A group of three Bemidji State University students has spent the last three weeks in a tie for first place in an ongoing international business simulation competition involving more than 5,500 teams worldwide.
The team of Judah Chezick from International Falls, Minn. (pictured, far right), John Gregorich from Britt, Minn. (center), and Ryan Kohorst from Sauk Centre, Minn. (left), all seniors in business administration, are participating in The Business Strategy Game, an online exercise that requires teams of students to manage an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against other teams. Company operations parallel those of actual athletic footwear companies. Just as in the real world, companies compete in a global market arena, selling branded and private-label athletic footwear in four geographic regions.
Each week, the best-performing teams in the competition are measured on four performance variables: overall score, earnings per share, return on average equity and overall stock price.
Dr. Dean Frost, associate professor of business administration, has been assigning the game to his classes each semester since 2008 and rates this team as among of the one or two most successful BSU teams in his classes over the last several years.
“It’s a true business simulation, and students are playing the role of the CEO and the CEO’s consultant or board of directors,” he said. “It helps the students get knowledge that can transfer anywhere, whether they’re in Bemidji, Minn., or on Wall Street.”
Frost says there is no one way to be successful, which puts pressure on the individual teams to devise their own strategy.
“The results depend on other team’s strategies,” he said. “They have to run a good company and be hyper competitive. They have to be better than their classmates in order to shine. It’s a good model for innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.”
BSU’s team of Chezick, Gregorich and Kohorst, named Dontopedalogy, has been ranked among the top 100 teams in the world in overall score for five of the last six weeks. After first cracking into the top 100 during the week ending March 9, they moved into a tie for first place for the week ending March 30. They have remained among the group of teams tied for the lead for the weeks ending April 6 and April 13.
The team attributes its success in part to the preparation the trio did beforehand. The group read the game’s players manual, and all three researched the game online to pick up tips from previous players.
“We weren’t just randomly switching buttons and stuff,” Kohorst said. “That helped us get out to a quick start.”
From there, the team was able to focus on correcting areas that initially were weaknesses while working to maintain areas where they found early success.
“As we went on, we looked at areas we were doing poorly on,” Chezick said. “We weren’t attracting enough retailers; we had to woo them, so we did things like offer more financial support and do more advertising.”
“We had to lower our delivery time,” Gregorich said. “That was hurting us early on.”
While Dontopedalogy has found itself among the recent co-leaders in the contest, other BSU teams have performed well enough to crack the Top 100 in the weekly global overall score leaderboards, as well:
• AA.J.N. Corporation, which includes Jess Elkins from Ely, Minn., St. Cloud native Nathan Molitor, and Andrew Roiger from Dawson, Minn., has made three appearance in the Top 100 — tied for 49th for the week ending March 30, tied for 39th for the week ending April 6, and tied for the global lead for the week ending April 13;
• Alpha, which is Grand Rapids, Minn., senior Geoff Baril, Laporte, Minn., native Connor Sweeney, and Prior Lake senior Joseph Ohman, was tied for 62nd for the week ending March 16; and
• APlus Sneakers, comprised of seniors Brian Bueckers from Avon, Minn., Liza DeBoer from Blooming Prairie, Minn., Amy Priewe from Wadena, Minn., and Stephanie Steinhofer from Brooten, Minn., was the first BSU team to break into the Top 100; it was tied for 63rd for the week ending March 2.
In total, BSU has 21 teams and 70 students participating in the contest. The teams have completed nine weeks of a 10-week cycle; if Dontopedalogy remains among the group of teams tied for the top overall position after the 10th week, it could be invited to participate in a special invitational round of the game in May. In that invitational, the trio would compete directly with other top teams and against faculty from other participating institutions.
About The Business Strategy Game
The Business Strategy Game is an online exercise where class members are divided into teams and assigned the task of running an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against companies managed by other class members.
Company co-managers must make decisions relating to plant operations, distribution and warehouse operations, work force compensation, online sales at the company’s web site, sales and marketing, and finance. The challenge is to craft and execute a competitive strategy that results in a respected brand image, keeps the company in contention for global market leadership and produces good financial performance as measured by earnings per share, return on investment, stock price appreciation and credit rating.
All aspects of The Business Strategy Game parallel the functioning of the real-world athletic footwear market, allowing participants to think rationally and logically while making decisions, while getting valuable practice in making a variety of different business decisions under circumstances that mirror real-world competitive conditions.
Over the last 12 months, The Business Strategy Game has been used by nearly 52,000 students representing 569 college or university campuses in 54 different countries.
• Dr. Dean Frost, associate professor of business administration; (218) 755-3709