Regardless of business school, there are a few activities that every MBA must experience before he or she graduates. One such example is the MarkStrat Simulation: an eight week virtual ‘game’ that puts teams of MBAs in charge of an imaginary company.
Every week, the MBAs must meet in a small, cramped room and make key decisions that determine the long term success or failure of their firms. These decisions are made in time-constrained conditions with very limited data. As a result, successful teams must utilize all of their training up to this point (operations, marketing, finance, organizational behavior, etc.) to navigate the ambiguity and make decisions. Teams can do as much or as little work as they wish. Some teams may try to model past performance on Excel and use curves to predict future performance. Others may try to anticipate competitive moves and rely solely on game theory. Just as in real life, some teams may just throw ideas on a wall and see what sticks.
The winners will be crowned at the end of eight weeks. Today, my team is meeting to make our first decision. Will we sink or swim? I’m eager to find out.