"You're in it as a team. Being ranked definitely motivated us."
Production operations, worker compensation, pricing and marketing, bids to sign celebrities—these are just a few of the choices that senior business majors must make in an international competition known as The Business Strategy Game (BSG). Two Saint Martin’s teams, Jet Shoes and E Finish First, have earned a BSG Global Top 100 ranking for their outstanding performance in the game.
For their senior capstone course, business students form teams and participate in a worldwide simulation in which they operate athletic footwear companies and compete for the top spot in the class. The BSG spans 16 weeks. Each week, the teams are ranked, not only within the class, but also worldwide, according to four criteria: Overall Game-to-Date Score, Earnings per Share, Return on Average Equity, and Stock Price.
The BSG is a game of choices—54 choices to be exact, involving materials (high end, low end, green materials, etc.), marketing strategies and charitable donations, to name a few. As they attempt to build competitive advantage and increase their profits, students must consider real-world issues such as taxes and tariffs, exchange rates and the global impact of their decisions.
Jet Shoes ranked 49th in the world out of 4,578 teams from 267 universities for the week of October 12 through October 18, based on their Overall Game-To-Date Score. The co-managers of Jet Shoes, Ryan Pickthorn, Genevieve Gottwald and Anna Dulwick, created a high-end athletic shoe with lower quality materials. They made a series of choices throughout the game that built their competitive strategy and differentiated them from other brands.
“Every decision you make affects something,” says Pickthorn. “There’s a certain demand in each region. If you don’t have competitive pricing, you won’t have sales.”
Another team, E Finish First, ranked 94th in the world for Earnings per Share (EPS) and 83rd for Stock Price performance for the week of November 16 through November 22. E Finish First was in competition with Jet Shoes all semester. The co-managers of E Finish First are John Ames, Zhengfeng Chen and Joel Meyers.
The BSG requires students to apply concepts learned in their business classes to real-world scenarios. “I try to teach information along the way about how to develop a competitive strategy,” says Wendy Fraser, professor of business, who teaches the BA499 course. “I hope it’s been useful. A fair amount of this is students pulling together what they’ve learned in classes and their self-learning.”
“This experience taught me that I am really interested in operations management,” says De La Cruz. “I like going through the details of how a company runs and all the decisions that are required to operate successfully.”
“You’re in it as a team,” reflects Pickthorn. “Being ranked definitely motivated us. It was a wake-up call. We wanted to be more competitive.”