Klaus Walter uses various business simulations from TOPSIM for his courses at Griffith College. Established in 1974, Griffith College is one of Ireland’s largest independent third level institutions with 7,000 students and offers a variety of programmes, from Business and Law to Design, Media Studies and Pharmacy – and many more. In this article, we show how both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes integrate simulations and how students benefit from this experience.
Currently two business simulations are used at Griffith College: TOPSIM – General Management at Griffith’s Graduate Business School in the module “Entrepreneurial Innovation – Entrepreneurship Section” and TOPSIM – easyManagement at Griffith College City Centre in the “Strategic Decision Making” course.
Griffith’s Graduate Business School: Entrepreneurial Innovation
Griffith’s Graduate Business School students get to tackle real problems of strategic importance to multinational corporations. In doing so, they develop core management competencies that prepare them for the business world. GBS courses emphasise practical experience and allow students to study various areas of specialisation.
The module “Entrepreneurial Innovation” focuses on the challenges of managing a business, and the business simulation TOPSIM – General Management is a perfect fit as it provides a risk-free platform for learning business by doing business. In the first lecture of the course, teams of four people are formed according to the virtual companies they will be taking over. Every participant is also assigned a specific management function:
- Marketing and Sales Manager
- Operations Manager
- Financial Manager
Klaus has been with us since our revalidation of the programme back in 2018 and the introduction of TOPSIM within the Masters in International TOPSIM – Manufacturing Managementhas been a great success. The competencies which must be achieved on this programme are well aligned to the online group aspect of this software. Given our leap into an online environment due to Covid, there was huge relief in knowing we could carry on group work online seamlessly with TOPSIM.Áine McManus, Head of Faculty
Graduate Business School
During the semester theoretical inputs are usually accompanied by the business simulation periods. Students learn about using business methods, dealing with large amounts of information and handling entrepreneurial uncertainties. Not only teamwork but also the work of each individual student will count for the final grade, for which the participants need to complete several tasks:
- First, the teams submit a report on their decision-making for the first business year. The teams should evaluate their current company performance as well as take a look at the market situation and competitors.
- The second task is a classic team presentation at the end of the business simulation. In 10 minutes, students need to present their originally planned strategy and whether it worked, their financial performance, their mistakes and goals as well as key takeaways which they can also apply in practice.
- Finally, each participant has to write an individual report on the progress of their virtual company and focus on their initial management role assigned in the first lecture.
Business simulation is an amazing way to learn. It helps to get the essence of business planning and strategy development by playing. So much fun and practical knowledge at the same time. It is a valuable experience both for newcomers to business and to the ones who wish to upgrade their leadership and strategic skills.Alisa Polyakova, student at Griffith’s Graduate Business School
Business simulation is the most interesting method I have ever learnt. It brings to me the experience of being a real business owner and helps me broaden my knowledge of business management. I always feel excited when joining this class. Thank you for teaching me a helpful and enjoyable class.Duong Thuy Nguyen, student at Griffith’s Graduate Business School
Griffith College City Centre: Strategic Decision Making
The Professional Diploma in Management and Leadership is a part-time evening course for those who want to gain additional practical management skills. The course has been developed with career progression and recognition by professional bodies in mind and is designed for candidates from any sector or industry such as healthcare, retail or construction. To give students an insight into managing a business, Klaus Walter uses TOPSIM – easyManagement as part of the course “Strategic Decision Making”.
In this business simulation students get to manage the virtual company Vallenberg Outdoor Inc. for four fictional business years and are responsible for strategic and operational planning in tent production. At the end of the seminar, every student has to submit a report on their decision-making process in the simulated business years and evaluate the different techniques used in strategic decision-making and their limitations. Additionally, they prepare a 10-minute presentation, during which they summarise their strategy, mistakes and main findings.
“Having the opportunity to see how any decision you make can impact your business is a great exercise and definitely something I learn a lot from. Also, the opportunity of doing this exercise with a team gave me a great learning on how to negotiate.”Mara García Ramírez, student at Griffith College City Centre
In both simulation-based courses at Griffith College students can critically apply economic theory, tools and techniques used in entrepreneurship and learn to evaluate long-term strategies and optimise their decision making with each further round. While analysing changes on the market in each financial year, participants gain better understanding of dealing with uncertainties and challenges during the process of starting a business.
We would like to thank Klaus Walter for presenting his online business simulation concept and are looking forward to more seminars powered by TOPSIM.