Naveen Jindal School of Management Professor Larry Chasteen routinely encourages students in his Strategic Management course to enter the Capsim Foundation Challenge, an online competition that tests entrants’ skills at running a simulated multimillion-dollar company in a competitive marketplace.
Last fall, Chasteen sowed a bumper crop of participants that yielded an also-impressive number of top finishers. Fourteen students participated, and half of them ended the challenge in the top 40.
The top JSOM competitor was Yang (Eric) Liu, an MBA student who took the graduate-level version of Chasteen’s course, BPS 6310, online. At the end of eight qualifying rounds that pitted him against computer teams, Liu finished fourth in the world with a score of 885 out of a possible 1,000 points.
In finals that pitted the six top-scoring teams against one another, Liu emerged in fourth place overall, with a score of 507.
“My business strategy was cost leader with a product lifecycle focus. I gained significant competitive advantages by minimizing costs through efficiency and expertise, “ said New York City-based Liu, vice president of data science at J.Crew and a JSOM Professional MBA Flex student. “Reliable products were designed to acquire and retain valuable customers in both high-tech and low-tech market segments.”
Capsim is a Chicago-based business simulation and assessment company that sponsors and runs biannual competitions based on two of its simulations. 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, and Chasteen regularly uses the simulation in the Strategic Management class.
More than 250 students worldwide participated in the challenge last fall, Chasteen said.
“Simulations are an important part of a business degree — both for graduates and undergraduates,” Chasteen said. Using one “improves critical thinking skills since you cannot stick with a set strategy. Instead, students must watch the other competitors and then react to them — just like in the real world.”
— Kris Imherr