17 Teams in Search of the Winning Strategy

17 Teams in Search of the Winning Strategy


17 teams with the same product to sell and identical target customers. For the rest, the widest possible freedom to operate and see who will have turned out the largest profit. But not only that, because the performance index is also tied to ecological sustainability and corporate social responsibility. We are talking about the business game that concludes the course in Corporate Strategy (part of the International Management program), which recently involved about 130 students, divided into 17 groups, "who had to take on the role of corporate executives to put into practice what they learned in the theoretical part of the program”, explains Giada Di Stefano, who teaches the course together with Charlie Williams

"In each team, students act as members of the executive team of a company, in charge of its various functions (CEO, Sales & Marketing, Production, HR, R&D, Finance), independently deciding who does what", continues the professor. "Students make decisions on their PCs (also remotely, like we did during lockdown when they were in their own homes, with meetings taking place on Teams or Blackboard). Then, at regular intervals, all the data is put into the system to see how the business year is going. At the end of the simulated period (for us, 5 years), you can see who has generated the most value".  

The competing teams were distributed in three geographical areas: the Americas, Europe-MiddleEast-Africa, Asia-Australia, with three teams assigned to each area. The product everyone had to market, called Table T, had the same starting price for all teams. From that moment on, it was a matter of inventiveness and especially strategy : "The young execs had to make decisions based on market analysis on which technologies they needed to develop, which market segment to target, where to expand, whether they needed to partner with other teams", Di Stefano says, "All in a time-span of five years. At the end of each simulated year of operation, all data were sent to the computer which processed them and decreed who did better”.  

The advantage of this business game, which was played by the the nine teams over the course of a whole weekend, so as not to interfere with the activities of other classes, is that all results are clear consequences of the decisions taken, as always happens when you are pursuing a good strategy. "It was a very interactive and realistic simulation, in which we worked as a real team", says Maria Vittoria Celli, one of the students involved. "During competition days, the game was divided into 40-minute sessions that symbolically represented a business year. We had to present our strategies, justify the decisions taken and, based on the target identified, develop a coherent pricing policy, because making appropriate choices is at the basis of what they teach you at the strategy course". For Maria Vittoria, there were no regrets about not being able to work in presence: "On the contrary, working remotely was an advantage. It was easier to coordinate with the rest of the team and there was less confusion. Everyone was able to give their managerial input.” 

by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Alex Foti

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