Get to know the 2020 MikesBikes World Champs Winner, Ivan Bondarenko from Webber International University. He shares his experience in the simulation, his strategy and advice to future students.
What is your decision making process within the simulation?
In terms of managing the company, I was always trying to make the most accurate decisions based on the goal of long-term profitability and market growth. My main objectives were to become a company with a dominant market share while providing quality products to my consumers. Therefore, I based my decisions upon selecting specific strategies that would give me the highest possible chance to achieve my goals. Besides that, a big part that helped me came from analyzing my opponent’s strategies. After selecting the way to achieve my objectives, I had to analyze if those would be a good fit according to the current market conditions and the market power my company possessed in that specific period. In other words, my main decision-making processes and changes were based on two main goals:
To achieve and sustain the highest profitability and market share.
To analyze the decisions of my competitors to make short-term reworks and changes to achieve and sustain the first goal.
What was your strategy going into the simulation?
There is one strategy that I follow during any activity in my life. That is to gather as much knowledge as possible from the opportunities I have been provided. My main strategy during the simulation was to acquire the necessary knowledge about conducting business operations. I believe this knowledge will help me a lot in real life too.
In terms of technical aspects to acquire the highest shareholder value, my strategies were to dominate in the two most high-quality demanding markets which are Adventures and Racers. The reason for it is because capturing “quality markets” requires more time and investments than other segments. That is why it is important to start investing in quality as early as possible. To accomplish that I referred to the knowledge gathered in my management courses about the TQM techniques. That is why in the beginning I decided to invest heavily in the quality aspects of the company to become a company where quality matters a lot. I managed to become a dominant force Adventures segment which gave me enough financial freedom to invest more in quality and cash to finance my capital expenditures required to get into other segments. After establishing and capturing markets where the quality of your products makes the most weight, I acquired an opportunity to invest more in another segment while maintaining my dominance in high-quality markets.
What challenges did you face? How did you overcome these?
My main enemy was my ignorance which sometimes did not allow me to have fully comprehensive and realistic expectations towards the future of our competitive market, rather than expecting a favorable outcome based upon my hopes and mathematical forecasts. Based on my experience in the simulation there are always operational and financial risks related to conducting business operations. However, with proper analysis, there is always a way to minimize your risk (also known as “to hedge” your company) against unreasonable and unexpected market swings which could happen due to the competitors, or something even more dangerous like the inappropriate demand forecast. To avoid those mistakes I decided to refuse to look at risky methods of profiting which could potentially collapse my company, thus I went with a more “safe” approach which provided me with less risk but limited potential net income for each year.
Was there anything, in particular, you did that you think helped to prepare yourself?
The best thing which helped me to prepare myself for the simulation is the ability to learn. Spending time in school with different students and professors helps a lot with acquiring new skills and knowledge which you can use in your daily life. The information and knowledge I managed to comprehend in my classrooms were necessary for obtaining the results during the competition. In other words, something that you learned in your life can have an impactful meaning towards achieving the necessary goal if you will find a proper way to utilize that knowledge.
What do you think of the business simulation?
This is one of the best tools I know which is used for learning about business and the conduction of business operations. I would even go as far as to say that it is my second favorite tool (after books) to acquire important knowledge about a specific subject. So far it has been the best business experience in my life and I greatly appreciate people from SmartSims for creating and improving such an interesting learning tool. You guys are tremendous!
Comments on your experience in your course simulation and with the MikesBikes World Champs
That was a wonderful experience full of learning and enjoyment. The competition was very interesting and something I will be remembering for a long time. I did my best in acquiring as much knowledge as I could and I am happy to feel that way. I hope you will keep developing the simulation and will come up with new comprehensive ideas to implement within the simulation for future students!
It is worth mentioning that my success would not be possible without the important people who supported me in my educational journey. I appreciate my school at Webber International University for providing me with proper business education. Also, I am very grateful to Dr. Thomas Aaron and Dr. Jeannette Eberle for supporting me a lot during my student journey and giving their best so I could get the most essential knowledge throughout my college life.
Advice to future students
There many things which could be said and considered the most important to succeed. As for me, there is one thing that I put above everything else. It is to have fun. There is nothing more important for me during work than feeling joy from the process I participate in. Results are important, and you can work your hardest to get great results. But the best results come from the process in which you like to participate and you have a passion to do it. Knowledge is important when it is fun to obtain. The competition is truly interesting and meaningful when it is fun to participate. The results are meaningful only when they are obtained in the process of passion and enjoyment. Fun is a truly enormous and powerful tool that can lead to great achievements under proper selection and guidance.