OWU Ranks in Top 25 For Business Strategy

Seniors Dana Israel and T.J. Thomas chose wisely when they named their Business Strategy Game (BSG) team “Action.” The strategies they have been implementing in the game have ranked them #15 in the overall game-to-date.
So, all of the non game-players are asking, “What is BSG?”
According to Dr. èmile Hawkins, chairman of the OWU business program, it is an online business game supported by the publishers McGraw Hill. The creators of the program hope that playing the game will give students practice in applying what they have read in the class text chapters, and the ability to make decisions and be held accountable for the results they produce.
“The BSG is a significant part of the Strategic Management course which is the ‘capstone’ class for the Business Division. Currently, there are eight seniors who have been paired together to form four teams,” Hawkins explains.
So, “Action” is just one of those teams at OWU that is excelling. Their slot of #15 means they are in the top 25 teams in the country who are currently playing the BSG. It is possible that if the “Action” team continues to place in the top 25, they will have an opportunity to play against global teams sometime in the next couple of months.
The game is set up so that each of the four OWU teams is assigned to an industry by the authors of the BSG. All four companies are in competition with each other in manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales of the product around the world. Their product is athletic footwear.
“While the ‘Action’ team of Thomas and Israel have placed fifteenth overall, it is possible that they can place in one of five contributing categories,” Hawkins explains. These are: 1) how well each company meets “investor expectations” on earnings per share, 2) return on shareholders’ equity (ROE), 3) stock price appreciation, 4) credit rating and 5) image rating.
Hawkins, who is new to the university this year, says he integrates the game during the first week of the course. His students begin by mastering the Players’ Guide, after which they are quizzed on its contents. He adds that each week concepts from the class text are applied to the game. The BSG then allows Hawkins’ students to test and apply first-hand the concepts they are covering. It is “hands-on” experience.
With this “hands-on” experience in mind, each week students make a decision that correlates to one year of decisions. The following are some of the types of decisions the students are asked to make:
? Production operations (up to 10 decisions for each plant, with a maximum of four plants)
? Plant capacity additions/sales/upgrades (up to six decisions per plant)
? Worker compensation and training (three decisions per plant)
? Shipping (up to eight decisions per plant)
? Pricing and marketing (up to 10 decisions in each of four geographic regions)
? Bids to sign celebrities (two decision entries per bid)
“Each of the teams is taking the game seriously,” according to Hawkins. “In many ways, everything the students have learned as business majors comes to bear, both in the Strategic Management course as well as the BSG. For those planning on being in business for themselves or working for any company in general, this game simulates the types of decisions management will require, and the rewards and consequences of those decisions.”
OWU business students are making the most of their time spent on this game, and maybe one of them will own more than a virtual athletic footwear company some day. With the management skills and strategic concepts they are learning through Hawkins’ classes and the BSG, the probability is high.

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