Employability Archives

Get Students Tech-Savvy with Business Simulations

Get Tech-Ready to Take Over Silicon Valley with Business Simulations

Silicon Valley is ruled by millennials who rushed in to claim one of the many tech jobs available. This campus-inspired atmosphere is known for its culture of working hard and long hours, but it’s also the birthplace of innovative ideas that have transformed the way humans experience the world. So for many students it’s the dream place to work!

However, entering Silicon Valley requires more than good grades and the right attitude. Those who dream of landing a job in this market know that previous experience is essential to scoring big. Engaging in business simulations can help future movers and shakers experience the industry and get tech-ready for the road ahead.

The Job Market in Silicon Valley

The technology job market is becoming more and more competitive, and it’s no different in Silicon Valley. There is a huge demand for tech-savvy workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in the computer science field is $81,430. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for project managers in Silicon Valley is $110,197, and the average Bay Area salaries for experienced data scientists and engineers are $162,000 and $189,000 respectively. Sounds good, right?

LinkedIn’s Workforce Report for June found that Americans agree. The report shows that of the 20 largest US metropolitan areas, Silicon Valley is the 12th most attractive place for jobs. Unsurprisingly, interviews are lengthy and difficult. A standard interview process will begin with an email, followed by a phone screening and then an on-site meeting. It’s important for applicants to be prepared, confident and present a fresh perspective in these interviews.

How Do Business Simulations Help?

Business simulation games allow students to manage their own virtual business, so they experience what it’s like to run a simulated company. Start-ups are popular in Silicon Valley, and many of them succeed. Having a simulated business provides a risk free learning opportunity. Bridging practice and theory in a low-risk environment (Gosen & Washbush, 2004). Simulated games teach real-life details in a flexible setting.

Students often find it hard to land a job after graduating, because they never learned how to bridge the concepts taught in class with real-life experiences. Simulated games are more engaging and memorable than traditional teaching methods, so students retain information better and have an advantage over others. Business simulations have also been proven to improve critical thinking skills (Lovelace, Eggers & Dyck, 2016).

Make an Impact with Business Simulations

If you’re looking to give your students a leg-up in the competitive job market, business simulations can help. Humans learn best by doing, reflecting and then doing it again, and that’s what business simulations are all about; action-oriented and reflective learning.

It’s not impossible to become a noticed member of the group, but it takes a special kind of education and a unique way of working to become a leader in this age of technology. At Smartsims, we offer a Foundations of Business Game, an advanced Business Strategy Game, a Marketing Simulation Game and an Advertising Simulation Game; all designed to give students real-world skills and experience, giving them the edge in the today’s competitive job market.

Amar Vark UoA 40 under 40

MikesBikes Student Makes the “40 Under 40” List

Delivering your best at every turn is difficult and even exhausting, but that is what appears to differentiate successful folks from the unsuccessful ones.

-Amar Virk

The 40 under 40 list recognizes graduates who are making a significant contribution to their field and community. We are proud to announce that MikesBikes student, Amar Virk, has made the list!

Amar is currently working for UberEats but his business journey began at the University of Auckland. Amar was an electrical engineering major but decided to take some business papers in his third year. This was where he happened across the Management in Action course taught by Professor Darl Kolb. At the center of this award-wining course is the MikesBikes Strategic Management Simulation.

Through the simulation and the unique experiential learning activities developed by Professor Kolb, Amar had the opportunity to experience what it was like to run his own company.

What I came to realize is that engineering is one thing, but there’s a whole universe that supports it. I came to appreciate how wonderfully complex a business really is. We could always invest more in R&D to make a better bike (which is how the engineer in me wanted to think), but that wasn’t enough. The bike had to be priced correctly, manufactured at scale, marketed correctly and only have limited pool of capital to deploy against all of the above.”

Graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering in 2008, Amar’s experience at the Business School was instrumental in deciding to enroll in an MBA at Cornell University. While his next steps were working at Parthenon-EY and Symphony Commerce, an opportunity presented itself in 2016 to work for UberEats. Amar admits it was a steep learning curve to begin with but also a valuable lesson in adapting to a very dynamic business model.

Read more of Amar’s story here.

Hear from Professor Kolb about his award-winning courses using our MikesBikes Business Simulation:

Adapted from an article written and originally published by The University of Auckland.

Business Simulation Games

How To Improve Student Employability with Business Simulation Games

Anyone who’s tried to find a job lately knows how tough the market is. Employers only want to recruit people who tick all the boxes, including prior industry experience. This poses a significant problem for graduates.

So what can universities and community colleges do to help their students become successful job applicants once they graduate?
Continue reading How To Improve Student Employability with Business Simulation Games

Save Money With Simulations

How Business Course Instructors Can Help Students Avoid Costly Internships With Simulations

As tuition prices in the US continue to rise, and the job market in New York and nationwide becomes more competitive, the challenge is for recent graduates to gain real-world experience without taking on unpaid internships and more debt.

In today’s work climate, graduating students face a catch-22; they need job experience in order to be hired, but they need to be hired in order to get job experience. Many students turn to internships as a way around this conundrum. But internships can be a costly undertaking. Many of them are unpaid, and the ones that are paid are usually low salary positions. To top it all off, there is no guarantee of a job at the end. A 2014 article in Forbes magazine provides some depressing statistics about the state of internships in the United States:

  • Upwards of 1.5 million internships are filled in the United States each year, half of which are unpaid (Ross Perlin, Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy).
  • Only 63 percent of graduating students who held a paid internship received a job offer by graduation (NACE, 2013).
  • A paltry 37 percent of students who took on an unpaid internship received a job offer, only slightly higher than those who had no internship at all (NACE, 2013).

Unpaid internships are of particular concern in the United States. Most graduating students leave university with thousands of dollars of debt, so the prospect of having to take on a full-time unpaid position is not feasible. Moreover, many unpaid internships are in breach of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In light of all these concerns, the U.S. federal government has been cracking down on unpaid internships. Very soon, these types of internships may be a thing of the past.

So if internships aren’t a realistic or fair option for many graduating students, what is an alternative way for students to gain real-world experience? The answer is business simulations.

Business Simulations Deliver Real-World Skills

Skills increasingly trump tenure in the workforce. Therefore, ensuring your students are armed with the latest knowledge and competencies is critical for staying competitive. Today’s students need to understand complex problems, experience working in teams of people with diverse opinions and learn how to come to a decision in the face of many competing options. In the past, many students have taken on internships to develop these skills. However, business simulations can provide this same practice in a low-risk, highly engaging environment, during the education phase itself.

Smartsims has a range of business simulation games that will challenge your students with issues from the real world. These business simulations provide an interactive learning experience that requires participants to apply what they have learned in a robust, virtual business-like environment. Participants build relevant skills, improve conceptual knowledge and gain a better appreciation of business strategy and of the systems of business management.

Business Simulations Deliver Active Learning

Simulations perform the very important role of bridging theory and real-life experience through active learning, considered to be a crucial technique to engage students by Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence. They provide participants with the opportunity to make relevant decisions in a competitive marketplace so that they can see the immediate effect on business performance. And perhaps most importantly, they can save students time and money by providing the same benefits as an internship without the costs.

Other Benefits of Business Simulations

Simulations create more engaged learners: The high level of interaction makes learning fun, increases retention, solidifies learning and builds skills. Studies have shown that business simulations stimulate enjoyable learning (Fripp, 1997).

Simulations improve knowledge retention: By immediately applying new concepts, participants learn by doing. This approach produces significantly greater learning gains in both declarative and procedural knowledge than classroom learning alone (Sitzmann et al., 2006).

Simulations provide risk-free learning: More than just a business strategy game, a simulation recreates real world experience or tasks so that learners can practice without fear of major repercussions. It bridges practice and theory in a low-risk environment (Gosen & Washbush, 2004).

Simulations prepare learners for the real world: Users are able to practice different techniques so that they are better prepared when they encounter those or similar conditions in the workforce. This type of practical experience reduces the potential ‘shock’ of recent graduates entering their first job in their field of study (Kramer, 1974).

Read more about the benefits of business simulations or watch the video below:


How Business Simulations Help Graduates Get Ahead In New England’s Tech Industry

How Business Simulations Help Graduates Get Ahead In New England’s Tech Industry

The tech start up industry in Boston and New England is making a strong comeback after many years of stunted growth. To gain an edge in this competitive industry, recent business graduates from New England universities need something to make them stand out from the crowd. Engaging lectures, hands-on lab sessions, and relevant case studies are necessary elements of a well-designed business course curriculum. But they cannot provide one very crucial thing: experience. This is where business simulations, created by Boston-based Smartsims, enter to provide the tools to nurture fast-thinking, creative, tech-industry-ready graduates.
Continue reading How Business Simulations Help Graduates Get Ahead In New England’s Tech Industry

How Business Simulations Give Students the Leading Edge in Job Interviews & the Workplace

In this video, Dr Darl Kolb explains how business simulations give students confidence, which affords them a leading edge in job interviews and in the workplace. Continue reading How Business Simulations Give Students the Leading Edge in Job Interviews & the Workplace