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Impactful Decisions

Business simulations prepare students for reality and success after graduation

Brooke Preston posing

From The Ichabod - Spring 2021
By Emma Wittmer

Not everyone can say they placed in the top three out of hundreds of teams from around the world, but Washburn School of Business alumna Brooke Preston can.

Preston, bba ’20, finished third in the Capsim Challenge at the end of the fall 2020 semester. The Capsim Challenge takes Capstone and Foundation simulation alumni and pits them against each other to determine the world’s best at running a multi-million dollar simulation company. Preston participated in a group simulation throughout her Strategic Management class with Norma Juma, professor, School of Business, and did the international competition as a solo team.

“I encourage all of my students to enroll in the Capsim Challenge,” Juma said. “It gives them another opportunity to polish up their skills before the class final and an opportunity to gain confidence in their accomplishments within the competition.”

Business simulations are different from lectures, case studies and other classroom tools. They create an experience that not only involves their hands and minds, but their emotions too.

“I have used the Capstone simulation in my classes since 2006,” Juma said. “The greatest benefits are the testimonials from alumni who talk about the transferable skills that they acquired from Capstone, and we have had a lot of success with it. I define success in terms of what my students can carry on into their careers and continuous learning after graduation.”

The Capstone simulation integrates all functional areas of learning so students can grasp what a viable business model is and what it takes to run a business.

“What I quickly experienced in the simulation was that I could listen and try to learn a lot in a class lecture, but when I did the simulation, I got to really learn where the topics you hear about in class come from,” Preston said. “Experiential tools are powerful because they invoke emotions and emotions are hard to forget," Juma said.

Preston worked with a group in class throughout the semester in the Capstone simulation and quickly learned the importance of communication across all the links.

“If one of those links doesn’t match up with the other, then it’s all going to come tumbling down,” Preston said. “If one fails then the entire operation fails. I really learned the impact of our decisions and the importance of coordinating with my team.”

Preston then had to effectively coordinate with herself when she entered the Capsim Challenge. There was a round in the challenge simulation she didn’t realize a recession had taken place and had to work to catch back up with the other teams.

“The opportunity to engage with their peers in a global competition builds their confidence and appreciation for the education they are receiving,” Juma said. “It is a resounding assurance of their impactful learning experience at Washburn.”

Spring 2022 The Ichabod cover. Sculpture on the lawn north of Memorial Union

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. View the current and past editions


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