Northwestern business students tie for first place in international simulation

Four Northwestern College seniors recently recorded a top score in the international Business Strategy Game, a dynamic online simulation in which participants are assigned the task of running an athletic footwear company.

While Northwestern students competing in the Business Strategy Game consistently record standout scores, one Northwestern team, named “Fantom Footwear,” tied for the best overall score during the week of Nov. 18–24. During that week, which was the final week Northwestern teams were competing for the semester, there were more than 4,300 teams in the competition.

Fantom Footwear team members included Jordan Coulter, a double major in business administration/management and psychology from Fort Calhoun, Nebraska; Brooke Dollen, a business administration/marketing major from Mineola, Iowa; Carter Van Gorp, a double major in economics and business administration/finance from Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Graham Zomermaand, a double major in accounting and business administration/finance from Sioux Center, Iowa.

The students competed in the Business Strategy Game as part of their business capstone course, Strategic and Ethical Management, taught by Erica Vonk, instructor in business and economics.

“The Business Strategy Game is an all-encompassing simulation meant to utilize students’ knowledge in all business subject areas,” says Vonk.

“All aspects of the Business Strategy Game parallel the functioning of the real-world athletic footwear market,” notes the simulation’s website, adding that this allows participants to “think rationally and logically in deciding what to do and get valuable practice in making a variety of different business decisions under circumstances that mirror real-world competitive conditions.”

Each week, every team, referred to as a “company” in the simulation, is evaluated on a balanced scorecard that includes brand image, earnings per share, return on equity investment, stock price appreciation and credit rating.

“The Fantom Footwear team was successful because the members recognized each other’s strengths early on, so they knew who should handle each aspect of the game,” says Vonk. “The team members spent a lot of time analyzing their weekly reports, working to understand the market they were in. They knew their goal for the semester and they stuck with it.”