learnt in one situation to other situations”

– Anderson (2009, p. 199)

Attitudinal – Students engaging in the simulated learning experience gaining an appreciation for business and its nuances. The experience leads to applying learnt concepts to make effective decisions, leading to higher academic/executive performance. How does the engagement start? In his 2015 article, Gove identified that the reason simulations are able to hold learner attention is because they are immersive! Students have to navigate a complex environment and make decisions for interrelated functional areas. This complexity creates a need for students to actively engage with their simulated exercise on multiple levels such as product level, firm level and market level.

Behavioural – Tying in with student attitudes are their behaviours. As immersive as the backdrop of simulations are, they are competitive and instil in students, motivation to succeed and outperform their peers. Add to the fact that they are in a safe, risk-free environment, and you have the makings of a structure where students are willing to spend their time and energy to make well-informed and competitive decisions.

To summarize, as technology became prevalent, so did our ability to co-opt it as a method of teaching and learning. Online applications like business simulations have benefits like allowing teachers to become advisors and moderators in their own classrooms.  Meanwhile, student minds are trained how to think, adapt attitudes and behave competitively to succeed in business decision making.

By Danny Master

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Tutorial Video: How To Modify An Existing Product In MikesBikes-Advanced

The video above will show you how you can modify an existing product within MikesBikes-Advanced. The video features the Single-Player version of the simulation but you can still use the same process for Multi-Player. For more information on this topic please see the MikesBikes-Advanced Product Development Guide or watch the MikesBikes-Advanced Video 5 – Design & Development video, both of which are also available under the Manuals and Videos section of the Smartsims website once you log in.

We have provided you with the script for the video below to read through:

“This video will demonstrate how to modify an existing product in MikesBikes-Advanced.

This is done by:
1) Creating a new design and
2) Applying the new design to an existing product.

Navigate to the Design and Development Menu and click on the New button. Name the project you can identify it, specify Style and Tech specs based on consumer preferences, allocate a prime cost, and allocate an expenditure figure. Once done, Apply your decision.

A project only becomes available to use after one period in the simulation. After a processed rollover, navigate to the Products Screen, click on the Product you wish to modify, and then click on the Modify button. Click on the newly created project, and then Apply. This completes the process of successfully modifying an existing product.”


By Danny Master

Smartsims' New Logo (portrait)

Why use Business Simulations?

There are many reasons you should consider implementing experiential learning in the form of business simulations in your business course. Here at Smartsims we consider the following to be the best.

  • Information Retention: Students are 80% more likely to retain the information as students are actively learning rather than listening, reading or writing about a concept.
  • Students have fun and learn from real-world experience.
  • They are learning entrepreneurial, managerial and overall business skills in a no-risk environment where you can guide students to success.

Students will be thinking competitively and are exposed to questions like:

  • “What would happen if I implemented this strategy in a real-world company?”
  • “What unexpected effects will these decisions have?”
  • “What are the consequences of different strategies?”

As the environment is competitive, just like the marketplace they will eventually move into, students learn that in business they will also need to consider the other firms in the market and adjust their strategy as the simulation progresses.

Smartsims Business Simulations are used in a variety of courses ranging from undergraduate level such as Introduction to Business and Principles of Marketing and Advertising, through to Business Strategy/Capstone, General Business, Management Accounting, Organizational Behavior, MBA and Certification Courses for Professional Institutions.