Bankruptcy is all part of the game for Harvard students
Sunday 09 June 1996
Capitalism the computer game, that is. The strategic simulation from Interactive Magic is so tough that it is being used by a professor at Harvard Business School in the final examination for his entrepreneurial marketing course.
Tom Kosnik, who also teaches technical marketing at the Stanford School of Engineering, thinks so highly of the game that he has organised a tournament between his two schools. He also plans to challenge a colleague at the London Business School to recruit a team.
"I've been looking for a good business `sim' for at least a decade," he says. "I want to get people to learn how to do business by doing business rather than by listening to lectures. Capitalism is very realistic and people love it." He adds, conspiratorially: "I go bankrupt a lot."
The game was developed by a programmer in Hong Kong who had little experience in business. One of its quirks, reflecting the relaxed regime in which he lives, is that taxation plays a minor role.
Players start the game with $6m in their personal account and $5m in their new corporation. The money can be spent on shops, manufacturing plants, research labs or resource businesses. At its heart is a system for linking business units - from purchasing to sales - in nine boxes within each firm. Players have to control their supply lines, invest in training and equipment, manage their brands and position themselves within each market.
Professor Kosnik's students tended to adopt three main strategies. Some built diversified conglomerates, while others concentrated on retailing finished goods. A third group constructed vertically integrated chains.
"Two of the teams were very ideological, refusing to make or sell cigarettes and liquor. It was interesting seeing the ethical conflict when they realised how profitable they are." Others stumbled over the high cost of researching high-tech products.
While the game itself is intricate and fun, much of the educational benefit comes from working in management teams. One participant in the tournament noted that "business is like juggling". Professor Kosnik found that players who lost were more likely to draw useful conclusions.
Interactive Magic's chairman Bill Stealey - who earned his spurs as co- founder of Microprose, developer of award winning simulations like Civilization, a build-an-empire from stone-to-space age game - is planning a revamped version next year which can be played across the Internet.
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Isis 'A Message in Blood' video shows beheading of Kurdish man in Iraq
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...