“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek,” by Mario Andretti. I think that quote was point on in that we failed miserably in our preliminary simulation and found our commitment to achieve success in the next Capstone simulation. I had never experienced a game/simulation like Capstone and felt I might have a disadvantage since it was not my final semester of the MBA program.
My initial reaction to the simulation was that it was confusing and overwhelming. By confusing I mean, where to find the correct answer and how to decide what answers are the best answer. I remember feeling very intimidated and had I not had teammates to talk it through with, who had different levels of experience and background, I might not have made certain decisions as well. I think our personalities in this whole experience played a huge part in how well we did as a team.
I tend to play it safe and not want to take risks, which may very well be the accountant in me and there were others who wanted to take huge risks and push the company to extremities, which we found out in the preliminaries was a bad decision to make in the beginning of development. What we found out in the preliminary gave us direction for the rest of the game, where we were looking more at the computer decisions and making random guesses with no real direction as well as just looking at the results of these random decisions.
As a result, we decided that we needed to pick a business strategy and stick with it to develop in key markets and create success with all having the same goal in mind. Once we keyed in on that and made our decisions based on our own calculation and predictions, we started to see greater results. Most businesses do not get a practice round to see if they will make it in the business world as we did before we actually began and get a clean slate to try again.
In reality, if we would have had a failed business venture, it would have resulted in a huge loss and we would have learned from our mistakes and had to invest more money on another attempt. Luckily, that was not the case, and we were able to make more analyzed decisions and complete the simulation quite successfully. The overwhelming part of the simulation was the time it took in making the decisions, when you have three CEO’s who think very differently.
Once we realized the decisions actually do need to be thought out and discussed, which took typically three to four hours of our own time outside class, we started to see results. In the beginning, we really underestimated the amount of time was needed to make educated decisions. Also, I felt just as we got the hang of the project and adjusted our strategy, more decisions were added, which took more time and thought process put into the project than expected.
Past experience as well as previous classes definitely helped out in making decisions, the simulation forced us to put it all together and connect everything we have learnt thus far. For example, I tried to keep the concepts of marketing in mind when making the sales and promotion decisions and cost accounting in mind when making the budgeting decisions. I may not have remembered every definition behind every term learned in each class, but what I did keep in mind are the concepts and theories that stood out from those classes for me.
One in particular is, “Money has a time value,” and it was worth more to us in the beginning to borrow large amounts than to wait and get in trouble with “Big Al. ” What I couldn’t remember my teammates did to an extent and that helped us a lot in the progression of the game. Now, having experienced this simulation, I think this will giving me a greater understanding of multiple decisions that need to be made and how many more are necessary to make a successful business grow.
At times I felt like I was starting to get the hang of things, then another decision was added. I mean that is life, nothing is simple and there is always another decision to make. I think the challenge of making the decision and seeing what areas were being manipulated because of the choices we were making was interesting. For example, after making all the decision, we would check the score card and see where we went right or wrong and then went back to the areas where the card showed low scores.
Although, they were based on the decisions we made and not realistic amongst the competitors decisions, it was still a valid way to see where we stood. In the beginning, I was stuck on obtaining customer awareness and accessibility, eventually realizing that other factors like age, time, product placement actually control those issues to a reasonable amount and no matter how much we spent on sales and promotion, those scores would not be higher until later in the game, at least for our team.