Introduction & Overview, BUS 497A
Rex C. Mitchell, Ph.D.


Part of the course will involve participation in a computer simulation of a group of companies using strategic management principles to make decisions and manage their companies in a highly competitive industry. The simulation is intended to further several learning objectives, especially:

  1. to improve your critical/strategic thinking, including thinking systemically (i.e., thinking about the broader system involved and interactions within it when considering specific decisions)
  2. to have hands-on experience with strategic business decisions
  3. :
  4. to gain insights into international competition
  5. to integrate previous COBAE course concepts so that you will be better able to use the concepts in the future
  6. to have additional experience in team work
  7. for you to have fun while learning about business and strategic management! (I think this is definitely possible and I want to help it happen.)

The simulation is web-based and handled completely on-line, which allows "virtual team meetings" with team members on different computers, seeing the same screens. Teams of 3-4 individuals (to be established in a way that ensures a diverse mixture of majors and skills), will each represent the top management team of a company in a competitive industry (global casual shoes) comprised of the several companies/teams in the class. Each cycle of the game represents one year in the industry. These teams will make a series of complex decisions (up to 130 in 8 categories for each annual cycle) about the strategic management of their companies that, taken together, will determine the industry competitive dynamics and each company's relative performance during the subsequent year. These decisions are made on-line and can be revised up to the deadline for each annual cycle. After the deadline, the remote server processes the results from each set of annual company decisions and provides information on-line about the results, which each company will use to make its set of decisions for the following year.


The on-line reports give each team's (company's) performance in two ways on each of the following five variables plus an overall performance score that is computed from these five by using the following weights:

  1. EPS score: 30%
  2. ROE score: 20%
  3. Credit rating: 15%
  4. Stock price: 20%
  5. Image rating: 15%
The two ways these variables are scored are (a) the investors' expectations standard (how well did you meet or beat the annual performance targets for each of the variables) and (b) the best-in-industry standard (how well does your company's performance stack up against the companies with the best performance on each of the variables). The annual Footware Industry Report produced after processing each annual cycle gives current year and cumulative scores on these various measures for each of the companies in the industry. The on-line Player's Guide gives details.


Please see the BSG Grading Module

[The process and notes below involve a series of annual decisions in which the company decisions from each team are entered on-line, and industry results will be available on-line.]


  1. Every company starts with the same past decisions and year 10 results
  2. You are making decisions for Years 11 then 12 in the practice rounds
  3. Next, we will begin the "real" industry competition. The industry will be reset at Year 11 and you will make decisions for Year 11 in the first competitive industry round
  4. Although there are many choices in the Menu Bar in the program, for the practice rounds I suggest you concentrate on using the Sales Forecast screen plus making (changed) decisions in five of the decision screens: Branded Production, Branded Distribution, Internet Marketing, Wholesale Marketing, and Private-Label Operations. If you wish, you can also experiment with the remaining three decision screens, which you will use at some times in the regular competitive rounds [i.e., Plant Capacity Sales/Upgrades/Additions, Bids for Celebrity Endorsements, Finance & Cash Flow].
  5. The Sales Forecast screen can be helpful in estimating the effects of various "what-if" assumptions on your projected sales and market share. However, you should use the model's projections as directional rather than as absolute numbers, i.e., as you make "what-if" changes on this screen, see if the bottom projections change in desirable directions. The absolute projections of company performance for the coming year are not really indicative of year-end performance until you have entered a complete set of decisions. Further, your final performance may be quite different from your projections because of the effects of decisions by the other companies.
  6. Note that strategies/decisions that seem to be "successful" in your practice round may not be as successful in the actual competitive decision rounds - since industry (and your company's) results depend, not only on your strategy and decisions, but also on the strategies and decisions of the other companies plus environmental effects.
  7. You can work in the labs or on any computer that has Internet access and has Excel and Internet Explorer installed
  8. Copies of the charts I will use for an introductory briefing in class are posted here
  9. More details are in the following modules and will be discussed in class:

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Last modified June 24, 2009 Copyright 2001-2009 Rex Mitchell