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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Business Simulation (BUST08031)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBusiness Simulation is a practical, integrative business course that requires teams of students to operate a simulated start-up business. Acting as a board of directors, students set the direction for the company to build up the business by making decisions related to its strategy, finance, market, operations, staffing and innovation. It aims to foster interdisciplinary decision-making in an inexact environment and to prepare students for the problems and issues of working in a changing and uncertain world. This course has a quota of 120 students.
Course description Business Simulation is built around a computer-based business simulation of a technology company start-up. Students on the course are formed into company teams of six or so members who will self-allocate themselves into the different board of director roles (Strategy, Finance, Marketing, Operations, HR/Organisation and Innovation) to manage their simulated company through a series of five simulation rounds that represent two years in the life of the company.

The purpose of the course is to provide an experiential learning environment where the connectivity of the different functions within a business is made explicit. Students will have the opportunity to apply their learning from the earlier elements of their degree programme to the problems presented by the simulation; and are required to develop the business, justifying and reporting the decisions they make for their simulated firm.

Students will also learn via taught classes each week. These will cover (in the order indicated below) the various business functions that relate to running a business, focusing initially on lessons drawn from the simulated environment then introducing guest lectures where a practitioner will present a talk about their business experience. This provides a link between the theoretical and practical nature of business management and background and context for the various company groups in managing their business start-ups.


L1: Introduction
L2: The aims, structure and function of a business
L3: Planning for a start-up business
L4: Organising a small business
L5: Effective team working
L6: Guest Speaker: Case Example - Organising a small business.
L7: Market analysis
L8: Marketing and sales strategy
L9: Operations management
L10: Guest speaker: Case Example - Operations in a Small Business
Innovative Learning Week
Non-teaching week
L11: Measuring business performance
L12: Guest speaker: Case Example - Financing a Small Business
L13: Finance options for business expansion
L14: Guest Speaker: Contemporary issues in new venture finance
L15: Innovation
L16: Guest speaker: Case Example: Disruptive Innovation
L17: Leadership in the context of small business
L18: Guest speaker: Leading Successful New Ventures
L19: Debrief and lessons
L20: Guest Speaker: Growth Strategies and Crossing the Chasm

Student Learning Experience
As a course, Business Simulation is built around a computer-generated business start-up simulation. Students are formed into groups of six to be the managers of a business start-up where they have to make the necessary strategic, marketing, financial, operational and organisational decisions for their start-up and throughout the course of the simulation which over the duration of the course will represent two years of the business' operations. Group interactions allow students to learn about the issues surrounding teamwork, effective leadership and the development of social skills within organisations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Global Challenges for Business (BUST08035) AND The Business of Edinburgh (BUST08036)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 1 introductory level Business Studies course at grade B or above for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  108
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Simulation supports physical & virtual teamwork ¿ right mix is a learning objective & not prescribed
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 60% Group reports (3 × 20% each)
40% Individual essay (reflective report): 40%
The 60% Group reports consist of:
20% Outline Strategic Plan - 1000 words;
20% Interim Review of Business Performance and Revised Strategy - 1000 words;
20% Final Review of Performance and Recommendations - 1000 words

Groups will be expected to give short oral presentations to their tutor on their plans at the relevant tutorial meeting.
40% Individual Assignment:
Personal reflection on the team's business performance, team organization and decision-making processes, and personal lessons learned - 1800 words.
Feedback Students on this course will receive multiple sources of formative feedback from course tutors at tutorials through
(a) a review of the first two 'board of directors reports' that form part of the course assessment;
(b) discussions in tutorials of the key issues and challenges being experienced by the simulated business and as a team.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand different perspectives on business decisions and develop intuition, judgement and be able to undertake critical analysis in a dynamic, uncertain and complex environment.
  2. Evaluate data and information, determine its relevance and validity and apply this to develop an understanding of the simulated business environment and to guide their strategic decision making and creative thinking.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to apply general management know-how as a member of a team in a simulated business setting.
  4. Understand and be able to exercise managerial responsibility and work effectively as a team in an organizational setting, including issues of leadership and motivation.
  5. Understand the interrelationship and interdependence of the separate functional aspects of business management in a holistic/real world context, including conveying complex information to a range of audiences.
Reading List
The course is based around a computer-based business simulation, which students access via a browser and which provides information and reports on the development and condition of the simulated business. This computer-based tool provides the simulated economic and business environment, keeps records of all group actions and provides data and information that students can use to make decisions within the simulated business environment. The simulation environment also includes a bespoke collection of chapters containing academic research on the management of business to help link the practical nature of the course and the practical experience of the guest speakers to tools of management that have been developed in wider business contexts. These chapters form a text for the course that is retained by each student on completion.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

-Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore and solve them responsibly.

Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

-Understand how to manage and sustain successful individual and group relationships in order to achieve positive and responsible outcomes, in a range of virtual and face-to-face environments.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

-Critically evaluate and present digital and other sources, research methods, data and information; discern their limitations, accuracy, validity, reliability and suitability; and apply responsibly in a wide variety of organisational contexts.
Additional Class Delivery Information Lectures will take place in Semester 2.

Tutorials take place weekly starting from week 2 in Semester 2.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Ashley Lloyd
Tel: (0131 6)50 3817
Course secretaryMiss Lucy Brady
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