The Business Simulation Blog

4 Ways Business Simulations Can Improve Student Engagement

Posted by Zsuzsa Jakab on Monday, August 24, 2015 | Reading time: 3 min.

Student engagement is a hot topic in education today, and for a good reason. With a multitude of distractions available to learners at any given time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make your course material both relatable and memorable over the long term. 

Business simulations can help you overcome this barrier by adding a hands-on learning element to your course that connects the dots between theory and practice.

How business simulations improve student engagement

Below are four ways in which business simulations can improve student engagement:

1. Role play

Management teams consist of people with a diverse set of skills and responsibilities. While it might be possible for department heads to have a say in the workings of other functional areas of the organization, they primarily oversee one particular business function only. In order to re-create the feeling of a real management team and instill a sense of ownership over certain decisions, you can encourage students to take on specific roles within the fictional companies present in the game. These can vary from simulation to simulation, but some examples might be that of a CEO, CMO, CFO, COO and so forth. Switching roles between rounds can ensure that students experience a variety of perspectives throughout the game.

2. Business plan

The long term success of any company is heavily dependent on the amount of time managers invest in developing a solid business strategy. To illustrate the importance of proper planning, you can ask your students to write a business plan complete with an executive summary, marketing strategy, operations/logistics, financial projections and anything else you'd like to include depending on the business management simulation and the focus of the course. 

One of the most common mistakes managers make is to spend a lot of time carefully crafting a document that ultimately ends up at the bottom of their drawers. This is regrettable, because a well thought out business plan can be the difference between getting an investment, becoming profitable or being able to respond to and predict changes in the market place ahead of time. 

Because a good business plan should function as a constantly evolving blueprint, prompt your students to review their strategies between rounds and make updates when necessary. At the end of the business simulation game, they'll learn a great deal about how to plan flexibly and iterate as market forces change. 

3. Competition

Competition is at the heart of a business management simulation game, and as such, it mimics the realities of a free market economy. Providing superior products/ services and seeing one's business gaining market share from other companies can be an exhilarating experience, and it is often a cause of pride for high performing student teams.

But while competition is an inherently exciting part of business games, by focusing on how well the students have understood the concepts when applied in a simulated business environment, you can ensure that in-game performance won't overshadow the importance of what was learned in the process. 

4. Case studies

Do you find a particular company's case inspiration and a good example for some of the concepts you'd like to illustrate in your course? With the Cesim case manager, you have the freedom to re-create a market scenario and add your own story within the context of the simulation. This allows you to make your course material even more relatable and customized.

Don't feel like creating a whole new case from scratch? You can still collect real life examples of similar companies and share them with your students via the integrated file management system of the Cesim business simulations platform.


Wondering how active learning tools like business strategy games can be used to augment business theory for maximum effect?


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Tags: Educator 2.0, Why use business simulations

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