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SXU GSM Students Put Strategy into Action and Earn BSG Global Top 100


Saint Xavier University (SXU) management students recently competed in the Business Strategy Game (BSG), an online simulation 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 students. Company operations parallel those of actual athletic footwear companies and students compete in a global market arena. This semester, MGMT 390 business strategy students competed against nearly 5,000 other students and did extraordinarily well, achieving BSG Global Top 100 rankings for nearly all eight rounds of the game.

The game allows students to think rationally and logically in deciding what to do and obtain valuable practice in making a variety of different business decisions under circumstances that mirror real-world competitive conditions.

Company E was comprised of SXU students Jamie Burgert, Jacob Davies, Veronica Hernandez and John Mehalek, who appeared in the BSG Global Top 100 for seven of the eight rounds of the simulation. Company H was comprised of SXU students Jacob Ottenfeld, Renwick Parham, Collin Sleeman and Timmie Taylor, who appeared in the BSG Global Top 100 for six consecutive rounds and took 25th place in the final round.

Company E attributes their success to investing time to learn the simulation details and applying relevant professional and academic experience to the game. Hernandez's involvement with pricing and logistics in the grocery industry helped her with warehousing and distribution. Davies chose corporate social responsibility (CSR) alternatives that make the workplace better for employees because that is what he'd like to see at his job. When their results faltered in the middle of the game, Mehalek's competitive drive drove his deep dive into the simulation details to turn around the results while Burgert kept her eye on return-on-equity and ending cash to ensure the team was ready for whatever the next round brought.

"I work at a small, family-owned firm where everyone pulls their weight, from the owner to the seasonal employees, to help us fulfill the company mission of delivering quality parts that meet or exceed customer requirements. The GSM business program emphasizes a balanced and fair approach where employees and other stakeholders are as important as stockholders, same as my job," said Davies.

Company H students leaned on their experiences with video games to conquer the simulation – their gamer mentalities helped them to focus on collaborating and double-checking each other's choices, and their business classes had a big impact too. Ottenfeld and Sleeman noticed the impact of production equipment investments and how they not only endure over many rounds but also expand production capacity to drive market share in multiple regions and customer segments. Taylor noted the positive impact of workforce investments to improve product quality, which also netted them an award for CSR investments. Parham, the finance guru, kept laser-focused on anticipating competitors' moves and the bottom-line impact of their choices.

"My finance courses helped a lot, especially FINC 320, Investment Portfolio Analysis, because Dr. Hoque explained how stock prices actually operate and in FINC 330, International Finance, Dr. Wang helped us understand how exchange rates impact firm success," said Parham.

The course is taught by Regina McNally, Ph.D., who is delighted for her students.

"I am so proud of all these students and hope they agree that strategy is fun! It was great to see them connect all their hard work and strategy concepts learned in class to the simulation," said McNally.