Strategy tools, courses & learning materials for individuals, universities and business
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eBank Microworld

Some initial questions you may have...

If you have other questions that you would like to see answered on this page please contact us.

What time period is needed in class?

This simulation can be accommodated in a two hour class although shorter and more extensive use is also possible. See our "Sample schedule" for possible class outlines

Can I afford it?

Our pricing system is on a per head basis so if you have 20 students in your class you need 20 student licences. For academic use the eBank simulation is charged at £8.00 per student so a class of 20 would cost £160.00. Academic licences are subject to a minimum charge of £60.00. For executive programs the cost is £20.00 per participant on the course.

Can students have this on their own PC?

Yes, we can make a code available that permits this. However the duration is limited to the period of the course. Please request a student licence code when ordering.

Getting started - the interface

This is a simple simulation with a small number of reports and graphs. The resource map is available in simple or expanded form. There are only two user decisions - interest rate offered to savers and the number of people to hire for the call centre.

Getting Started - Playing the game:

Teams of players (we suggest 3-4 people per team) enter their decisions and then select Run.

They use the reports etc to see how their decisions are affecting business performance.

The default period that the game runs forward is 3 months, players can select to change this to 1 year, 2.5 years or 10 years (Menu | Simulation | Time step). They can elect to Go Back one step (Menu | Simulation | Go Back) or restart the game.

What documentation is included?

Teachers are provided with a 56-page Instructor guide which contains information on teaching with Microworlds, information about this microworld and slide set with notes. A full size slide set is also provided (PDF format) on purchase of a licence.

Materials that may be distributed to students are a 17 page user guide which includes 2 caselets on the launch of Egg by Prudential PLC in 1998, a planning sheet and slide handouts. Also provided is a short introduction to the strategy dynamics approach.

Sample teaching schedules:

The timings shown assume that all sessions take place within scheduled class time. The small group break out sessions shown shaded, may take place between classes, reducing the amount of scheduled time required.
  Short
(1 hour)
Medium
(2 hours)
Long
(3 hours)

Plenary session
eBank support slide-set (performance dependence on resource system architecture, interdependence between resources)
30 min.
(selected slides only)
45 min.
(all or most slides)
45 min.
(all or most slides)

In-class demonstration
Open the simulation to have class propose and evaluate policies (e.g. an under-resourced start-up).
15 min. 15 min. 15 min.

Small group break-out
with PCs — groups work through one or more defined strategy challenges, described in the user guide and teaching materials.
  40 min. 1hr 15 min.

Plenary
Debrief group exercise emphasising key principles and seeking groups' approach to the challenges covered
  10 min. 15 min.

Plenary - summarise key concepts
15 min. 15 min. 15 min.

Plenary
Explore parallels, differences and implications of comparable structures in situations familiar to participants.
  15 min.


Assessing student performance, general guidance when using Microworlds

  1. Students, individually or in groups, can be asked to plan their response to a challenge prior to seeing how that response plays out in the simulation. The original plan can then be compared to the resulting performance outcomes delivered and students asked to report on the reasons for differences between the plan and the result.
  2. Using any of the challenges provided set an objective to be achieved (typically a target for earnings, within constraints of the your choice). Request individuals or groups to experiment with alternative policies, and report on their recommended solution, including quantitative statement of policy and time-path of results.
  3. Request individuals or groups to seek comparable situations where business growth depends on building both physical resources (in this case, sites) and service delivery capacity (here, waiting staff), and report on:
    • the time-path of the key variables,
    • other important resources, the performance challenge that management faces, and
    • suggested solutions, including scale, timing and outcomes.
    Typical examples:
    • airlines (aircraft and service-staff – plus take-off slots…)
    • banking (transaction-processing capacity and call-centre staff - plus a financial service product range, equivalent to a restaurant menu)
    • telecoms (network capacity and service support staff – plus retail outlets or other channels for supplying handsets and selling contracts).
  4. Request individuals or groups to seek comparable situations where building and maintaining investor support is critical, and report on:
    • why this support is particularly essential in their chosen case (in Beefeater’s case, to ensure continuing availability of expansion capital)
    • the mechanisms by which this support affects the management (in this case, via capital allocation and profit targets)
    • means by which the business manages this support (in this case, for example, by not delivering such high profit growth that HQ comes to hold high expectations)
    Important examples will include new venture start-ups, where:
    • the entrepreneur must sustain the confidence of direct investors
    • this confidence is manifest in their support for the next round of funding
    • management sustains this support by maintaining an expectation of a high valuation for the business on disposal or flotation.
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