The Business Strategy Game: Running a company with a set of complete strangers
The Business Strategy Game : A true challenge to improve your business decisions.
I sat down in the third row on the left side of the room. Classmates filed in and filled the seats in the large room. It was Day Two of the EMLYON International MBA program and the first of its Business Strategy Game, I expected the agenda to be fairly light, without too much content as we were introduced to the program. Instead, I was greeted by an enthusiastic professor who gave a brief overview of the task at hand and dismissed us into assigned groups to begin our work. Classmates filed out, just as quickly as they had come in and we divided into multiple classrooms. Different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences gathered in each room as individuals developed from strangers to colleagues to teammates fighting to come out on top.
The instruction: « You and your coworkers are taking over the operation of an athletic shoe company that is in a neck-and-neck race for global market leadership, competing against rival athletic footwear companies run by other class members. » We needed to quickly learn the game platform, develop business strategies and principles, and gain an understanding of how our team operated as a whole. We began politely, as we introduced ourselves to each other to explain a bit of our background, and then began experimenting in the software. However, we quickly learned that if we were going to compete in this game, we needed to lace up our shoes and start running the race.
I would be lying if I said that the task was simple. Thinking critically to arrive at a common set of actions with established teams is challenging enough, and doing it with strangers who are all actively advancing their careers through leadership training adds another level of complexity. Day one of the activity can be categorized as polite. We made every effort to hear ideas, gain a complete understanding, and come to consensus. Day two was a day of tension, conflict, and stretching as the game evolved and we adapted to results of our competitors under tight timelines. Day three resulted in a true team effort, trusted decisions, plenty of laughs, and a third place achievement.
The Business Strategy Game confirmed my excitement for the IMBA program and was an excellent springboard into the year. It provided a platform where we were permitted to try new ideas and to make new types of business decisions, while allowing each of us to ask questions and strengthen corporate skills. The IMBA race has just begun and I am looking forward to many more sprints as we approach the finish line.
Written by: Rebecca Yuhas, American, International MBA 2018 – 2019