The Business Simulation Blog

Active Learning with Business Simulations in Higher Education

Posted by Zsuzsa Jakab on Tuesday, October 02, 2012 | Reading time: 5 min.

Cesim Business Simulations Marketing SimulationHave you ever tried explaining complex business theories to your students? If so, you'll know that it's difficult because many of the real life nuances of business decision making get lost in the process. So what do you do? Many people have found success by using active learning tools like business simulations. However, there are a few things you should know before you buy and implement business strategy games to ensure that its a roaring success in your class. This post will tell you three things: (1) what are business simulations, (2) what you need to know to make sure you select the right solution that will let you successfully illuminate various business concepts to your students, and (3) what are some business simulations for specific disciplines that you can use.


1. What are business simulations?

Business simulations are active learning tools devised to create a controlled and risk-free economic environment in which participants can practice strategic business decision-making. As a consequence of the business games, students will understand the impact of their actions and the interconnectedness of various functional areas within a company. 

Increasingly, business simulators come in an accessible browser-based form that makes them easy to incorporate into either a blended or completely online learning format. 


2. How to select the right learning tool for your course?

If you're looking to introduce business management simulation games into your course, the best method to ensure you end up with something that lets you facilitate without a hitch is by looking for these qualities:


  • Make sure your chosen tool is completely browser-based. If it isn't, you'll have trouble running it effortlessly in some formats that incorporate online distant learning.
  • Ensure your simulation has a comprehensive student guide so you can concentrate on educating instead of explaining the rules of the business game.
  • Any good business management games should let you set the course schedule and share additional learning materials with your students. This is important because it provides the flexibility to tailor the business strategy game to your exact needs.
  • More specifically, the business simulator should reflect the concepts and theories you'd like to give a practical expression to in your course.
  • Finally, it is important to confirm that the business simulation generates accurate and detailed results, so you can grade your students based on a variety of factors if you wish.


While not necessary, some great bonus features of a great business simulation are scalability, customizability, and compatibility.


3. What are some business simulations for certain disciplines?

The rapid development of education technology coupled with the increase in need for more and more sophisticated learning tools led to the proliferation of business management games as well. Now there are models for a great number of business disciplines, including international business and strategy, marketing, supply chain management, hospitality management, and more.

Below are a selection of them from Cesim Simulations, that have been used by over 300 higher education institutions worldwide:


International business and global strategy simulation gameManagement and Strategy Simulation Game

Cesim Global Challenge has been designed to improve student understanding of the complexity of global business operations in a dynamic, competitive environment. It's used in strategy and international business courses at graduate and advanced undergraduate levels, executive MBA programs and capstone courses.

Key learning areas: Technology-based product road maps and global market and production strategies. A range of concepts from various management-related disciplines: economic, political, financial, human resources, accounting, procurement, production, logistics, research and innovation, and marketing.


Small service business simulation gameSmall Business Simulation Game

Cesim OnService small business game is designed to teach all essential elements of running a small services business. It's used in entrepreneurship courses at various levels, college preparedness courses, undergraduate courses focused on core business processes, advanced business courses at the secondary education level.

Key learning areas: Management of the overall operating, market, and financial performance, with human resources management, capacity management, investments, service quality, pricing, and marketing as the key decision making areas.


Marketing management strategy simulation gameMarketing Simulation Game

Cesim SimBrand marketing management game develops student understanding and command of the whole marketing decision making process. It's used in marketing management courses at any level.

Key learning areas: The marketing management simulation covers marketing topics including segmentation, positioning, distribution channel investments, advertising budget allocation, after sales services, pricing, sales forecasting, marketing research, competitor analysis, research and development, and profitability.


Hotel and restaurant management simulation gameHospitality Management Simulation

Cesim Hospitality simulation game is an interactive restaurant and hotel simulation which focuses on running a hotel and a hotel restaurant. It's used in business and management courses at undergraduate and graduate levels in hospitality and tourism programs.

Key learning areas: Hotel management related functions; revenue management, sales promotion, menu engineering, housekeeping, staff management and procurement. Big picture understanding of the linkages between different functions and their impact on the bottom line.



Now that you know what business simulations are and how to choose the right one for your course, you're ready to get started with them instead of worrying about how to shake things up in the classroom.


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Tags: Educator 2.0, What are business simulations?

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