Cesim Simulations Corporate Success Stories

More than 500,000 people from various cultures and backgrounds around the world have used Cesim Business Simulation Games to increase the collaboration and knowledge retention among colleagues. Join other leading corporates in combining theory with practice, and transform your programs into engaging team exercises.


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The Need

At Midland States Bank, we strive to give our high-potential employees the tools they need to tackle various challenges they might face as they advance their career at a growing company. As part of our high potential one-year program, we chose business simulations to augment our project management and general business acumen curriculum.

The role of Cesim Project and Cesim Bank

Cesim was selected to deliver two business simulations which would bridge the gap between our classroom-based training programs and the real world.

After a project management seminar, participants are placed on teams as project managers to complete a virtual program. Each team seeks to complete an identical project utilizing less budget, less time, and with a higher level of quality than the competition. At the completion of the simulations, teams present their takeaways from the simulation and discuss applying the learning to their current and future roles.

For the business acumen portion of the program, participants run simulated banks over several virtual years. Each team competes for the same financial metrics as real businesses. This exercise takes lots of participants out of their comfort zones. The program stretches their creativity and critical thinking skills to manage products, make decisions about the direction of their virtual banking entities and analyze environmental contexts to ensure long term success.

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Cristina Ciorna

We are in the second year incorporating the simulations in our high potentials program. We use both the project management and the banking virtual sims. Our groups enjoy the hands-on, non-threatening yet challenging learning experience. Each year we enhance the program based on participants’ feedback; Cesim modified the sim and incorporated Midland States Bank’s project management templates and other real-world tools to increase the relevancy and give our participants real experience with our processes. Jason guides the participants with the right amount of instruction through regular meetings and market reports. The participants learn for themselves and have support if they go off track. We appreciate Cesim as a partner to develop the bench strength of our company through virtual, thought provoking and applicable activities that they can support. We look forward to continuing to increase the abilities of our learners with Cesim as our partner.”

Cristina Ciorna
Learning and Development Director

The Outcome of the Training

Participant feedback for this program is very positive. The consensus is that the project management simulation approach reinforces the learning of the accompanying seminar. In addition, participants are much more comfortable with their understanding of bank operations and the way decisions are made in the banking industry.

Midland States Bank


Midland States Bancorp, Inc. is a community-based financial holding company headquartered in Effingham, Illinois, and is the sole shareholder of Midland States Bank. As of June 30, 2018, the Company had total assets of approximately $5.7 billion and its Wealth Management Group had assets under administration of approximately $3.2 billion. Midland provides a full range of commercial and consumer banking products and services, business equipment financing, merchant credit card services, trust and investment management, and insurance and financial planning services. In addition, multi-family and healthcare facility FHA financing is provided through Love Funding, Midland’s non-bank subsidiary.

The Need

While CapFed values its 120-year history of service to customer and the community, we strive to stay current by using today’s most advanced techniques and services. As part of this ongoing effort, select high-potential employees can be part of a thorough training program to ensure our ability to provide our customers with world class banking services while retaining the family-like feeling.

The role of Cesim Bank

To bridge the gap between classroom and on the job learning, Cesim was selected to deliver a business simulation which put these participants in the roles of managing virtual banks. The sim captured the vital decision making and inflection points of running a bank year over year.

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"Cesim exceeded our expectations. They delivered an engaging and educational three-day ‘how banks make money’ program. We were pleased with the simulation: from the design to the browser-based delivery. While we used it in an in-venue format, the browser-based delivery worked well “out of the box” with our existing technology and was easy to use. Cesim was very responsive – quick to answer questions and tailor the sim to be closely aligned with our business model. If you are seeking engaging and effective training, I recommend contacting Cesim to put together a custom business simulation program for your business."

Paul Jeanis
Director of Training

The Outcome of the Training

While all participants had basic understanding of bank operations and how different pieces synched together, the simulation program filled in details and gaps in the participants’ knowledge base. Throughout the course of the virtual years of simulated bank operations, it was clear to see the participants ‘getting it’, as key ratios and performance metrics such as net interest margin, efficiency and return on assets improved for their respective simulated businesses overtime. The triumph of the program came at the conclusion when each team was able to accurately predict the key metrics of their operations and explain the reasons behind the numbers – demonstrating the program had delivered the desired learning.

Capitol Federal Bank logo


Capitol Federal Savings Bank is a federally chartered and insured savings bank founded in 1893 and is headquartered in Topeka, Kansas. Capitol Federal currently has 37 branch locations and 10 in-store branches, serving primarily the metropolitan areas of Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence, Manhattan, Emporia and Salina, Kansas and both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. CapFed has $9.4 billion in assets. (Source: CapFed Website)


"We chose Cesim Bank, because we wanted to give our graduates a chance to see what it’s like to run a bank, to demonstrate how complex running a bank is and the different aspects they need to think about and how they integrate. We wanted them to see how by pulling one lever and making a decision in one area of the bank, it could affect multiple different areas that they may not have originally thought of. The way we ran the programme was to begin with an initial practice round so the graduates got a feel for how the simulation works. We kept the simulation nice and simple, effectively just a retail and commercial bank operation. Once they got the hang of the mechanics of the tool we ran a live scenario over eight periods to let them experience what it would be like to go through both a crisis, and coming out of that crisis. So they got the good times and the bad times, to see how different decisions can affect those in different ways."

Simon Wilson
Risk Advisory Partner

Quotes from graduate recruits:
  • Athan Moulas: "It was really fun. We ran the simulation during the last three days of the training in the graduate scheme, and we were using and applying all the knowledge we took from the graduate scheme in terms of risk management, financial statements and compliance.
    No matter how good your results are, you have to look to the other teams and compare. We realized during the simulation that it’s so complex to run a bank. Every decision made affects something you don’t expect. Everything is interconnected, it’s interlinked, and you have to find a way to generate greater returns for the shareholders.
    My team simply tried to generate the greatest amount of shareholder return. And we won!"
  • Katherine Moore: "My teammate and I sometimes had different ideas about what we wanted to do. We needed to analyse what other teams were doing, agree on our own strategy and also coordinate the front and back offices of the bank. Because we had no idea what the other teams were going to do, it was interesting to see how our decisions compared afterwards. Our strategy was to create a sustainable business model.
    The simulation gives a really good overview of the various products offered by a bank. It has a lot of detail about what certain products are and how banks run. The different departments such as marketing, finance, HR and so on. And because it’s all done in a fun way it’s something you really remember, rather than when just reading a book. It gave us a really good foundation, and because it was fun we really engaged with it."
The Outcome of the Training

"The key learning the grads get from the simulation is the level of complexity. We’re a risk and regulatory focused consultancy, so we want them to understand how their decisions affect capital, how they affect risk, how they affect the make-up of their portfolio, and how the competition from other virtual banks affects their own performance. This is not something they’re doing in isolation, there is that element of competition that means their decisions may not bring them the outcome they originally expected.

All the graduates came back with the comment I expected, which is that banking and actually running a bank is an incredibly complex business! It’s not quite as simple as ‘pull this lever and this happens’. They learned you have to juggle so many things, such as your balance sheet and profit and loss plus your operations. With the simulation you learn and develop by iteration, and understand that every area of the bank is complex. It really gives them a feel for what it’s like to be running such a large organization."



Parker Fitzgerald is a specialist consultancy focusing in risk and regulation. They have offices across the globe and run their graduate development programme from their London office.

The Role of Cesim Connect

During the telecom simulation, teams manage the strategy and decisions for their full-service telecom operators. All teams start from the same position and they compete against each other for market-share and profits. Participants manage consumer mobile, fixed broadband, entertainment services, distribution channels, corporate solutions, network investments, and finance decisions. During the telecom operator management simulation rounds, they are faced with changing customer preferences, technological evolution, different economic conditions, and of course unanticipated competitor maneuvers.


"One of the key goals of our Young Potential Development Programme is to provide the participants with a holistic idea about the telecom operator business. In addition, the programme develops the participants’ intercultural and team-work skills. Cesim simulation is a great tool for delivering the holistic picture and it also gives the participants the opportunity to put in practice the team-work and intercultural skills that they learn during the programme. The simulation operates fully online so our participants can fit the simulation rounds to their individual schedules and collaborate virtually during the programme."

Ulrike Oswald
Programme Manager

The Outcome of the Training

Watch the video below for more participant impressions of the programme:

Telekom Austria Group logo


Telekom Austria Group, is the leading communications provider in Central and Eastern Europe with almost 23 million customers across its markets of operations. The Group has roughly 16,000 employees as of April, 2015 and revenues were roughly EUR 4 billion as of year-end 2014. Telekom Austria Group's portfolio encompasses products and services of voice telephony, broadband Internet, multimedia services, data and IT solutions, wholesale as well as payment solutions.

Telekom Austria runs an annual nomination-based programme for its young potentials. The programme consists of three face-to-face modules and a telecom business simulation game that runs alongside the programme from December until April with biweekly decision-making rounds. The simulation culminates at the final day of the programme when teams pitch their experience to the group CFO.

Customer Need

Peikko organizes an annual meeting for its global management teams and this year Peikko’s CEO Topi Paananen wanted to engage his management with a business simulation that would illustrate Peikko’s challenges in a fun and effective way within a day-and-a-half time span.

Cesim Use

The process started with a meeting between Topi Paananen and Cesim’s team where the initial idea for the Peikko case was established. Cesim’s general management simulation Firm was used as a base for Peikko’s adapted version due to its versatility and modifiability. Later, Topi and his CFO Jukka Turva wrote the case description for Beicco Ltd, a fictitious company that resembles Peikko Group’s current operating environment and challenges and allows the participants to operate the simulation in a suitably realistic content. Read about Topi’s and Jukka’s brainchild here. After the case was designed, Cesim implemented the case and parameters into the actual simulation.


A total of 55 participants were split into 10 teams who each got to be the management team of Beicco Ltd. All teams were put into the same starting position so that the performance between teams could be easily compared. Before getting together for the annual meeting, participants received a video introduction to the simulation that helped them to orientate for the task in advance. During the annual meeting, the teams maneuvered their virtual companies for five rounds through swings in customer demand and raw-material costs, fluctuating FX rates, and emerging geopolitical factors.

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Topi Paananen sqr

"I have known business simulations since I was a student at a business school and feel that they are a great way to practice business decision-making without the risk of losing real money. Peikko Group has grown rapidly over the past 10 years and recently we have shifted increasing focus on profitability. I wanted my management to experience the main internal and external profitability drivers and challenges from the holistic point of view. Cesim’s solution offered me the opportunity to implement a case and a storyline that captured relevant aspects in a dynamic, competitive, and fun environment."

Topi Paananen
Peikko Group, CEO

Peikko Group logo


Peikko GroupPeikko Group Corporation is a Finnish leading global supplier of concrete connections and composite structures. Peikko is a family-owned and run company with over 1200 professionals. Peikko was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Lahti, Finland. Peikko has subsidiaries in 30 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North America, with manufacturing operations in 9 countries.

Customer Need

Terrena's goal is to improve its cash flow in order to finance its growth and external development. This is an objective that all of the company’s employees need to understand and be involved in, including HR managers and the way they handle their daily activities.

The Objective(s) of the Training
  • Mainly to allow the Human Resources Managers to participate in the financial discussions during Managing and Committee Boards
  • Develop their understanding of the main financial tools
  • Understand the outcome of their decisions on the cash flow of the company
The Role of Cesim Firm in Meeting the Objectives

After a day and a half of teaching financial concepts, Cesim Firm allowed the participants to put what they had learned in practice. The use of the general business management simulation game was mainly oriented toward financial and cash results generated by their operational decisions.


"To be honest, they (participants) are often reticent, they think 'I'll never be able to do this'. But when we start using games and simulate real-life situations, they feel more at ease. I help them, give them advice, so that when they understand how it works, they want to work longer hours because they are caught up in the game. That's what learning is all about and know-how is vitally important."

"Simulation makes things much more tangible. We repeat a certain number of concepts, we set the stage, and then ask them to use those concepts. They have all the tools they need. We explain what cash flow is about and then we let them get on with it. They have to manage a company with a certain number of objectives in terms of cash flow. So they are put in a real-life situation and have to apply what they've learnt over the previous two days. Doing is an excellent way of learning and that's what they like about it."

Marie-Pierre Guillaume
Professor and Coach

Experience summary from the participants
  • Jean-Pierre Robbe: "It's very interesting for an HRM to know more about financial issues. What I found particularly interesting, because we don't work with data, is that financial decisions are taken in relation to a strategy. And that's not mathematical at all."
  • Céline Raimbeault: "The training is really interesting for us because we don't deal with financial data. Now we can read a profit and loss account and a balance sheet. We can discuss with our colleagues all about management control and accounting more easily"
    "We have a real role to play in what the company achieves."
  • Emmanuella Bricaud: "It's clear that tomorrow if we're asked what we learnt in the seminar, we'll have to talk facts and figures. As HRM, we didn't see their impact before. Now we can go and say to the HRD, 'What's the strategy?', 'What's the budget?', 'How do you want us to decrease costs?



Terrena group is a French food conglomerate, established in 2004 from the merger of Cana, Caval and CGA, and members of the group of cooperatives Invivo. With a turnover of €4.4 billion, 22,000 farmers and 12,046 employees, Terrena is one of the major players in the agriculture industry in France.

Project Goal

To develop a shared mindset among hotel managers and improve their ability to translate group-wide strategy into action.


Cesim delivered a customized hospitality simulation in English, Spanish, French and Italian. It also conducted train-the-trainer workshops for the client’s internal trainers, who then delivered the training for a total of 400 managers globally.

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NH Hoteles logo


NH Hotels is one of the main hotel chains in Europe and it operates 400 hotels across Europe, America, and Africa

Project Goal

To help cultivate fact-based management culture, develop analytical skills, and create awareness about the current banking operating environment.


Cesim designed a customized bank simulation game with the involvement of Intesa SanPaolo.

Intesa Sanpaolo logo



Intesa SanPaolo is the leading bank in Italy and among the top banking groups in Europe with approximately 7000 branches in its network.

Project Goal

To develop business-acumen, cost-consciousness, and financial literacy amongst employees.


Cesim delivered a customized telecom operator simulation game in Italian and English and conducted workshops for approximately 2000 employees.

Vodafone logo


Vodefone Italy is a leading operator in Italy with 8000 employees and 30 million customers.

Cesim Lithuania successfully conducted a challenging half a year long project. The beginning was in spring 2013, when our client in Russia, Home Credit Bank launched a company wide initiative – a training program, called “Academy Of Regional Directors” for more than 100 its top executives.

The main aim of the program was to enhance business planning, strategy execution and deepen business acumen.

Cesim Lithuania took the challenge and prepared a first module in this academy, focused on Finance and Banking business acumen. At the core of the program, we adopted Cesim Bank, our latest banking business simulation. Highly experienced participants took part in the 3 days training program, where they could experience cause and effect of real life decisions without a financial risk. Combining practice in the banking simulation with real life case analysis and discussions gave synergies to training experience. Participants highlighted the effectiveness of this type of training, with a lot of practice and learning skills.

This cooperation with one of the leading banks in Russia not only proves that Cesim can meet the highest standards in the business training industry, but also helps us to develop a best in-class product, which we can tailor to suit our customers' needs.



Home Credit and Finance Bank (“HCFB”) with more than 30000 employees is the only pure retail player in Russia and the undisputed leader in POS finance with 24% market share*(as of 31 December 2011). HCFB offers consumer loans through points of sales outlets as well as providing lending and other retail banking products through its own branches.


One of the key challenges facing a multinational manufacturing company like Huhtamaki is the intra-company cooperation, i.e., the ability to fully utilise the company resources and opportunities across the geographical borders. In practice it is often difficult to act according to what is best for the whole group when the responsibility for the manager’s own P&L is much more tangible. Huhtamaki’s International Leadership Program (ILP) is designed to overcome some of these barriers. Through demonstrating the group-level perspective and giving the participants opportunities to network with their colleagues globally ILP not only gives practical tools for managing the business units, but also develops future executives. The program has been implemented 11 times and more than 200 senior managers have completed the program.

Cesim Use

Cesim designed and developed a customized simulation that lets the participants experience the decision-making challenges both on the SBU-level and on the corporate level. During the simulation, managers are faced with the sometimes conflicting task of managing their business unit P&L and at the same time aiming for the most optimal corporate level operations and sales portfolio.

This business simulation workshop is currently used at one of the modules in Huhtamaki's ILP program and at other selected management training initiatives as a 1,5 day intensive course. Cesim provides the whole package of services, including simulation, training facilitation, and training equipment.

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"ILP is a very important and highly visible development program inside our group. Participants are experienced senior managers from all over the world who expect 150% return on their time. With pleasure, I can state that Cesim has met our high expectations throughout the cooperation by continuously delivering excellent service and demonstrating strong commitment to our specific needs.”

Hannele Salminen
Group Vice President, Human Resources

Participants Comments
  • "Useful and exciting way of simulating business environment. Tailored business simulation program reflected well our business and I found it also useful training for my daily work.”
  • "This was the best business simulation game I have participated in, and am looking forward to using it in the States.”
  • "We need to distribute this training tool widely in the business. I am going to see if we can get our group a session this fall.”
  • "This was an excellent module for our group. It represents clearly what we are challenged with today. In my opinion, this is something that should be driven outside of ILP as well.”

Written in co-operation with Huhtamäki Oyj



Huhtamaki is one of the world’s largest packaging companies and one of the few truly global players. Their focus and expertise is in paper, plastic, films and molded fiber. The company offers products from stock, custom designs as well as total packaging systems and solutions. Huhtamaki has operations in 36 countries, over 15,000 employees and net sales exceeding. 2,1 billion. The parent company, Huhtamäki Oyj, is incorporated in Finland, with a listing on the Helsinki Exchanges since 1961.


From the financial point of view, the near-term objective of YLE is to turn the operating cash flow from negative to positive. However, in the process, the main purpose of the company public remit-cannot be sacrificed.

The understanding of the situation as well as tools for managing the situation needed to be delivered to the senior and middle management at a fast pace. The task was particularly interesting because many of the key people have a background in the creative side of the operations.

Cesim Use

Cesim designed and developed a public broadcasting services simulation to be first used as part of YLE’s strategic seminars for top and senior managers. Later, the solution was also expanded to middle managers and producers.

A crucial factor in being able to deliver the results was that participants needed to understand the relationships between programming, production, purchases, and resource management. Only this would lead to more efficient coordination of functions and finally to best practices mode of operations.

In the public broadcasting simulation, the main objectives are to obtain a large share of audience, high programme quality and audience satisfaction, and moreover to offer sufficient genre coverage for different audiences. Fulfilling the objectives under the financial limitations is challenging and requires profound thinking of the whole business process.

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"During my career, I have participated in different business simulations in Oxford, BBC, and other. The pinnacle of all has been Cesim’s tailor-made business simulation for YLE. It is well-fitted to our current situation at YLE and it gives great opportunities to develop team-work."

Juhani Wiio
Head of Corporate Development, YLE
Chairman of the Training Steering Committee
European Broadcasting Union

Participants Comments
  • "Cesim simulation gave me a new angle for the television program planning from the financial point of view and it encouraged me to look deeper into financial decision making.”
  • "The Cesim public broadcasting game gave me practical examples how all different functions are connected to each other and how they reflect immediately to our company’s cost structure. "
  • "Cesim simulation training was fun and it clarified, quite deliberately, how economic factors influences everyday operations in the company.”
Written in co-operation with YLE




YLE is Finland's national public service broadcasting company. YLE operates five national television channels and thirteen radio channels and services complemented by 25 regional radio programmes.

In 2003, YLE's share of daily television viewing was 44% and YLE's share of daily radio listening was 51%. YLE's operations are financed mainly by television fee (EUR 186.60 per year), and programming carries no advertising. The company is 99.9% state-owned and supervised by an Administrative Council appointed by the Finnish Parliament, and operates under the Act on Yleisradio Oy.

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