Four-Week, Online Competition Enlists Top Engineering Students to Execute Simulated Industry Takeover
The third annual MEMPC PriSim Business War Games Competition kicked off at the beginning of February. During the four-week, online competition, seven cross-university teams from top engineering schools—including MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) program, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, and the University of Southern California— participate in a business simulation where they act as management in the takeover of a domestic automobile company.
The competition is part of an overall initiative of the Master of Engineering Management Programs Consortium (MEMPC) to raise awareness for the master of engineering management (MEM) degree; expand its value-added opportunities; forge business partnerships with employers, potential job candidates, students, and faculty; and promote alumni networking.
“The MEMPC is dedicated to elevating the profile of the MEM degree, and its PriSim Business War Games Competition plays an important role in this initiative by fostering business skills and offering the opportunity to connect with future colleagues,” said Joan S. Rubin, industry codirector of MIT SDM. “The teams will compete directly against each other and their results will depend upon how the competitors interact, what new products are introduced, and how these products are supported.”
Rubin added, “The cross-school teaming requires members to work in a geographically distributed way, which closely emulates today’s real-world, global scenarios. Participants also have the opportunity to develop or further enhance robust social networks.”
Strategic management is at the core of all decisions made in the competition. Students start by conducting an analysis of the business environment and then articulate the vision and mission of their new organization. Each company begins the simulation with three vehicles and then must decide how best to improve product performance and potentially enter new market segments that offer opportunities for growth.
“As an industry leader in customized, computerized business simulation games, PriSim is proud to play an integral role in the MEMPC PriSim Business War Games Competition and provide an opportunity for future graduates to practice with the tools needed to be successful in their careers,” said David Semb, partner at PriSim Business War Games Inc. and adjunct professor at Northwestern University.
In 2013, several SDM students participated in the competition and each was assigned to a different multi-school team that played the role of a company in the domestic automobile industry. Teams managed short- and long-term objectives and made decisions about how to interact with competitors, what new products to introduce, and how to support new products. Each team was responsible for establishing its own organization.
SDM student Terence Teo, whose team won the competition that year, said his group began by identifying its company’s strengths and weaknesses as well as market opportunities and trends. According to Teo, his team succeeded in large part because the members were all willing to agree on a strategy—to maintain their product line of high-value cars with a small market and big margins. “We kept our focus on upgrading existing models and on introducing new vehicles quickly,” he said. Teo also credited his team’s success to the members’ respect for each other’s views.
The competition began the week of February 2 and will wrap up on March 5, 2015, when the leadership team at PriSim and the MEMPC will judge the submissions. Winners will be announced on March 6. For more information about PriSim Business War Games, Inc., visit www.prisim.com.
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MIT SDM Communications Director