The world is continually becoming smaller, and today’s students face the very real challenge of competing for jobs in a global marketplace where languages, culture and hands-on experience are critical to a successful job application. Many business students in Boston and other business school hubs across the United States find it difficult to secure a job after obtaining their degree. So what is the best way to bridge the gap between college and the global workplace? Business simulations can help.
Business simulation games encourage active learning, which entails any type of learning where participants are behaviorally and cognitively active and involved. Simulations fill a very deep void that is faced by educational institutions globally, namely being able to provide real experience to prepare students to enter the workforce. They fill this void by complementing theoretical education with a dynamic, reactive, risk-free learning environment for students to engage in and gain confidence in practical business problem solving skills.
Several studies show that experiential learning can significantly improve student outcomes, including not only employability, but also interaction between students (and faculty), cooperation between educational institutions and grades. A 2014 meta analysis in Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning found strong support for the relationship between experiential learning exercises and learning outcomes. Simulations also create more enjoyable and engaging course content.
All professors are naturally concerned about the career prospects of their graduating class. One of the key predictors of success in the workplace is confidence. A 2012 study by the University of Melbourne drawing upon more than 100 interviews with professional staff in large corporates based in Melbourne, New York and Toronto found a strong correlation between confidence and occupational success. Confidence is not something that can be taught, but can only be gained through experience. Professor Darl Kolb of the University of Auckland has been using the MikesBikes Advanced simulation for over 15 years and reports that the confidence acquired by students through using the simulation consistently translates into job interview and workplace success. Hear more about his experience in the video below.
There are many reasons why Smartsims Business Simulations help set students up for post-graduation success. Below are seven of them.
1. Risk-Free Learning
Business strategy games are an excellent way to practice real-world business decision-making skills in a risk-free simulated learning environment. In a simulation, students are encouraged to try out different strategies, observe the results, monitor market fluctuations and then pivot their direction, all without real-life repercussions. They are thus able to navigate the landscape of a real company (which could be based anywhere in the world) in a safe environment.
2. Multiplayer Environment
In online business simulation games, students form the management team of a virtual company that competes against other student-run companies in the same market for a slice of the consumer pie. These teams could potentially be formed anywhere in the world to improve cross-campus cooperation, create exciting competitions between partner universities and get students ready to compete in any market, anywhere.
3. Interactive Gameplay
Another appeal of business simulations is the real-time feedback they offer on any decision. This not only makes the learning experience far more involved, but also helps students practice a range of different strategies in a short period of time and discover what works best.
4. Accelerated Performance Through Experiential Learning
Experiential learning has been shown to be more effective than other kinds of training, as shown in the meta analysis cited above. Partly this is because simulations allow students to learn by experiencing the consequences of their actions and repeating different strategies to determine different outcomes.
5. Full Immersion
In business management games, students go one step further towards full immersion since their decisions truly determine the fate of the company and they get to experience real loss or gain. Not only does this give students a greater sense of purpose, but it also encourages them to think far more carefully about their actions when they don’t only exist in theory.
With business simulation games, students experience rewards in multiple ways (e.g. through amazing rankings on the leaderboard or a market leader position for shareholder value). The most valuable rewards, however, are improved decision making skills, teamwork and proactive responsiveness – all within the context of the economy of their choosing.
7. Employability Focus
Simulations are designed with an employability focus that aims to develop career skills, including how to develop proposals, work in teams, solve problems and resolve conflicts. The ultimate objective is equipping students with the skills to achieve workplace success and obtain a job placement in the country of their choosing. That’s an outcome we can all get on board with!