Learning to do business by doing business in a global environment is the main principle of an online business simulation course offered by the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Science (Germany) and in which, thanks to the cooperation between KhNTUA and the Rhine-Wales University of Applied Sciences for three months (November 2020 – January 2021) were attended by students of the Institute of Business and Management specialties 051 – Economics, 071 – Accounting and Taxation, 072 – Finance, Banking and Insurance, 074 – Management.
A unique educational project that brings together teachers and students from five countries. As a basis for the business simulation course, German teachers proposed a simulation game TOPSIM – Startup, which uses interactive methods of teaching and learning based on complex, computer business modeling.
At the first stage, students from 6 universities from different countries, united in teams (a total of 29 business teams were created), carried out in a virtual environment the development of business models and strategic business plans, compare options for raising capital, determining demand potential, target groups and competitive advantages of the startup. In the following stages, students made management decisions regarding:
– hiring resources and wages,
– choice of technologies and production volumes,
– pricing and advertising policy,
– sources and conditions of financing.
At the same time, the skills of filling out financial reporting forms and interpreting accounting data for corporate governance were practiced. Subsequently, the decisions were adjusted by changes in the market situation and the actions of competitors. The training was conducted in English.
Frankly speaking, at first most of the decisions made by students did not ensure business profitability, but in the process of business modeling, students were able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their company, threats, and opportunities, pay attention not to individual factors affecting business profitability, but to all aggregate, adjust their strategies and thus achieve business profitability in a changing global environment. At the same time, participation in this course allowed students to once again practice the skills of teamwork, in practice to feel the pitfalls and benefits of such work. The team of KhNTUA consisting of students Ilyin Oleksandra, Likhopud Oleksandra, Gatsko Darya, Simchenko Valeria was recognized as the best according to the results of business modeling.
Vitalina Strenadko, a student majoring in 072 “Finance, Banking and Insurance”, shares her impressions of participating in this course: showed how the company works from the inside, the dependence of business success on management decisions.
On the plus side, there are a variety of tasks that can be solved using a simulation within the training center. From learning specific knowledge in the field of business understanding: working with financial information, pricing, utilization of production capacity and ending with the choice of company strategy and the development of team influence skills.
The undoubted important advantage of the business game was the emotional experience for the result – our teams were happy, taking first place in the market, grieving, losing profits, suffering from poorly predicted sales and aggressive actions of competitors. Sincere admiration and a variety of often unexpected feelings created a high level of involvement and acquisition of knowledge. This level is difficult to achieve in other forms of classes – seminars or training.
With all the tension of emotions, according to the participants of this game from my team, they were pleased with the safety of the decisions made. Some even wrote that they were able to “bully and try a series of absolutely absurd actions.” This aspect is the advantage of business simulation, as participants can try the most incredible management scenario of the company, test their hypotheses in action, and the worst that can happen to them – the realization of the erroneousness of their decisions.
In my opinion, the main advantages of this game were:
• the ability to quickly “immerse” in the business situation and understanding of business processes;
• independence of conclusions and decision-making, obtaining their own experience, which is then much easier and faster to implement in reality.
• the ability to systematically analyze the situation, the development of the ability to see and take into account the system of interrelated factors influencing the result;
• a high degree of freedom and the ability to be flexible in choosing tools and approaches to solving problems;
• constant monitoring of the activity and scheme of the game “Solution – Result – Analysis -;
• teamwork and competitive moments, exchange of best practices.
Much time and effort have been devoted to the preparation and implementation of this project by Dr. Dietrich Darr, Professor of Agribusiness (Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany). On behalf of the KhNTUA, the curators in this project were V. Onegina, Professor, Head of the Department of Economics and Marketing. and Candidate of Economic Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Production Organization and Management Kalinichenko S.
However, plans for future cooperation between universities are being discussed, which, under favorable conditions for victory over the pandemic, provide even greater prospects for students of the KhNTUA.