Teaching Methods Archives

Teaching Introduction to Business at Santa Clara University

Credit: Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

Santa Clara University use the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation to teach their freshmen course, Contemporary Business Issues. The BUSN 70 is a class designed to help students find their vocations in the world of business.

Part of the BUSN 70 curriculum is a business simulation called MikesBikes. Professor Tim Harris describes the project as “a comprehensive business simulation that is interesting, complex and challenging. It is a great way to experience many of the aspects of running a business and making critical strategic and tactical business decisions (such as price, product, marketing, capacity, etc), without the potential real life downside. It is a favorite experience for many of the students.”

BUSN 70 is an introductory business course with the emphasis on the objectives of the contemporary business firm and its relationship to the modern business environment.

“BUSN 70 really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of a business degree from the Leavey School of Business,” said Nicole Kim, a Peer Educator for the course. “You’ll learn the foundations of anything and everything in business from preparing financial statements to fostering a company culture. The best part about BUSN 70 is that each professor has extensive, unique experiences from the business world that they actively incorporate into the classroom in engaging, hands-on, and discussion-based activities.”

Nicole Kim also reflects on her Mike’s Bikes experience saying, “Mike’s Bikes is all about utilizing your accumulated knowledge from the quarter in lifelike decision-making for a firm. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – this simulation is all about learning through trial and error and having fun with it!”

How Do We Prevent Student Cheating in our Simulations?

Through 20+ years developing and running business simulations we have the experience to ensure that student cheating won’t be an issue with our products.

Through the use of a sophisticated model, dynamic simulation scenarios, and real student competitors (not solely computer robots), to be successful the decisions adopted by each student/team must be specific to their industry and their competitor’s decisions. Simply copy the decisions from a previous semester’s course and they will fail to adapt to the market or react to threats from their fellow student competitors.

As a result, every iteration of the simulation is unique. We love hearing from our customers how using our simulations makes teaching a new and exciting experience each semester.

In addition, we offer the following:

  • Regular scenario and decision updates meaning they must rely on the market and company reports to formulate their decisions.
  • Student activity tracking so you and/or us can identify what students have actually being doing while logged in.
  • The option to switch scenarios between semesters or years (MikesBikes only) so students start in different markets with different parameters.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

online learning

7 Best Practices for Teaching Online Courses

Teaching online requires a change in teaching approach to effectively deliver learning outcomes and engage students. Business simulation games are the perfect teaching tool for the online learning environment. They provide students with an immediate application to theory, in a fun and engaging way. Students build confidence in business concepts and terms, and they create connection with the course, each other and their instructor.

Here are our seven best practices for using a business simulation in an online course:

1. Instructor Presence

Make your presence known to the students early and often.

“Post weekly words of encouragement to students throughout the simulation as it is keeps the work top of mind and keeps them focused on the work.”
– Des Moines Area Community College

You can regularly engage students through videos, initiating and participation in discussion boards through your learning management system (LMS). Also, make sure students are aware of how they can reach out to you when they need help.

2. Real-World Application

Business simulations give students real-world practice experience. So highlight these throughout the simulation.

“I love using a business simulation. Cases are usually obsolete, have students analyzing other people’s decisions, and don’t provide an opportunity for students to practice implementation, assessment, and adjustment of their strategic decisions. However, with a simulation, students are able to make decisions for their own firms, see the results of those decisions, and adjust accordingly, all within a dynamic (and fun) environment.”
– Scott Livengood (Arizona State University)

3. Clear Expectations

Provide students with a clear set of your expectations at the beginning of the course. This should include a detailed syllabus, outlining their assessments and deadlines.

“I have created a Beginner’s Guide where I essentially walk students through the first two years of decisions, using screen shots and references from the simulation itself. I have also created a video with my voiceover using the simulation while following the Beginner’s Guide. I also give some background regarding the purpose and learning objectives of the simulation.” –Scott Livengood (Arizona State University)

4. Make Use of Individual and Group Projects

A healthy mix of group and individual projects is an ideal way of ensuring success with online learning. Providing students with a variety of learning styles will improve their learning abilities and educate them on the importance of both teamwork and individual achievements.

Lisa Parrott from University of Saint Mary facilitates individual and group assessments in her online Strategic Management course. She shares these in the article, Teaching Strategic Management Online at USM.

5. Learning Objectives

Alignment is important. Ensure that your course content aligns with objectives and assessments.

Lisa Parrott from University of Saint Mary shares her syllabus to demonstrate how she aligns the simulation and assessments to the course’s learning objectives.

6. Provide Students with Prompt Feedback

Provide timely feedback students can apply during the course and to reinforce essential concepts, materials and skills.

Darl Kolb from the University of Auckland provides a “Stock Report” after every rollover to all his students during the Multi-Player phase. Through this report, he shares a summary of the teams’ performance and some advice to help them in the next rollover.

7. Engage Students

Engaged students is a sign of a successful class. Using tools such as business simulations provides students with an engaging, challenging and enriching learning environment, while also extending their academic abilities.

“The simulation brought some real life into the course and made it better (shocking but true). MikesBikes brought to life a variety of concepts that are discussed in the text and allowed students to work together making decisions for the upcoming year.Both my online as well as my face-to-face classroom students do the simulation and I could not be more pleased. Sure, some students get so frustrated they want to quit – but I tell them the key is to push forward, stay with it, preserve and never give up. When they see the light it is an amazing sight for me and a feeling of true success for them.” – Russell Holmes from Des Moines Area Community College

Learn from other instructors:

The instructors below have been gracious enough to share their experience teaching online with a Smartsims Business Simulation:

Find out more about Smartsims Business Simulations below:

Or Email us to request a Free Trial!

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Teaching Strategic Management Online at University of Colorado Boulder

With many courses transitioning online we thought it timely to interview Scott Livengood from University of Colorado Boulder. Scott has a great deal of experience using our MikesBikes Advanced Business Simulation in his capstone Strategic Management course which he teaches in both face-to-face and online formats.

How do you use MikesBikes in your course?

I use MikesBikes Advanced primarily for my capstone Strategic Management undergraduate course.

I have three “rounds” of play:

  • The first is the Practice Round, where students compete directly against a computer rival in two possible customer segments (Adventurer and Leisure). This round is not graded but gives the students some exposure to the simulation so they can learn about its mechanics and also so they can experiment with and fine tune their strategies.
  • Next comes the Solo Round, where the environment is exactly the same as the Practice Round (i.e. only one computer rival and two segments), except the rollovers occur on my schedule rather than giving the students the ability to roll forward, roll backward, or to reset the simulation. This occurs for five to six rollovers, depending on the length of the course.
  • Last comes the Competitive Round, where students are assigned to “worlds” of approximately eight firms and they compete head to head with other students in the course, also over five or six rollovers. The Competitive Round also introduces three other customer segments (Racer, Commuter, Kids) and a new distribution outlet.
How do you introduce MikesBikes to students?

I have created a Beginner’s Guide where I essentially walk students through the first two years of decisions, using screen shots and references from the simulation itself. I have also created a video with my voiceover using the simulation while following the Beginner’s Guide. I also give some background regarding the purpose and learning objectives of the simulation.

Do students use MikesBikes in teams or individually? If in teams, how do you facilitate teamwork in an online environment?

I’ve experimented with using groups of students, but have found that to be ineffective, mainly due to two reasons: coordination and effort (often students don’t respond to communication and one or two students end up doing all the work and making all the decisions) and learning (students usually use the “divide and conquer” method where one student is in charge of marketing, a different one in charge of new product development, etc. whereas the way I do it, every student has to learn about all the various parts of the organization and how they fit together, which I think enhances the benefit gained). Thankfully, MikesBikes Advanced is complex enough that students have to dive in and learn new things, but not so complex that an individual student can’t make all the decisions.

What simulation related assessments and/or activities do you use?

Students are required to write a paper on External Analysis (Porter’s Five Forces), another paper on Internal Analysis (Resource-based View of the Firm), and another paper on SWOT Analysis and Business-level Strategies during the Practice Round to create a Strategic Plan for their Solo Round.

After the Competitive Round, they write a longer Simulation Reflection Paper on lessons learned from the Solo Round, a Competitive Analysis based on their biggest rivals, challenges with Diversification, exploration of a Merger or Acquisition (why or why not to pursue), and their biggest takeaway from the simulation.

These assessments align with the course material on Business-level Strategies and Corporate-level strategies and count for approximately 35% of their overall grade for the course.

In addition, a small percentage of their grade (5% for Solo and 5% for Competitive, which is mandated by our course coordinator – I would prefer 10% for the Competitive Round) is based on their actual performance on the simulation itself, using final SHV as the measure.

I break the students into “quartiles” based on their final SHV and assign a grade accordingly (top 25% receive 50 points, next 25% receive 40 points, next 25% receive 30 points, and the bottom 25% receive 20 points). This helps to reward students who perform well but isn’t overly strict for those who struggle with the simulation.

I impose a 20% SHV penalty for students who are insolvent during the simulation after providing a cash infusion to help them continue to be able to participate.

What other applications do you use?

We use Canvas as our Learning Management System and I use that as an interface with students. I do use VoiceThread for students to give presentation, but that’s not directly related to the simulation itself.

Do you have any tips for using a business simulation in an online course?

I love using a business simulation, particularly over the typical case study method. Cases are usually obsolete, have students analyzing other people’s decisions, and don’t provide an opportunity for students to practice implementation, assessment, and adjustment of their strategic decisions. However, with a simulation, students are able to make decisions for their own firms, see the results of those decisions, and adjust accordingly, all within a dynamic (and fun) environment. It’s taken me a few years to tinker with different ways to use the simulation, but I like what I’m currently doing and feel the students gain a great experience.

Related Articles:

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Teaching Strategic Management Online at USM

The MikesBikes simulation has been extremely well received by students. Many enjoy the opportunity to work in groups and learn from others, while nearly all love the ability to apply what they are learning in a safe environment.

Lisa Parrott from the University of Saint Mary uses the MikesBikes Advanced Business Simulation in her online Strategic Management and Ethics course.

Lisa has kindly shared how MikesBikes is used at USM and provided tips to others implementing a business simulation in an online course.

Introducing the Simulation & Single-Player Phase

Week 1

Students are introduced to the Single-Player (practice phase) in the first week. They are also required to read the player’s manual and watch the tutorial videos.

To ensure they have completed these tasks they take a 20-question introductory quiz where they must achieve at least 80% to pass. They are given three opportunities to obtain a passing grade, otherwise they must work with the instructor to determine if they can continue in the course. It is critical students understand how to participate in the simulation before they are put into a team environment.

Students are also asked a brief strategy questionnaire to help the instructor formulate groups.

Finally, students are asked to translate their learning into an individual analysis that looks at the lessons learned, elements of the simulation that are still unclear, and reports used to evaluate performance.

Multi-Player Phase and Assessments

Week 2

The second week moves students from the individual experience into teams. Teams are free to use any means to work virtually; Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facetime, etc.

Students first complete a team contract to establish methods of communication, meeting frequency, workload, steps for resolving conflict, and deadlines.

Before starting Multi-Player phase they create a strategic plan. This includes building a mission statement, vision, values, performance objectives, and a plan for weekly evaluation of results and decisions.

Week 3 to Week 6

Rollovers (decision deadlines) begin in week three, with two rollovers per week until week six.

Each week students conduct an individual analysis examining the decisions made by their team, explaining their performance using data from reports within the simulation and to apply the weekly learning objectives to their team performance. This presents a knowledge check at an individual level each week.

After Rollover 4 a consultation meeting is held between each team and their instructor. This provides teams the opportunity to discuss their strategic implementation and evaluate progress to determine if change is needed. Teams can also use this time to ask questions.

Week 7

Teams prepare a video presentation covering elements from their strategic plan, a SWOT analysis, best practices, analysis of overall performance, and recommendations for future directions of the company.

Week 8

The video presentation from week 7 provide the opportunity for students to see “behind the curtain” of the other companies. In response, they are required to evaluate the strategy of their competitors.

Students also complete an individual evaluation of the performance of each of their team members and how they will use skills learned in their next group experience.

The final assignment for the course asks students to write an individual analysis of the entire experience. They are asked to evaluate team performance, consider whether they would expand globally (and where) and reflect on the entire experience. The paper also addresses the ethical performance of their team, effectiveness of their strategy, and highlights three lessons learned. Students are asked to incorporate scholarly articles into this assignment to support their assessment.

Tips for using a business simulation in an online course:

  • The first few weeks are often more time consuming than normal, and it may require multiple reminders to read the manual and watch the videos!
  • When introducing the simulation, it is best to focus on one area of development at a time, and build on concepts each week. Students get overwhelmed in the first few weeks using a simulation, especially if this is their first experience. As they become more familiar with how their decisions impact multiple elements of the business they will begin developing more complicated analysis of their performance.
  • Team design is extremely valuable for a successful Multi-Player experience. Too many risk adverse students will create problems with overall performance and this should be avoided.
  • The ideal team size is three. Two will often result in group-think and passive agreement, four often yields social loafing by at least one member who may not feel they have a voice. With three there is a tie breaker for any decisions when the team is split on how to move forward.
  • The more students know how to read the reports available to evaluate the effectiveness of their decisions, the better their team will perform and often understand how different areas are connected.
  • Each team will develop at a different pace, be sure to push them forward based on their unique needs. Some may reach a higher level of understanding faster than others.

View the course syllabus: Strategic Management and Ethics Syllabus

Related Articles:

Teaching Intro to Business Online at DMACC

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) use our MikesBikes Introduction Simulation in their Introduction to Business course. The course is run in both face-to-face and online formats.

How do you use the MikesBikes Simulation in BUS102?

MikesBikes is used as a supplement to the material that we cover in class. The students are given approximately 45 minutes in class during the week (in face-to-face classes) to meet with their team and review their possible decisions. In an online class, the students compete individually.

How do you introduce MikesBikes to students?

MikesBikes is introduced to students in multiple announcements during the first week of the online class. These announcements direct students to folders in the online class containing Smartsims’ introductory videos and tutorials. In addition, after watching the videos, students must complete a quiz showing that they have a basic understanding of the simulation.

Do students use MikesBikes in teams or individually? If in teams, how do you facilitate teamwork in an online environment?

With the online course offering, students compete individually. If I were to offer the simulation in teams, as opposed to individually, I would encourage students to use free online meeting software such as Zoom Meetings or Microsoft Teams, and to meet at least once a week online.

Do you implement any simulation related assessments?

Primarily, the students are graded on their final shareholder value. There aren’t really many graded assessments in my online class. I have colleagues who have students present a final MikesBikes presentation at the end of the simulation.

What other applications do you use to help deliver your online course?

My college utilizes the Blackboard Learning Management System as the online platform to present classes.

What advice can you offer to others using a business simulation in their online courses?

It is critical to get students to practice with the Single-Player simulation prior to moving to the Multi-Player phase. Checking student login and online activity is important to ensure that there is a basic understanding of the simulation at the end of the Single-Player phase.

One piece of advice I would give would be to post weekly words of encouragement to students throughout the simulation as it keeps the work top of mind and keeps them focused on the work.

Related Articles:

online learning

Instructional Strategies in Teaching Online for Higher Education: A Case Study

As the new US academic year begins the coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic has forced business schools across the country to transition all their courses to online learning only. However, universities in China were the first to face this challenge with government mandated closures of schools early in 2020. This new paper in Wiley’s Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies Journal by Wei Bao, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education at Peking University, offers sound advice to colleagues beyond China on how to deliver effective teaching in the online environment.

hbe textbook cover
Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies Journal by Wei Bao, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education at Peking University

The paper classifies six instructional strategies to improve students’ learning concentration and engagement:

1. Make emergency plans for unexpected problems;
2. Divide the teaching content into smaller units to help students focus;
3. Emphasize the use of “voice” in teaching;
4. Work with teaching assistants and gain online support from them;
5. Strengthen students’ active learning ability outside of class; and
6. Combine online learning and offline self‐learning effectively.

To read more about these strategies see: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hbe2.191

All of Smartsims Business Simulations are available through Wiley as a bundle with their physical and digital books.

Product Logo and Image for MikesBikes Intro

MikesBikes Introduction to Business features a unique experience that builds confidence by gradually introducing business terms, concepts and decision-making. This introduction to business gives students a taste of making sales, marketing, and operations decisions in a safe and fun learning environment.

Product Logo and Imagery for MikesBikes Advanced

MikesBikes Advanced is a strategic management simulation. Students conduct market research, formulate strategy and make critical company decisions in this challenging addition to any business course. Commonly used in management, strategy and capstone courses.

Product imagery and logo for music2go marketing

The Music2Go Marketing Simulation provides an opportunity for students to develop and implement their own Strategic Marketing Plan in a reflective learning environment. This Marketing Simulation gradually introduces core marketing concepts and sales & marketing management.

Product Logo and Imagery for AdSim

AdSim Advertising Simulation illustrates the core advertising terms and principles. Students have an opportunity to develop their own Strategic Advertising Plan, with a realistic scenario including a fixed budget. This simulation is particularly useful for sales promotion management, advertising management and integrated marking communications (IMC) courses.

Free Demonstration

A free demonstration is available to all faculty members. Contact us to arrange your access.

Teaching Online Through COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic has forced instructors to quickly transition their traditional face‐to‐face courses to an online format. In the USA alone, 43 states have either mandated or strongly recommended school closures through to at least the 2020 fall semester. These unprecedented measures creates unique challenges to faculty in delivering their course content, especially given over 70% of America’s 1.5 million college faculty are new to online teaching.

Smartsims’ own Camille Canuto features in a recent blog post by Worthington Direct on “How Teachers are Adapting to the COVID-19 Classroom.”

For other instructors looking for activities to actively engage their students in a distance learning environment, then we would strongly recommend using a business simulation. The setup process is very easy, and students would only need internet connection to use the simulation. It can be accessed in any device and the range of resources available in the website would help guide students on what they need to do. This allows students to be in charge of their own learning and the best way to learn independently.

– Camille Canuto

For the full article with more advice and tips on online teaching see: https://blog.worthingtondirect.com/school-furniture/how-teachers-are-adapting-to-the-covid-19-classroom-our-experts-weigh-in/

best practice teaching online with simulations

Smartsims Business Simulations in Select Journal Articles & Conferences

The following are a selection academic papers featuring our MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation and MikesBikes Advanced Strategic Management Simulation.

Using Assessment To Measure The Effectiveness of a Financial Simulation

Abstract: This study examines how useful a financial simulation is at reinforcing financial learning goals as measured by an assessment. Programs within many College of Businesses are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that students are learning within their courses, assessment is one method of documenting learning. Most accreditation certifications require colleges to provide an assurance of learning using assessment techniques at the course and program levels. Business simulations play a potentially significant role in reinforcing course learning goals which are measured by assessments and document the assurance of learning process. Results indicate an improved comprehension of financial learning objectives for students after completing a business simulation with financial content.

Nugent, N., Stoyanov, S. (2019), Using assessment to measure the effectiveness of a financial simulation. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, 46 (2019), 187-198.

Business Simulation Performance After Completing a Reflective Observations Module

Abstract: Many factors can contribute to a student’s successful learning experience when participating in a business simulation as part of their undergraduate curriculum. It’s important for faculty to understand the best methods to deploy simulation assignments to students. Is there a benefit to having students answer a set of reflective observation questions? Reflective observation questions ask students to think about their past actions, and to describe the effects their decisions have on their simulation performance. The main objective of this research: using comparative data from two classes to define the effectiveness of student performance within a business simulation after completing sets of reflective observation questions after each round of the simulation.

Nugent, M. (2018). Business simulation performance after completing a reflective observations module. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, 45 (2018), 31-41.

Business Simulation Team Performance After Completing and Individual Practice Module

Abstract: Many factors can contribute to a student’s successful learning experience when participating in team based simulations. What is the best way to deploy simulation assignments to students? Is there a benefit to having students complete a significant amount of simulation practice rounds before competing against each other in a team environment? The main objective of this research: using comparative data from two classes to define the effectiveness of student team performance within a business simulation after an individual simulation practice assignment has been completed.

Nugent, M. (2014). Business simulation team performance after completing an individual practice module. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, 41(2014), 157-164.

Instructing undergraduates in marketing strategy: from hindsight to foresight

Abstract: We are very good at instructing our students with explanations of the past. Unfortunately, prior research has noted that many business postgraduates misuse theory, as they tend to apply concepts they have been taught in the past, rather than adapt and apply foresight to a particular present context. Highly controversial work published earlier exposed the misuse of the popular Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix. Empirical evidence revealed that the BCG matrix leads to poor strategic marketing decisions causing managers to focus upon market share rather than profitability. In this present study, the earlier work is extended, using more controls and a larger suite of experimental conditions. A series of experiments were conducted, working with a sample of 221 executives in-training and experienced practitioners, in North America and New Zealand.

Spanier, N., (2013). Instructing undergraduates in marketing strategy: from hindsight to foresight. Marketing Education: New Challenges and Opportunities, 2013, 40-50.

The Development & Implementation of Business Simulations in Higher Education in the United Kingdom

Abstract: This thesis is a study of the development and implementation of business simulations/games in United Kingdom Higher Education institutions. The research takes an holistic approach and examines the topic from the perspective of developers of business simulations, academics who choose to implement simulations in their teaching, and students who are the end users of business simulations.

Doonga, N. (2013). The development and implementation of business simulations in higher education in the United Kingdom. OpenAIR@RGU.

Gender and Comparative Evaluations in Student Groups

Abstract: It is well documented that students generally overestimate their grades in coursework, and some studies have found that male students overestimate their test scores more than females do. This study examines gender differences when self-evaluations are compared to peer evaluations within student groups. Differences are found between male students and female students in their ability to accurately judge their own contributions in group work relative to the evaluations they receive from their peers.

Ammons, J. L., Brooks, C. M. (2013), Gender and comparative evaluations in student groups, Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 17(2) 39-46.

Practitioner Heuristics: Adapting Student to Co-op Placement

Abstract: When people make efficient decisions that ignore some information or cues, they use their natural, intuitive ability to employ heuristics. The effectiveness of heuristics depends on the appropriateness to a given context.

Spanier, N., Franklin, D. (2013), Practitioner heuristics: adapting student to co-op placement, New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education: Strategic Directions in Cooperative Education, 31-33.

Learning to Lead: Mind Games for Middle Managers

Abstract: Middle management in tertiary education is a role made challenging by the current popularity of distributed leadership, allied with the mutually incompatible demands of the job, described in the Integrated Competing Values Framework. Middle managers need knowledge and experience to manage those challenges but these are not skills which are acquired quickly. Scenario based learning, role playing and games have been identified as effective ways of developing that knowledge and experience and demonstrating desired behaviours by problem solving familiar or recurring issues, in an environment people recognise.

Morgan, S. (2012). Learning to lead: mind games for middle managers. Tertiary Education Management Conference: Refereed Papers, 2012, 129-135.

Capital Structure and Dividend Policy in an Intro to Business Course

Abstract: At the undergraduate level, capital structure and dividend policy are generally introduced in a basic finance class and further developed in advanced courses in corporate finance. Exposure to the concept of shareholder wealth maximization earlier in the curriculum would be beneficial for student understanding of business decision-making. It is difficult to grasp the complexities of the process without some basic appreciation of the financing aspect of those business decisions. This paper outlines a pedagogical method for incorporating capital structure and dividend policy decisions into an Introduction to Business course through the use of a business simulation.

Reid, S., LaBonia, L., Shaw-Ching Liu, B., Luoma, P., and Asare, A. (2009). Capital structure and dividend policy in an intro to business course. Journal of Instructional Techniques in Finance, Spring (2009).

Learning Assurance Using Business Simulations: Applications to Executive Management Education

Abstract: Today the number of working managers returning to the classroom is growing rapidly as a result of globalization and technological developments. Many students are enrolling in executive management degree programs (EMBA) which feature flexibility and a focus on results. While most EMBA programs are delivered in a different format than the traditional MBA program the requirement for learning assurance is still essential. Simulations, which are used extensively throughout most EMBA programs as part of the experiential learning process, provide one approach for evaluating the effectiveness of curriculum design and delivery. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how simulation in concert the development of rubrics can be used to support the learning assurance process in EMBA type programs.

Hall, Owen P. Jr. & Ko, Kenneth. (2006). Learning assurance using business simulations: applications to executive management education. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, 33(2006).

Mike’s Bikes: Net Mike Version

Smith, P., Carrie, D. (2004). Mike’s Bikes: Net Mike Version. Simulation & Gaming (SAGE) 35(4), 527-529.

Mike’s Bikes: Solo Mike Version

Smith, P., Carrie, D. (2004). Mike’s Bikes: Solo Mike Version. Simulation & Gaming (SAGE) 35(4), 525-535.



The [MikesBikes] business simulation does a superb job of teaching students to link concepts with experience and motivating them toward their future studies in business.


Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession Textbook

What the book covers: Business is the largest undergraduate major in the United States and still growing. This reality, along with the immense power of the business sector and its significance for national and global well-being, makes quality education critical not only for the students themselves but also for the public good.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s national study of undergraduate business education found that most undergraduate programs are too narrow, failing to challenge students to question assumptions, think creatively, or understand the place of business in larger institutional contexts. Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education examines these limitations and describes the efforts of a diverse set of institutions to address them by integrating the best elements of liberal arts learning with business curriculum to help students develop wise, ethically grounded professional judgment. (Google Books)

MikesBikes at Santa Clara University

The textbook covered MikesBikes in Chapter 3 on “The Challenges of Undergraduate Business Education.” They interviewed a Santa Clara University instructor on how MikesBikes is currently used in the Contemporary American Business Course – a course that is required for all entering business majors at the Leavy School of Business.

MikesBikes in Contemporary American Business Course

[MikesBikes] provides a “liberal arts” experience in that it gives the “broad exposure” that is the aim of a survey course. And certainly we were impressed with students’ level of engagement, intellectual energy, and seriousness – qualities one wants to see in all aspects of a college education.


Santa Clara University has been using MikesBikes for many years now. The course is designed to provide an overview of business as a field.

The course includes standard classroom presentations, multiple choice examinations and one-third of the students final grade is dependent on their performance in the MikesBikes simulation. They run the simulation for the whole semester.

The first half of the semester allows the students to get familiar with the simulation and concepts through the Single-Player, practice phase. In the second half, they work in teams and compete against other teams in the course to achieve the highest Shareholder Value.

In MikesBikes, students are given an opportunity to work in marketing, production, product development, finance and accounting. Each member of the team are responsible in making decisions in these functions, allowing them to develop and make complex strategic decisions.

The course through the use of the MikesBikes business simulation provides students with an experiential learning environment, allowing them to take on realistic roles in a manufacturing bike company. They learn how to think critically and coordinate a management strategy. They experience the highs and lows of running a business, the excitement and risks all in a fun, and safe learning environment. In addition, working in teams allow them to learn about the importance of trustworthiness and integrity.

Reference: Colby, A., Ehrlich, T., Sullivan, W. & Dolle, J. (2011) Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession, Stanford, CA: Wiley.

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Increase student engagement and motivation with Smartsims Business Simulations. Contact us to learn more.