Saint Leo Students Master Global Business Game

June 25, 2008

MACDILL AFB CENTER – Two SLU seniors majoring in business and accounting emerged as world-class competitors in a test of their financial acumen and management savvy.

Saint Leo Students Master Global Business Game Brandy Morehouse and Francesca Norman, both ’08, have been invited to compete in a worldwide match of previous high-scorers in The Business Strategy Game, a special online exercise used by nearly 400 colleges and universities. Morehouse and Norman competed together as a team during spring semester in a capstone business course, Strategic Management, led by SLU’s Tampa area director, Kenny Gonzalez.

The cutting-edge coursework may be new to some people, who are more familiar with competitions at business schools where students vie to see who can write the best business plan for a hypothetical enterprise.

The Business Strategy Game advances that concept by forcing students to imagine they are actually running publicly-owned companies, and are accountable to stockholders, customers, vendors and employees. Over a period of weeks, students are expected to overcome various challenges while managing plant operations, warehouse and distribution functions, online sales, overall marketing and finance.

While the authors of the game vary the industry assigned from one competition to the next, the game objectives remain constant: best the competition in the categories of earnings per share, stock price, return on equity, and a combined score of those measures.

Morehouse’s and Norman’s assignment was to compete in the private-label athletic footwear business.

“The simulation is an excellent follow-up to what we learned in accounting,' says Norman.

Both students enjoyed seeing how each management move led to a new situation to address.

“You learn so much about how accounting applies to the overall business,' Morehouse explains. “Anything you touched affected something else – sometimes for the better, but sometimes not.'

Their mythical company, Champ Footwear, performed particularly well during the week of May 12, 2008. The team tied for 8th place in the world on their overall score, and placed within the top 100 on the other measures. “There were 1,171 teams of students playing the simulation during that particular, so making the Top 100 for all four of the ranking variable (and as high as 8th on one variable) was no small accomplishment,' Greg Stappenbeck, one of the authors of The Business Strategy Game, told SLU.

Prof. Stephen Baglione, chair of the department of business administration, was so impressed by the news that he came to final class of the semester to congratulate Morehouse and Norman and hear their final reports. “The presentations were very professional, analytic, and self-critical,' Baglione commented. “They revealed strategy, tactics, and interpretations of results. They were a testament to the students’ dedication and the professor’s guidance.'

Morehouse and Norman are considering whether to compete in the invitational match, scheduled for August. Both think it would be fun, but also have busy schedules to consider.

Morehouse works as an analyst for defense contractor Northrop Grumman at MacDill. She studied for her degree part-time, while raising a family, to remain competitive in the workforce. And Norman, who is retired from the U.S. Army and is multilingual, wants to continue her education through law school and launch a second career in tax, business or immigration law.

For more information on The Business Strategy Game, go to www.bsg-online.com.