A Quick Overview of BSG and Its Special Features

Athletic footwear makes an excellent setting for a strategy simulation for four important reasons:

  1. A simulation always has more power to engage students and stimulate learning when it entails a product like athletic footwear that they are intimately familiar with and when it is easy for them to grasp the workings of the industry.
  2. Modeling The Business Strategy Game to mirror the real-world global athletic footwear industry is particularly fitting for a strategy simulation because the product is used worldwide, there's competition among companies from several continents, production plants are geographically scattered, and the real-world marketplace is populated with companies employing a variety of competitive approaches and business strategies.
  3. A simulation with a globally competitive market setting (as opposed to just a domestic market setting) is especially desirable because globalization is an ever-widening business reality and global strategy issues are a standard part of strategy courses.
  4. Accreditation standards for business school programs routinely require that the core curriculum include international business topics and the managerial aspects of operating in a globally competitive marketplace.

Company Operations. Each company markets its brand of athletic footwear to footwear retailers worldwide and to individuals buying online at the company’s web site. Companies start out with two plants, one in North America and one in Asia. Both plants can be operated at overtime to boost annual capacity by 20%. Companies can establish production facilities in Latin America and Europe-Africa as the decision rounds unfold, either by constructing new plants or buying previously-constructed plants that have been sold by competing companies. If a company has more production capacity than is needed to meet the demand for its branded footwear, it can bid for contracts to produce footwear sold under the private-label brands of large chain retailers. Private-label footwear must be produced to the specifications of chain retailers.

Management decides how much to spend on new features, more footwear models, and stylish new designs to keep the company’s footwear offerings fresh and in step with the latest fashion. Company co-managers control production costs by raising/lowering footwear quality, adjusting work force compensation, deciding where to locate plants (worker pay scales vary from region to region), and how much to spend on best practices and Six Sigma programs to reduce production defects and boost worker productivity.

All newly-produced footwear is shipped in bulk containers to one of four regional distribution centers (North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe-Africa). All incoming orders from internet customers and retailers in a geographic region are filled from footwear inventories in that same regional distribution center. Since internet and retailer orders cannot be filled from inventories in a distribution center in another region (because of prohibitively high shipping and distribution costs), company co-managers have to be careful to match shipments from plants to the expected internet and retailer demand in each geographic region. Costs at the four regional distribution centers are a function of inventory storage costs, packing and shipping fees, import tariffs paid on incoming pairs shipped from foreign plants, and exchange rate impacts.

Many countries have import duties on footwear produced at plants outside their geographic region; at the start of the simulation, import tariffs average $4 per pair in Europe-Africa, $6 per pair in Latin America, and $8 in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the Free Trade Treaty of the Americas allows tariff-free movement of footwear between all the countries of North America and Latin America. The countries of North America, which strongly support free trade policies worldwide, currently have no import tariffs on footwear. Instructors have the option to alter tariffs as the game progresses.

The Decisions That Company Co-Managers Have to Make. Each decision round, company co-managers are faced with 53 types of decisions, spread across the functional spectrum as follows:

  • Corporate social responsibility and citizenship (up to 6 decision entries)
  • Production operations (up to 10 decision entries for each plant, with a maximum of 4 plants)
  • Plant capacity additions/sales/upgrades (up to 6 decision entries per plant)
  • Worker compensation and training (3 decision entries per plant)
  • Shipping (up to 8 decision entries each plant)
  • Pricing and marketing (up to 10 decision entries in each of 4 geographic regions)
  • Bids to sign celebrities (2 decision entries per bid)
  • Financing of company operations (up to 8 decision entries)
Experience confirms that having this many decisions is right on the money—enough to keep company co-managers engaged and challenged but not too many to confuse and overwhelm.

On-Screen Support Calculations. Each time co-managers make a decision entry, an assortment of on-screen calculations instantly shows the projected effects on unit sales, revenues, market shares, total profit, earnings per share, ROE, unit costs, and other operating outcomes. All of these on-screen calculations help co-managers evaluate the relative merits of one decision entry versus another. Company managers can try out as many different decision combinations as they wish in stitching the separate decisions into a cohesive whole that is projected to produce good company performance.
If company co-managers want additional help/assistance in making decision entries, they can watch the 2-4 minute video tutorials for each decision screen and/or consult the comprehensive Help sections that explain cause-effect relationships, provide tips and suggestions, explain how the numbers in the company and industry reports are calculated, and otherwise inform company co-managers how things work.

The Quest for a Winning Strategy. All companies begin the exercise with equal sales volume, global market share, revenues, profits, costs, product quality and performance, brand recognition, and so on. Global demand for athletic footwear grows at the rate of 7-9% annually for the first five years and 5-7% annually for the second five years. However, market growth rates vary by geographic region, and growth rates are also affected by the aggressiveness with which companies go after additional sales by making their product offerings more appealing.
Competition in the market segments for branded footwear is based on 12 factors:

  • How each company’s wholesale selling price for its branded footwear compares against the corresponding industry-wide average prices being charged in each geographic region.
  • How each company’s footwear styling and quality compares against that of rival brands.
  • How each company’s advertising expenditures compare against the industry-wide average advertising expenditures.
  • How each company’s mail-in rebate offers compare against the rebates offered by rival companies.
  • How each company’s advertising expenditures compare against industry-wide average advertising expenditures.
  • How each company’s advertising expenditures compare against industry-wide average advertising How the number of models/styles in each company’s branded footwear offerings compare against the industry-wide average number of models.
  • How the numbers of retail outlets stocking a company’s brand of footwear compares against the average number of retailers carrying rival footwear brands.
  • How the number and appeal of the celebrities a company has contracted with to endorse its footwear compares against the overall celebrity appeals of endorsers of rival brands.
  • How the length of each company’s shipping and delivery times on retailers’ orders compare against those of rival companies.
  • The comparative amount (relative to rival brands) of merchandising and promotional support that a company offers to its retailers relative to the average amounts offered industry-wide.
  • The aggressiveness with which a company promotes online purchases at its website as compared to the aggressiveness of rival companies.
  • The extent to which the buyers of a company’s brand of footwear remain loyal to repurchasing that same brand.
Each company typically seeks to enhance its performance and build competitive advantage via its own custom-tailored competitive strategy based on more attractive pricing, greater advertising, a wider selection of footwear models/styles, and so on. Any and all competitive strategy options—low-cost leadership, differentiation, best-cost provider, focused low-cost, and focused differentiation—are viable choices for pursuing better company performance and competitive advantage in the branded footwear segment. There is no built-in bias favoring any one strategy and no “secret set of strategic moves or competitive approaches” that guarantee a company’s success in the industry. A company can try to gain an edge over rivals in the branded footwear segment with more advertising or a wider selection of models or more appealing styling/quality or bigger rebates or securing more appealing celebrity endorsements, and so on. It can focus sales efforts on one or two geographic regions or strive to build strong market positions in all four geographic regions. It can pursue essentially the same branded strategy worldwide or craft slightly or very different strategies for each of the four geographic regions. It can put more or less emphasis on selling branded shoes to retailers as opposed to selling to individual consumers at the company’s web site. Most any well-conceived, well-executed competitive approach in branded footwear is capable of succeeding, provided it is not overpowered by the opposing strategies of competitors or defeated by the presence of too many copycat strategies that dilute its effectiveness.
However, vigorous price competition dominates the private-label segment. For obvious reasons, chain retailers prefer to source their requirements for private-label footwear from companies offering the best (lowest prices). Companies desirous of winning a contract to supply private-label footwear to chain retailers across the world must first agree to produce shoes that meet globally-set buyer specifications for quality and variety of models/styles. Then they must be successful in bidding against rival companies for contracts. Companies offering to supply specified quantities of private-label footwear with lower price bids are awarded contracts over companies that bid higher prices. A low-cost, low-price strategy is thus mandatory in the private-label segment if a company expects to be profitable (but this does not require pursuing the same strategy in the branded segment).

How the Outcomes Are Determined Instructors establish a deadline (date and time) for company co-managers to complete for each decision round and other related assignments. Instructors have the flexibility to change the deadlines at any time for any reason. Decision rounds can be scheduled once per week, twice per week, daily, or even twice daily, depending on how you want to conduct the exercise. You will be able to peruse sample decision schedules when you are settling on the times and dates for the deadlines.
When the instructor-specified deadline for a decision round arrives, the BSG algorithms allocate sales and market shares to the competing companies, region by region. How many branded pairs a company sells in each geographic region is governed by:

  • how its branded footwear price compares against the prices of rival brands,
  • how its footwear styling and quality compares against those of rival brands,
  • how its advertising effort matches up against the advertising efforts of its rivals, and so on for each competitive factor.
For instance, a company’s branded footwear price in a region is determined to be more competitive the further it is below the average price in that region charged by all companies and less competitive the further it is above the regional average. A company’s footwear styling/quality is determined to be more competitive the further its styling/quality rating is above the average styling/quality for the region and less competitive the further its rating is below the regional average. The overall competitiveness of a company’s product offering in a region is a function of its combined competitive standing across all competitive factors. For example, a company can offset the adverse impact of an above-average price branded footwear by offering footwear with above-average styling/quality, above-average advertising, a wider selection of models/styles, and/or greater utilization of celebrity endorsements.
The greater the differences in the overall competitiveness of the product offerings of rival companies, the bigger the differences in their resulting sales volumes and market shares. Conversely, the smaller the overall competitive differences between rival companies, the smaller the differences in sales volumes and market shares. This algorithmic approach is what makes BSG a “competition-based” strategy simulation and accounts for why the sales and market share outcomes for each decision round are always unique to the particular strategies and decision combinations employed by each company.
Once branded sales volumes and market shares are awarded (based on the relative strength or weakness of each company’s competitive effort) and the outcomes of the private-label bidding are determined, then each company’s performance is calculated and all the various company and industry reports are generated.
The results of the decision round are available to class members and the instructor about 15-20 minutes after the deadline passes.
The scoring of each company’s performance is based on a balanced scorecard that includes brand image, earnings per share (EPS), return on average equity investment (ROE), stock price appreciation, and credit rating.

All cause-effect relationships and underlying algorithms in The Business Strategy Game are based on sound business and economic principles and are closely matched to the real-world athletic footwear market. The “real-world” character of the competitive environment and company operations built into The Business Strategy Game allows company co-managers to think rationally and logically as they go about the tasks of diagnosing the competitive moves of rival companies and deciding how to manage their athletic footwear company. The thesis is that the more BSG mirrors real-world market conditions and real-world managerial decision-making, the more pedagogical value it has. Why? Because tight linkages between the functioning of BSG and “the real world” provide class members with an authentic learning experience, a bona fide means of building their skills in analyzing markets and the actions of competitors, and a true-to-life way to practice making business-like decisions and applying the knowledge they have gained in business school.
Special Note: Because the unit sales/market share outcomes in BSG are 100% based on the overall competitiveness of each company’s product offering versus that of rivals, the pattern of company performances in the BSG simulation is always unique, governed solely by the combination of strategies and decision entries of the various rival companies across the various decision rounds. How well a company fares depends on not only on the astuteness/power (or lack thereof) of its own strategy and set of decision entries but also on the astuteness/power (or lack thereof) of the strategies and decision entries of rival companies. Sometimes an aggressive low-cost strategy will prove wildly successful (usually because no other rivals pursue the same strategy with equal astuteness); at other times, an aggressive low-cost strategy may be less successful (often because several other companies adopted much the same strategy, thus neutralizing the potential competitive advantage and benefits for any one company). What works well for one or two companies in a 10-company industry may work poorly if employed by 5 or 6 companies. Likewise, an astutely crafted low-cost provider strategy may overpower somewhat flawed high-end product differentiation strategies of rival companies but in another instance lose out to a rival company with a competitively potent high-end product differentiation strategy. The interplay among the strategies and decision sets of rival companies matters and this interplay varies from round to round within an industry as companies continually make adjustments in their strategies/decisions. And this interplay is never quite the same from one industry group to another industry group. This is precisely why there can be no magic bullet strategy or single combination of actions and decisions that is “guaranteed” to produce an industry-winning performance.
This leads to another crucial understanding: No two groups of competing companies (those in different “industries”—whether it be during the same academic term or across different academic terms or on different campuses) are ever likely to employ near-identical mixes of strategies and decisions with near-identical degrees of astuteness and market effectiveness (there are simply far too many variables and differences among class members for this to happen). Sometimes the best performing company wins with some variety of a low-cost provider strategy; sometimes the best company wins with a high-end product differentiation strategy; and sometimes use of a best-cost provider strategy results in an industry-leading performance. The fun for both students and instructors is that you can never be sure how any company’s strategy and decision sets will play out in a given class until it happens.
Conclusions: It is truly perilous (if not foolish) for team members to ignore or downplay the extent to which the actions and decisions of competitors affect the performance and competitive well-being of their own company. Long-time users of BSG have all heard stories about how the co-managers of some companies are prone to listen to and/or follow the advice they got from students in prior terms about what to do and not do to “win” or get a good grade. There are also instances where company managers scour the Internet and discover sites created by profit-seeking former players of BSG who will sell their advice and “secrets” for a price. Very often, the students of poorly-performing companies will complain to their instructors that the industry-leading companies are doing well only because of benefits gained from advice secured elsewhere (advice that they did not know about and that accounts for their weaker performance). But such complaints are flawed. In the first place, company performances in BSG are driven primarily by (1) the competition-based algorithms used to allocate sales volumes and market shares and (2) whether co-managers run their company in a cost-effective manner and are thus able to achieve attractive performance at the competitively-earned sales volumes and market shares. In the second place, the circulation of simplistic do-this-but-not-that rules on the part of people who have previously participated in the BSG exercise is really based on things all business students should know and not on things that are unique to running a BSG company. For instance, advice to retire shares of stock is not an earth-shattering revelation—real world companies do this all the time and the reasons are covered in basic finance courses taken by business students. Advice of this sort has little real value to most students and failure on the part of some students to know business basics is a very lame excuse for weak company performance. In short, we do not believe the generic advice available from Internet sources or prior players of BSG in any compromises the integrity of using BSG in your course.

On-Screen Support Calculations. Each time co-managers make a decision entry, an assortment of on-screen calculations instantly shows the projected effects on unit sales, revenues, market shares, total profit, earnings per share, ROE, unit costs, and other operating outcomes. All of these on-screen calculations help co-managers evaluate the relative merits of one decision entry versus another. Company managers can try out as many different decision combinations as they wish in stitching the separate decisions into a cohesive whole that is projected to produce good company performance.

All cause-effect relationships and underlying algorithms in The Business Strategy Game are based on sound business and economic principles and are closely matched to the real-world athletic footwear market. The “real-world” character of the competitive environment and company operations that have been designed into The Business Strategy Game allows company co-managers to think rationally and logically as they go about the tasks of diagnosing the competitive moves of rival companies and deciding how to manage their athletic footwear company. The thesis here is that the more BSG mirrors real-world market conditions and real-world managerial decision-making, the more pedagogical value it has. Why? Because tight linkages between the functioning of BSG and “the real world” provide class members with a valid learning experience, a valid means of building their skills in analyzing markets and the actions of competitors, and a valid way to practice making business-like decisions and applying the knowledge they have gained in business school.

Time Requirements for Class Members. Data from our servers indicates that company co-managers spend an average of about 2½ hours working on each decision round. The first couple of decision rounds take longer not only because co-managers have to explore the menus, familiarize themselves with the information on the screens, and absorb the relevance of the calculations shown whenever new decisions are entered but also because it takes time for them to establish a working relationship with one another and debate what sort of long-term direction and strategy to pursue.

The total workload ends up between 20 and 30 hours, given an average of 2½ hours per decision round, 9 to 12 decision rounds (including practice rounds), and the time needed to complete optional assignments (quizzes, strategic plans, company presentation, and peer evaluations),. As discussed earlier, you can offset the hours students spend on the simulation by trimming the number of case assignments, eliminating a written case assignment (which can take students 10-15 hours to prepare), and perhaps allocating one or more regularly-scheduled class periods to having class members meet in the computer lab to work on their decisions or do the 3-year strategic plan assignment.

It will consume part of a class period to introduce class members to the simulation and get things under way. Thereafter, the simulation becomes an out-of-class group exercise where co-managers spend most of their time working on a PC (in a lab or at a co-manager’s place of residence).

Special Business Strategy Game Features and Extras

A host of capabilities and convenient, time-saving features have been designed into the screens and menus to make The Business Strategy Game (BSG) both a breeze to use for both students and instructors, and readily customizable to your requirements and preferences:

  • There is a 17:17-minute video overview that introduces class members to the simulation, takes them of a tour of the website menus and accompanying screens, and helps get them off to a successful start. There is also a 16:24-minute orientation video for instructors.
  • Instructors who are considering use of BSG can attend any of the 15 or so author-conducted webinar/demos scheduled throughout each year—the demos run 60 to 75-minutes and allow ample time for Q&A.
  • In the course of running their company (making decision entries and viewing reports), class members have one-click access to 2-5 minute video tutorials for each decision entry screen and each page of all reports. In addition, they have one-click access to “Help” sections containing detailed explanations of (a) the information on each decision entry screen and all relevant cause-effect relationships, (b) the information on each page of the Industry Reports, and (c) the numbers presented in the Company Reports. The Help pages for each decision entry screen also contain tips and suggestions for making wise decision entries. The video tutorials and full-blown Help page discussions allow company co-managers to figure things out for themselves, thereby relieving instructors of having to answer questions about “how things work”.
  • It is quick and easy to set up the BSG simulation for your course. The Course Setup Procedure is done online and takes about 15 or so minutes. There is a 4-page Getting Started Guide for first-time adopters that guides you through the steps to set up the simulation for your course, describes the administrative tasks, explains the scoring, and provides suggestions for using the simulation effectively. If and when you need more details about some aspect of the simulation, this 40-page Instructor’s Guide provides comprehensive explanations and guidance. Once the straight-forward Course Setup Procedure is completed, no other administrative actions on your part are required beyond that of moving participants to a different team (should the need arise), keeping tabs on the outcomes of the decision rounds and how well the companies are doing (to whatever extent desired), setting the grading weights for various simulation-related assignments, and using the automatically calculated numerical averages to determine the overall grades to assign class members on the simulation exercise.
  • An online Instructor Center serves as your hub for conducting all administrative activities and monitoring the results of the company decisions. The Instructor Center is the screen you are sent to when you enter your user name and password to log-in. Every function and feature that you need for using the simulation in your course is on the Instructor Center page or accessible from it. Online grade books provide you with scores indicating each company’s and each participant’s performance on each phase of the simulation. Once you enter percentage weights for each performance measure, scores are automatically calculated (which you can scale or not as you see fit).
  • There are no cumbersome software downloads or program installations necessary. Both participants and instructors conduct all activities at www.bsg-online.com. All materials are delivered digitally via the Internet to class members and instructors.
    • Students gain full access to everything needed during the course of the simulation, including the Player’s Guide, immediately upon registering—students can read the Guide and other accompanying content online or print the materials, as they prefer.
    • Likewise, instructors gain full access to all materials online through the BSG website immediately upon creating an Instructor Account at the website home-page.
  • Class members and instructors have anywhere, anytime access to www.bsg-online.com on any desktop or laptop computer connected to the Internet and equipped with web browser software (such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari). The BSG simulation author team has just completed a major project to deliver the student and instructor report interface in HTML5 that enables automatic sizing of screens for all brands of desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, speeds up page-to-page navigation and printing, and eliminates the previous need for a Flash Player plug-in. Making the BSG software work seamlessly on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones without any need for supporting apps or software downloads (other than a web browser) is a major leap forward. This new HTML5 version went live in August 2014 and is currently up and running for all new BSG simulations. As long as site users have a live internet connection, they will have 24/7/365 access to the BSG web site.
  • Co-managers of a company (team members) who are logged-on simultaneously can use the built-in Collaboration Mode and Audio Mode capabilities, as well as on-screen messaging, to collaborate when working online at the same time from different locations.
    • When in “Collaboration Mode,” each team member works from the same screen at the same time as all other team members who are logged-in and have joined Collaboration Mode. If one team member chooses to view a particular decision screen, that same screen appears on the monitors for all team members engaged in collaboration.
    • Each team member controls a color-coded mouse pointer (with their first-name appearing in a color-coded box linked to their mouse pointer) and can make a decision entry or move the mouse to point to particular on-screen items.
    • When a decision entry is changed made by one team member the change is seen by all, in real time, and all team members will immediately see the shared-screen calculations that result from the new decision entry.
    • If one team member wishes to view a report page and clicks on the menu link to the desired report, that same report page will immediately appear for the other team members engaged in collaboration.
    • Use of Audio Mode capability requires that each team member work from a computer with a built-in microphone (if they want to be heard by the rest of the team) and speakers (so that they may hear their teammates) or else have a headset with a microphone. A headset is recommended for best results, but most laptops now are equipped with a built-in microphone and speakers that will support use of the voice-chat capability.
    • Instructors have built-in capability to join the online meetings of any company directly through the instructor account. Instructors who wish not only to talk but also enter Collaboration (highly recommended because all attendees are then viewing the same screen) have a red-colored mouse pointer linked to a red box labeled Instructor. The ability of instructors and company co-managers to have an online meeting at a mutually agreeable time is often more convenient than scheduling face-to-face meetings during an instructor’s office hours.
  • The built-in Collaboration and Audio Mode features make the simulations highly suitable for use in distance-learning or online courses (and are currently being used in many such courses).
  • The deadlines for each decision round and other related assignments are set and totally controlled by the instructor (and can be changed at any time for any reason). Decision rounds can be scheduled once per week, twice per week, daily, or even twice daily, depending on how you want to conduct the exercise.
  • Sample course outlines for integrating BSG into your strategy course are provided online at the simulation Web site. There are sample outlines for semester-long courses, 10-week or quarter-long courses and 5-week courses; each course outline consists of suggested activities and assignments for each and every class meeting.
  • The management teams for each company can range from 1 to 5 co-managers, and the number of companies competing head-to-head in a single simulation group or “industry” ranges from 4 to 12. If you have a large class and need more than 12 companies, the Course Setup procedure makes it simple to create two or more industries for your class. In a small class, there can be no fewer than 4 company teams—two-person teams will work just fine. (For classes with fewer than 8 students, please call us at 205-722-9149 or e-mail athompso@cba.ua.edu to discuss how best to proceed.)
  • The entries that co-managers make each decision round are saved directly to the BSG server. When the deadline passes, the decision entries of all companies are then “processed” automatically. Complete results are available to company co-managers and the instructor 15-20 minutes after the scheduled deadline.
  • Participants and instructors are notified via e-mail when the decision outcomes are ready. Company co-managers learn the details of “what happened” in a 7-page Footwear Industry Report, a 1-page Competitive Intelligence report for each geographic region that includes strategic group maps and bulleted lists of competitive strengths and weaknesses, and a 5-page set of Company Reports (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and assorted sales, cost, and operating statistics).
  • A “scoreboard of company performance” incorporates two performance measures: (1) how well each company meets “investor expectations” on earnings per share, return on shareholders’ equity (ROE), stock price appreciation, credit rating, and image rating and (2) how well each company stacks up against the “best-in-industry performer” on each of these same 5 measures.
  • You have the option to assign two “open-book” multiple choice quizzes each consisting of 20 questions. Quiz 1 covers the contents of the Participant’s Guide. Quiz 2 checks understanding of key aspects of company operations and student command of ways to improve company performance. The self-scoring quizzes are taken online by each student individually, with scores reported instantaneously to participants and recorded in your online grade book.
  • There is a built-in 3-year strategic plan feature that entails having each company’s management team (1) articulate a strategic vision for their company (in a few sentences), (2) set performance targets for EPS, ROE, stock price appreciation, credit rating, and image rating for each of the next three years, (3) state the competitive strategy the company will pursue, (4) cite data showing that the chosen strategy either is currently on track or requires further managerial actions, and (5) develop a projected income statement for the each of the next three years based upon expected unit sales, revenues, costs, and profits. Each company’s strategic plan is automatically graded on a scale of 1 to 100, with points being earned for meeting or beating the performance targets that were established. The scores are recorded in your online grade book automatically. Assigning completion of 3-year strategic plans is entirely optional—you can have company managers complete no plan, 1 plan, or 2 plans.
  • At the conclusion of the simulation, you have the option to have each company management team prepare a slide presentation reviewing their digital camera company’s performance and strategy. A Company Presentation link in each co-manager’s Corporate Lobby provides explicit slide-by slide suggestions of what to cover in the presentation. Company co-managers may easily download and insert bar charts showing their company’s revenues, earnings per share, ROE, stock price, credit rating and image rating during the course of the simulation.
  • There is a comprehensive 12-question peer evaluation form that co-managers can complete to help you gauge the caliber of effort each co-manager has put into the exercise. Peer evaluations are automatically scored on a scale of 1 to 100, and the scores are recorded in your online grade book.
  • There is an Activity Log that provides an informative summary of each co-manager’s use of various parts of the website—the frequency and length of log-ons, how many times decision entries were saved to the server each decision round, and how many times each set of reports was viewed each decision round. The combined information from the two quizzes, peer evaluations, and activity logs provide good evidence about whether a co-manager was a strong or weak contributor.
  • An end-of-simulation Learning Assurance Report (LAR) provides you with solid empirical data concerning how well your students performed versus students playing the simulation at all schools/campuses worldwide over the past 12 months. The report measures 9 areas of student proficiency, business know-how, and decision-making skill, and provides potent benchmark evidence valid for gauging the extent to which your school’s academic curriculum is delivering the desired degree of student learning as concerns accreditation standards. The LAR is useful in two very important respects. One, it provides you with a clear overview of how well your students rank relative to students at other schools worldwide who have gone through this same competition-based simulation exercise over the past 12 months. Two, because the report provides highly credible evidence regarding the caliber of business proficiency and decision-making prowess of your students, it can be used to help assess whether your school’s academic curriculum in business is providing students with the desired degree of business understanding and decision-making acumen. Professors, department chairs, and deans at many business schools worldwide are engaged in developing ongoing evidence of whether their academic programs meet the Assurance of Learning Standards now being applied by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); a prime goal of this Learning Assurance Report is to contribute significantly to this effort.

    Beginning Spring 2015, a second Learning Assurance Report is also available. This new Learning Assurance Report is based on each student’s responses to 40 multiple-choice questions covering many strategy-related aspects of the simulation; class members should be able to answer these questions based on their experiences, understanding, and familiarity with operating their BSG company and with using the information in the reports they receive about the results of each decision round. This second LAR shows not only each class member’s score on the 40-question test (out of a possible 100 points) but also their percentile ranking vis-à-vis all other students worldwide who took this test in the past 12 months. The primary purpose of this second LAR is to provide further empirical evidence of compliance with AACSB standards, but it also can be used to measure what individual students have learned from the simulation and count as part of their overall grade on the simulation exercise—the other LAR is based on a combination of team performance and individual performance.

  • There is a weekly ranking of the best-performing companies worldwide posted on the homepage—all co-managers and instructors whose companies appear in the rankings are automatically notified by e-mail. You can browse through the latest rankings by clicking on the icon in the center of the homepage.
  • The co-managers of the overall best-performing company in your class can be automatically e-mailed an “Industry Champion” certificate suitable for framing when the simulation ends. This certificate serves to document an award or achievement they can put on their résumés.
  • Each industry-winning company playing BSG across the world is invited to participate in the “Best Strategy Invitational.” The BSI is held three times annually—in May, August, and December. Those teams that accept the invitation are divided into industries of 11-12 companies and compete for a period of 10 decision rounds for “Global Industry Championships.” All participants who complete the competition receive frame-able certificates, and the industry winners get a “Grand Champion” certificate. Receipt of these certificates also merits a line on a student’s résumé.

Comprehensive question-answering and problem-solving is provided to all adopters by co-authors Greg Stappenbeck and Art Thompson—just use the tech support link in the Instructor Center to e-mail us or call us.