Online MBA Student Wins Capsim Simulation Challenge

Brendan Wiley

Naveen Jindal School of Management Professional Online MBA student Brendan Wiley finished first in the fall 2018 Capsim Foundation Challenge, an online competition that tested more than 320 contestants from 83 universities on their ability to run a multimillion-dollar simulated company and lead it to dominance in an international marketplace.

While two Jindal School students have placed as high as second in past challenges, Wiley is the first to win the event.

Besides a nice talking-point addition to his résumé, he earned a place in the Capsim Hall of Fame.

Capsim is a Chicago-based business simulation and assessment company that sponsors and runs twice-yearly competitions based on two of its simulations.

Larry Chastten

“It is notable that Brendan won with a commanding lead and that he won with the highest score achieved to date in a Foundation Challenge,” said Dr. Larry Chasteen, the Jindal School’s director of online graduate programs. “He scored 844 of a possible 1,000 points. The second-place winner finished 16 points behind him.

“And before Brendan, the highest first-place total was 826, recorded in fall 2014.”

Examining his success, Wiley said, “I think there is a multitude of reasons why I think I did well versus others. I am an operations director at Summit Electric [in Fort Worth] with experience in making multiple department decisions. I think it really helps having some real-world experience.”

Challenges are open and free to Capsim “alumni,” undergraduate or graduate students who have learned how to run one of the online simulations in a class. Wiley, who lives in Fort Worth, qualified to enter by learning the Foundation simulation in Chasteen’s online Strategic Management (BPS 6310) course. Strategic Management students study how organizations create and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The course examines a variety of issues including ethical, environmental, competitor and stakeholder factors, and strategy formulation, implementation and control.

The competition, which opened Oct. 30, ended in a weekend final that closed Nov. 18.

Wiley started practice rounds in September, when, he said, “I remembered thinking, ‘This is really cool,’ and I got really into it.”

Plus, it helped, he said, that “I am very competitive.”

To prepare, he watched all Chasteen’s lectures, all the videos he could find on the Capsim website and Youtube videos for different strategies. He consulted blogs for answers to some questions, and he created an Excel drift chart for research-and-development positioning. “This really helped me quickly and accurately position my products,” Wiley said.

Results are recorded for each participant on a “balanced scorecard,” one that considers the simulated business from the vantage of four different areas:

Performance is measured using metrics within each category that yield a point total for each round of play.

Chasteen cited a variety of reasons that probably helped Wiley finish first:

• “Brendan has experience in making decisions across multiple functional departments.”

• “Some real-world experience is very helpful since the Capsim simulation is more than just a game.”

• “Detailed data analysis is required for a winning score since there is no such thing as a ‘gut’ decision in this challenge.”

• “In addition, a student must watch the other competitors and then react to them — you can’t use the same strategy every round.”

Kristine A. Imherr

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