Experiential Learning Archives

Student Success Stories: Peter Johnson from Des Moines Area Community College

Meet Peter Johnson, an Intro to Business student from Des Moines Area Community College. He managed to land the Top 7 spot in the MikesBikes Introduction Hall of Fame last Fall.

We interviewed Peter to learn about his decision-making, strategy and what resources he used to help him succeed in the simulation.

What is your decision-making process within the simulation?

My decision-making process always began with reading the business reports to base my decisions off of.  When looking over the reports, I would also take notice of what my competition was doing.  Analyzing this information was very helpful in every new decision I made especially when expanding my product line.  I would then adjust my numbers for production and available units for sale.  Next, I would tend to my advertising in each market.  I spent quite a bit of money on advertising, but it worked well for me.  In addition, I invested in many company and product improvements such as efficiency and quality.  When able, I would pay dividends and repurchase equity as well.  For the most part, this decision-making process remained routine for me through each simulation rollover.

What was your strategy going into the simulation?

My strategy for the simulation was to increase shareholder value by boosting sales and maximizing profits.  To do so, I wanted to grow my company by expanding the product line and by investing more money in advertising to grow my brand and gain a competitive edge.  I knew I wanted to separate myself from the competition and an increase in advertising was my first step in accomplishing that.

How did you begin implementing that strategy?

I implemented that strategy by immediately increasing the money I spent on advertising.  I paid attention to the market reports to allocate my advertising expenses effectively for each market.  I also looked for ways to improve the products and company along the way.  For example, I invested in efficiency and quality when given the opportunity to do so.  Also, market reports helped me make tailor made product improvements according to the expectations of each corresponding market.

How did you familiarize yourself with the simulation?

I watched the instructional videos and looked through the various reports available.  I took advantage of my practice time with the simulation.  During this time, I was able to make decisions according to information I read in the reports and see how the results of my decisions would play out in the simulation.  Seeing how these decisions would positively or negatively affect my business was very helpful.

How would you describe the competition?

I would describe the competition as a high priority.  In my opinion, it is equally important to pay attention to what your competition is doing as much as it is to pay attention to what your own company is doing.  You can definitely create competitive advantages for your business depending on what your competition is doing or not doing.

What resources did you pull on to develop your winning strategy which led you to the top of your course and then top in the Hall of Fame?

Utilizing the reports made available to me in this simulation was crucial in developing a winning strategy.  The information they provide allowed me to refine my decisions along the way and improve the accuracy of those decisions.  Also, keeping an eye on my competition proved to be more valuable than I had originally anticipated.

What challenges did you face? How did you overcome these?

Lost sales became a challenge for me on more than one occasion.  Every time I expanded my product line, I incurred lost sales in each of the new markets.  To correct this, I increased the number of units available for sale in each of those markets.  Occasionally, I would have to buy more SCU to produce more units.  Paying attention to my market share and future market demand helped me eliminate lost sales.

Was there anything in particular you did that you think helped to prepare yourself?

I think taking advantage of the practice time to learn about the simulation really helped me.  Getting to know the reports available and the information they contain are advantageous in making solid decisions and taking informed calculated risks.

How has participating within a course which uses a business simulation to supplement their teaching materials helped you? What do you think of the business simulation?

I think it helped me in learning about and understanding how to read various business reports.  It is important to know what information to look for when making any decision for your company.  The interactive platform is a great way to experience making decisions for a business and seeing the outcome of those decisions.

Comments on your experience with the simulation itself

I really enjoyed my experience with the Mike’s Bikes simulation.  Engaging in the simulation is an interesting and fun way to learn.   It provided me with valuable tools and experience when addressing a company’s business decision making process.  Being that every Mike’s Bikes experience is unique to that user, it is a simulation I would participate in again.

MikesBikes Intro Hall of Fame

University of Auckland-Business Masters-MikesBikes Advanced- Presenations

University of Auckland Business Masters’ MikesBikes Presentations

The Business Masters students taught by Professor Darl Kolb from the University of Auckland were suited and booted for their final presentations on the MikesBikes Advanced Strategic Management Simulation

“The MikesBikes simulation combines elements of strategy, marketing, operations, product design and human resource management within a complex competitive environment. Besides the business and management aspects, the simulation provides a place for leadership to emerge as it did in these successful teams. I am always proud of all our simulation teams, but seeing so many of our students do so well on the world stage makes me immensely proud.”

– Professor Darl Kolb

Check out some of the photos from the final presentation:

Photos are taken from The University of Auckland Business School

First Place in NJIT SOM

2018 Strategic Management Showcase at New Jersey Institute of Technology

You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.

-Steve Jobs

Students from New Jersey Institute of Technology definitely did things differently which led them to succeed in the The Fourth Annual Strategic Management Showcase with MikesBikes Advanced! The Showcase concluded last 30th of November with great success!

The Top 6 teams across the Strategic Management course competed head-to-head to achieve the highest Shareholder Value in MikesBikes Advanced.

The winning team, ALY BikeZ consisted of Aditya Patel, Luke Gregory and Yandy Gonzalez-Acevedo.

In second place we have CycloTherapy with Dikasse Zalla, Rosa Lee Moss and William Penn.

In third place we have CTS Bikes with Christopher Kukla, Spencer Kapp and Thomas Brady.

Congratulations to ALY BIkeZ and to all the participants! Well done and we wish you all the best!

Check out some of the photos from the Showcase:

Photos are provided by Shanthi Gopalakrishnan. 

Sunil Abinandan's Smartsims Journey from student to employee

Student Success Stories: Journey from a MikesBikes Business Simulation Student to a Smartsims Employee

Get to know the latest addition to the Smartsims Team, Sunil Abinandan. He shares his experiences doing the MikesBikes Advanced simulation as a student, mentor and how these successfully helped him land the job here at Smartsims!  Continue reading Student Success Stories: Journey from a MikesBikes Business Simulation Student to a Smartsims Employee

AdSim Marketing Plan Budget Report

ADSIM ADVERTISING SIMULATION REPORT GUIDE: Marketing Plan Budget Report

What is the Marketing Plan Budget Report?

The forecast marketing expenditure budget shows you how much money you have available to spend this year as shown in the figure below.

Note: This report can be found in the Marketing Plan menu.

Forecast Project Budget Expenditure AdSim

There are three key parts of this report that you must understand.

Budget Limit

Your budget limit is set as part of your product’s marketing plan. It is up to you to decide whether you spend your entire budget or not.

How much you spend of this year’s budget has no effect on your budget for next year.

Budget Expenditure

The first column shows much money you currently have allocated to evaluation research, Agency fees and product advertising. Changing any of your decisions in these areas will automatically update this report.

Available to Spend

This is how much unallocated budget you have left, i.e. how much money you still have available to spend if you want to. Any money you spend will be deducted from your net marketing contribution, so you should only spend on activities where you think the return will more than cover the cost.

If this number is negative that means that you have exceeded your budget and you need to choose which advertising activities to cut back. If you do not do so yourself, then AdSim will automatically reduce your media advertising expenditure during the rollover to bring you back within budget.

Check out the latest AdSim Report Guide here:

Industry Benchmark Report

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  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through our Support Center.
  • Contact us here.
AdSim Advertising Simulation by Smartsims Industry Benchmark Report

AdSim Advertising Simulation Report Guide: Industry Benchmark Report

What is the Industry Benchmark Report?

The Industry Benchmark Report is a summary of all firms’ Net Marketing Contribution reports so that you can benchmark yourself against your competitors as shown in the figure below.

In real life, this information would be difficult to obtain, but this report has been made available to you so that you can learn from your competitor(s).

There are several key parts of this report that you need to understand.

Sales & Gross Margin

Sales and Gross Margin in AdSim Advertising simulation

The Sales Revenue listed for each is the total wholesale sales revenue of all the firm’s products. The Cost of Goods Sold is the total cost of goods sold of all of the firm’s products that were sold, which is the number of units of a particular product sold multiplied by its manufacturing cost.

Gross Margin is the amount of profit that each firm made after the manufacturing costs were deducted.

You have no control over either the wholesale price or the manufacturing cost of your product, so your aim to maximize sales revenue by running the most cost effective advertising campaign that you can.

Product Marketing

Product Marketing in AdSim Advertising simulation

This section shows the combined Market Research, Agency Fees, Media Advertising, Customer Relationship and Marketing Communications expenditure for each firm.

The Evaluation Research expenditure lets you know how much market research your competitors are purchasing.

The Agency Fees let you know whether your competitors are using an Agency or not and how much it is costing them.

The Media Advertising expenditure allows you to see how much money your competitors are spending on Advertising, but now how they are allocating it to each media type.

Customer Relationship and Marketing Communications expenditure lets you know how much your competitors spent on implementing their selected options.

Net Marketing Contribution

Net Marketing Contribution in AdSim Advertising simulation

Net Marketing Contribution is the amount of profit remaining after manufacturing (cost of goods sold) and marketing expenditures have been deducted. The only costs still to be deducted are other functional overhead costs for your firm, e.g. finance, administration, etc.

Net Marketing Contribution is a measure of how profitable your firm is as a result of its strategic marketing plan. There is only one way that you can improve it, increase your Sales Revenue per dollar of Marketing Expenditure.

Need extra help?
  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through our Support Center.
  • Contact us here.
MikesBikes Intro Report Guide - Industry Benchmark Report

MikesBikes Introduction Report Guide: Industry Benchmark Report

What is the Industry Benchmark Report?

This report is a summary of all firms’ Key Financial results, which you can use to benchmark yourself against your competitors.

In MikesBikes Introduction, this report is divided into four sections: Financial Results, Customer Satisfaction, Internal Results and Innovation Learning.

Financial Results

MikesBikes Intro Financial Results

There are two key variables that you need to understand in this section, Share Price and Shareholder Value.

Your Share Price is the current market price of one share in your firm; the main drivers of share price are your average earnings per share (EPS) and your D/E ratio. If you want to improve your Share Price then you need to keep improving your EPS and to keep your D/E ratio below 1.0.

Shareholder Value is a measure of how much value a shareholder has received from owning one share of your company from the moment you took over running your firm. So Shareholder value is the current Share Price, plus the accumulated dividends that you have paid with 10% compound interest.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction in MikesBikes Intro Most of the fields here should be self-explanatory. However, you need to be aware that the Distribution Channel support figures include both your Extra Support (sales promotion support) spending and the annual support cost of supporting all the retailers that currently stock your products. Distribution Information (Distribution and Branding > Reports tab) report details what those annual costs are.

So every firm that has at least one store stocking its products will be spending at least a couple of hundred dollars. To see what their sales promotion budgets are, view the Multi-Firm Retailer Margins and Extra Support report under “Firm Marketing”.

Internal Results

Internal Results in Mikesbikes intro

The main purpose of this section of the report is so that you can compare your production efficiency strategy with your competitors. Make sure to compare your wastage results and number of products. The lower the production efficiency budget and the higher the number of products (more setup time), then the worse a firm’s wastage value will be.

Innovation and Learning

Innovation and Learning in Mikesbikes intro

Monitor how much your competitor(s) are spending on product development, it means that they are either making their products cheaper to produce, more attractive to the market or both. If you let a competitor get a significant production cost advantage over you then they will easily win any price wars involving that product.

Need extra help?

Check out the Smartsims Support Center or contact us here.

Music2Go Marketing Factory

Question of the Week: Why did I receive a different number of units from what I ordered? | Music2Go Marketing Business Simulation

In Music2Go you make decisions for an entire year, but your factory has a limited ability to adjust the number of units produced to try to meet actual demand during the year. This is called Demand Responsiveness.

Demand Responsiveness allows the actual number of units ordered to increase or decrease by up to 20% to meet the actual demand for your product.

For instance, if you ordered 1 million units of a product, then the actual number of units delivered could vary between 800,000 units and 1.2 million units depending on actual demand.

Product Contribution Report in Music2Go Marketing

In our example above, we ordered 1.9 million units of our Sonic product, but the Actual Units ordered was less than this at 1.5 million because the demand for our products was less than what we anticipated to sell.

Note: Most worlds have 20% Demand Responsiveness enabled, although your instructor may request this to be modified or disabled for your Multi-Player. 

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Music2Go Sales Promotion Screen

Question of the Week: What is Sales Promotion? | Music2Go Marketing Simulation

Sales Promotion

Sales Promotion in Music2Go works by boosting your distribution coverage and distribution index. You should buy the Distribution Coverage and Sales Promotion Market Research report for detailed information on the Sales Promotion Rating and stage of Product Life Cycle for all firms in the Industry.

There are 6 types of sales promotion activities available to you to promote your
products and support your distributors:

  • Trade Shows
  • Salesforce Training
  • Premiums (Gifts)
  • Website / Social Media
  • Point of Purchase displays
  • Rebates

Each promotional activity has particular relevance to certain stages of the Product Life Cycle as outlined below. Note that the Distribution Coverage and Sales Promotion Market Research report will show the age and stage of product life cycle for every product on the market, as well as the Sales Promotion Rating and the Promotion Mix effectiveness.

Choosing a Sales Promotion Mix

Sales Promotion Mix in Music2Go Marketing

Remember that each of your products will progress through the Product Life Cycle starting in the Growth phase for new products, then gradually progressing through to the Decline stage over the next six rollovers.

Say we launch a new Sports product this period. This new product will start in the Growth phase of the Product Life Cycle. Then from looking at the Sales Promotion table (this can be found in the Player’s Manual and Market Information Report), we can see that our ideal Sales Promotion Mix for a new Sports product is:

  • Trade Shows: 20%
  • Sales Force Training: 30%
  • Premiums (Gifts): 20%
  • Website and Social Media: 15%
  • Point of Purchase Displays: 15%
  • Rebates: 0%

Total =100%

That was a simple example, but what happens in the second year that we sell this Sports product? The product will have moved from the “Growth” phase to “Growth – Starting to Mature.” So the optimal Sales Promotion mix will be 1/3 of the way between the ideal Growth and Mature in the Sales Promotion table. That would give us an optimal Sales Promotion mix something like:

  • Trade Shows: 15%

(Ideal Growth = 20%, Ideal Mature = 5%)

  • Sales Force Training: 27%

(Ideal Growth = 30%, Ideal Mature = 20%)

  • Premiums (Gifts): 26%

(Ideal Growth = 20%, Ideal Mature = 40%)

  • Website and Social Media: 13%

(Ideal Growth = 15%, Ideal Mature = 10%)

  • Point of Purchase Displays: 17%

(Ideal Growth =15%, Ideal Mature =20%)

  • Rebates: 2%

(Ideal Growth = 0%, Ideal Mature = 5%)

Total =100%

Tip: You should buy the Distribution Coverage and Sales Promotion Market Research
report for detailed information on the Sales Promotion Rating and stage of Product
Life Cycle for all firms in the Industry.

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Chossing an agency in AdSim

Question of the Week: Which Agency should I choose in AdSim Advertising Simulation?

Agency Selection

The first key decision you need to make for each of your products is whether you will employ the services of an advertising agency to assist you with your media selection.

Four Agencies

Agency selection screen in AdSim

Internal Plan

The Internal Plan means trusting your own media selection ability and going at it alone, which often obtains far greater returns.

The default plan for each product is average at best. Approximately 30% of you promotion budget is being wasted on poor media selection. By carefully reading and analyzing the marketing plan and market overview/research for your product’s target segment, you should be able to greatly improve the effectiveness of your promotion budget.

TV Magic

TV Magic is a media-buying agency that specializes in producing TV advertisements and bulk purchasing TV advertising time.

TV Magic will suggest a TV advertising media plan that will be significantly better than following the default plan. They are less skilled at other media production/selection, but their suggested plans will be noticeably better than the default plan.

Print Works

Print Works is a media buying agency that specializes in producing print advertisements and bulk purchasing print advertising space.

Print Works will suggest a Newspaper/Magazine advertising media plan that will be significantly better than following the default plan. They are less skilled at other media production/selection, but their suggested plans will still be noticeably better than the default plan.

Radio Can

Radio Can is a media-buying agency that specializes in producing radio advertisements and bulk purchasing radio-advertising airtime.

Radio Can will suggest a radio advertising media plan that will be at least significantly better than following the fault plan. They are less skilled at other media production/selection, but their suggested plans will still be noticeably better than the default plan.

Need extra help?
  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through the Smartsims Support Center
  • Alternatively, you can contact our Support Team here.