Boardroom Global Challenge

Course Description: 

The Boardroom Global Challenge is designed to place students into realistic business and management scenarios, where they can try various roles and apply, practice and understand foundation issues studied in core courses and considered in organizations. An on-line, turn-based, management level business simulation forms the basis of the class. The simulation incorporates supply chain, finance, pricing, investment and marketing related decision making problems. The course exposes students to the need of transformational and system-wide process oriented thinking. The pedagogical approach is strongly focused on Kolb’s learning cycle and the experimental approach: in this context, the instructor is a facilitator for the simulation and does not carry the traditional authoritative role.

This online simulation places students in the Board of Managers role. Participants lead the operations of major mobile handset manufacturers. These multinational companies sell products on various markets, including the American, European and Asian markets. There are different handsets, technologies, markets and coverage expectations. Boards will have to make decisions about key issues, based on past financial statements and observed customer habits. Teams compete against each other within the given markets: usually there are 5-7 companies in a simulated universe. All companies are publicly traded and their financial results are available throughout the simulation for all competitors. Thus participants practice not only their own management and decision making skills, but also have to consider company valuation and competitor analysis techniques. The simulation is supported by a computer-based, online model. The simulation engine is provided by CESIM. A unique storyboard, written by Prof T. Voros, makes the simulation more interesting and demanding. The simulation lasts approx. 2-3 months in real time.  For each round, approx. one-to-two weeks are given to prepare the decisions. The usual framework is 2-3 practice rounds and 6-7 live rounds. Please see the schedule for the exact timeline.

 At the end of each round, Boards will have to enter their decisions (production, pricing, marketing etc.) into the online simulation interface. For the Global Challenge Simulation, please form groups of 3-5 members (depends on class size). Please note: due to the complexities of the simulation, there are limits in participation. For one class – one universe in simulation terms – the maximum number of firms is 7, and each firm may be led by a max. 5 member management team. Thus the limit is 35 participants. If there are additional participants, a second universe (or class) has to be opened.

Learning Outcomes: 



Knowledge and Understanding

  1. Describe key issues faced by businesses and understand their impact on the company, both in terms of financial and non-financial items
  2. Understand key financial terms and their limitations in describing a technology-focused organization
  3. Understand decisions made at CxO level for companies

Team Meetings, Strategy Documents, Shareholders’ Report & Presentation

Intellectual Skills

  1. Recognize critical factors in a business problem
  2. Develop a structure for analyzing problems
  3. Present the analysis and insights on a problem to interested parties in a convincing, non-technical manner

Shareholders’ Report & Presentation, CTSR

Practical Skills

  1. Build and use meaningful spreadsheets to present and solve quantitative business problems
  2. Carry out sensitivity, data, regression, and optimization analysis
  3. Understand strategy building and development over a longer timeframe

Strategy Documents, Shareholders’ Report & Presentation, CTSR

Transferable Skills

  1. Translate descriptions of business situations into formal models, and investigate those models in an organized fashion
  2. Apply generic modeling heuristics to help in the design and use of strategy
  3. Extract insights from data, and use those insights to communicate, persuade and motivate change
  4. Interact with members in a group to produce analysis for external parties with time constraints

Strategy Documents, Team Meetings


As this is a complex exercise, grading in this case combines various items, including individual and group elements. 


Contribution to grade (100 total)

Global Challenge – 2cr

2xStrategy Documents (initial & 3rd year)

Team meetings (includes minute papers)

Peer Evaluation

Cumulative Total Shareholders’ Return

Shareholders’ Report & Presentation








Knowledge of basic management, finance and economics is required. If in doubt, please contact the instructor.

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