UMES Students Learn Business Strategies in Capstone Simulation Contest

  • Monday, March 29, 2010

    During the Capstone Simulation Contest, students at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore become the managers of competing companies.

    "They have to make decisions in research and development, production, marketing, finance and, total quality management, and human resources," said Dr. Bryant Mitchell, associate professor in the Department of Business, Management and Accounting.

    Throughout the school year, students enrolled in Mitchell's upper level business administration courses - Management and Organizational Behavior, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Production Management, and Strategic Management - participate in the Capstone challenge.

    Capsim Management Simulations Inc. is the largest provider of business simulations and business games utilized by teachers and professors for university, college and high school courses. The Illinois-based company's Capstone Business Simulation game is used in more than 500 schools worldwide, as well as in corporate, fast-track training.

    "Working with Capstone Simulation allowed me to employ not only my accounting skills, but also my problem solving skills," said Gabrielle Carlson, whose team placed first in the Capstone Simulation Contest during this year's winter mini-session in January.

    Carlson and her team mates, Nicole Hucke and Deborah Williams, faced off against four student teams in her course "Management and Organizational Behavior" and two Capstone computer teams at UMES.

     "I told my team members the first day of class that I want to win, no matter what it takes," said Carlson, who will earn her degree in agricultural business in May. 

    The Capstone Simulation Contest, which awards $100 to the first place team, provides an "added incentive" when the students utilize the business simulation game in Mitchell's courses.

    "The team with the highest stock price at the end of eight rounds wins the prize," Mitchell said.

    Students make decisions in six management areas for eight rounds, he said. Each round is equivalent to one year.

    "We were on cloud nine when we found out that we placed first," said Williams, an administrative assistant for Counseling Services at UMES, who is working toward a bachelor's degree in business administration.

    Williams, a part-time student, said the simulation game helped her make intelligent financial decisions and "gain the experience of running a real life business."

    "I thought of it like playing the game of Monopoly," Carlson said. "My strategy was to be on top of all the departments of the company. I learned that all departments of a business have to work at full capacity to ensure the viability of a company."

    During the competition, the students' scores were also ranked among more than 660 university and corporate teams from around the globe, Mitchell said.

    Carlson and Williams's team ranked first in the "Return on Assets" category and second in the "Return on Sales" category.

    "I was surprised to see how well we did against students around the world and in top business universities," Carlson said. "I have even added this on my resume to show that I am capable of being an asset to any business.”

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    Candice Evans, UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-6669, caevans1@umes.edu

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu