Usually, the 11th grade students in Kiel would do an internship in a company to learn about economic contexts in practice. But due to the global pandemic, many companies had no capacity for interns. Last year almost half of the class at the Max Planck School in Kiel lost their internship or had not found a company. To change this, a creative concept with TOPSIM was found.
Alternative: Business Game with Practical Relevance
The Department of Economics at Kiel University of Applied Sciences, represented by Ann-Christin Schweers, found an alternative for the internship together with the teachers of the Max Planck School: TOPSIM – easyManagement. With this business game, the eleventh grade students were able to get a realistic insight into business and its operations despite homeschooling. Ann-Christin Schweers gave an introduction to general business administration via Zoom, after which the students were able to put their knowledge into practice in the business game.
Four to six people formed a team and took over the management of a manufacturer of outdoor tents. The groups got a first glimpse of the game through a test round, and then they got started. The students played for six periods, extended to two weeks. Ann-Christin Schweers made an evaluation after each period, which she presented to the groups. Following the simulation, all participants were to prepare a reflection report, which then served as a substitute for the actual internship report.
The practical concept is gaining relevance
The teachers were enthusiastic about the concept, which is why, after the Max Planck School, the Humboldt School also showed interest in a business game. The eleventh-grade students here had the same dilemma: a business internship is very hard to come by in times of a global pandemic. So Ann-Christin Schweers implemented a two-week business game seminar there as well, enabling the senior class to gain knowledge about economic activities in companies without an internship.
The Department of Economics at Kiel UAS normally uses the business game for first-year students in the Bachelor of Business Administration. Extending the license to schools turned an emergency solution into an exciting alternative program to the internship. The feedback from participants’ was also positive: they were grateful for the two-week excursion into business and were in favor of including TOPSIM – easyManagement in the regular curriculum.
We would like to thank Ann-Christin Schweers and Klaus-Peter Stuhr for the insight into the seminar. We are happy about this successful simulation and are curious to see which ideas and concepts the schools in Kiel will implement together with our simulation in the future!