TOPSIM on Demand – Business Challenge: International Course at the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, courses in this year’s International Business Consulting Program at the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg had to take place entirely online. Prof. Dr. Fischer was looking for a suitable opportunity to make an introduction into business studies and found it in TOPSIM on Demand – Business Challenge!

The MBA in International Business Consulting attracts international students to Offenburg every year. Due to the COVID-19, however, both students and lecturers started a 100% online semester. The group of students includes young professionals from all over the world, from European countries, as well as from Central and South America or Asia. This results in a time difference of up to 13 hours. So how can students learn business basics in an interactive way?

All students already have a bachelor’s degree, but come from different disciplines, mainly engineering and IT. So Prof. Dr. Fischer had to find a solution, that could be independent of time and location as well as suitable to people with no business background. The solution is our newest single player simulation: TOPSIM on Demand – Business Challenge.

How was the online course designed?

A total of 26 students took part in the business simulation. The first kick-off event took place at 3 p.m. German time, so students from all over the world can participate despite the time difference. They then played 4 to 5 rounds of TOPSIM on Demand – Business Challenge. In this beginner business simulation, the participants first completed a technical and content-related interactive onboarding process. Afterwards the players competed against the computer opponent in single player mode. From time to time there were also theoretical additional sessions, which were either held at a suitable time slot or made available as video.

The results of the business simulation were not assessed. The premise was that the students would develop an expertise based on the principle of learning by doing without any ‘pressure’.

Positive overall impression

Prof. Dr. Fischer also included corresponding content of the business simulation in the “Corporate Finance” course. He had already played a few rounds in advance and used his results to support the theory inputs with practical examples. In the future, the business simulation will be used in the future again in the context of the course ‘Costing’.

In the case of a return to classroom learning, Prof. Dr. Fischer would switch to using the business simulation as an evaluated compulsory elective course. The business simulation receives consistently positive feedback from students: especially for the interactive onboarding, which can be used as a kick-off. It also allows a number of different evaluation and analysis possibilities, which were very helpful for the participants.

We thank Prof. Dr. Fischer for the interesting insight into the online business simulation concept and look forward to future courses with TOPSIM on Demand – Business Challenge!

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