The University of Paderborn has been successfully using our management simulation Mastering Business Operations (formerly TOPSIM – Mastering General Management Standard) in the business game module “Organisation und Unternehmensführung” (Organization and Corporate Management) since 2009. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Bernd Frick, Pascal Haase, research assistant at the Chair of Organization-, Media- and Sports Economics, oversees the simulation. As coordinator, he will supervise a total of 122 students in the implementation of the competitive industrial business game in the summer semester of 2022.
The Faculty of Business Administration and Economics at the University of Paderborn offers prospective students a total of seven bachelor’s degree programs. On the one hand, they can specialize in the study programs, but on the other hand they also have the possibility to choose modules from other areas. Students from the bachelor’s degree programs “International Business Studies”, “Sportökonomie” (Sports Economics), “Wirtschaftswissenschaften” (Economics) and “Wirtschaftsinformatik” (Business Information Systems) can participate in the business game module.
Only students of sports economics are required to participate in the event. Nevertheless, about 100 to 150 students take the business game module every year in the summer semester and compete in groups of 4-5 students. It is thus the largest module offered at the chair of Prof. Dr. Frick. The high number of participants, who are distributed among five markets with five competing teams each, is particularly unusual.
Over a period of 13 weeks, the students attend the 90-minute lecture twice a week. About halfway through, they slip into the role of the management of a medium-sized company as part of the business game. In the lecture, Prof. Dr. Frick imparts theoretical business knowledge to the students, which he illustrates using everyday problems of real companies. The students then apply their theoretical knowledge in the management simulation, which is characterized by its high decision-making complexity.
Procedure and Evaluation
The teams are put together at random. In the lecture and via the learning platform of the University of Paderborn (PANDA), the students receive an overview of the deadlines for the decisions they make during the simulation. Via the TOPSIM-Cloud and the learning platform they get access to all relevant documents of the simulation, such as the introductory presentation and the participant manual. After a short introduction by the simulation coordinator, the students deal with the decisions, challenges, and opportunities of the simulation largely independently.
It is up to the students when they make their decisions, whether they exchange information in person or via a communication platform, and how they organize themselves within the teams. Via the TOPSIM-Cloud and the learning platform, the groups can exchange information with each other or contact Mr. Haase with organizational questions. However, their success primarily depends on their own independent actions.
The TOPSIM-Cloud facilitates our work in conducting the simulation enormously, since the students find all relevant information in the Cloud, and we do not have to perform any calculations ourselves. This is taken over by the software and we can assist the students primarily in an advisory capacity. In addition, we can concentrate on evaluating the business game. This is a great help for us, especially considering the large number of participants.
The final exam of the lecture is used for 70% of the grading of the business game module. The remaining 30% of the grade is determined by the results of the business game. If a company is eliminated in the first two of the eight periods because it must file for bankruptcy, the team members must prepare especially well for the exam and settle for a grade of 4.0 for the business simulation. Those who can hold their own in the competition until the very end can expect a positive grading. Particularly high final stock prices are rewarded with correspondingly good grades.
Back to normal
At the University of Paderborn, the mask requirement, distance rules and all other restrictions were lifted at the beginning of the summer semester 2022. More and more students are taking off their masks, are eating in the canteen and meet their fellow students on campus. Normal student life is now taking place again, allowing students to finally breathe a sigh of relief after two years.
The business game module also took place exclusively online during the two pandemic semesters. In the summer semester of 2022, it will once again be offered in presence. This has a correspondingly positive effect on the increasing number of participants. Although attendance is not compulsory during the lecture, students enjoy the face-to-face events and full lecture halls.
We would like to thank Mr. Haase for his insights and wish him and the students a lot of fun, good success, and an instructive experience with “Mastering Business Operations” at the University of Paderborn!