Some initial questions you may have...
If you have other questions that you would like to see answered on this page please
What time period is needed in class?
This simulation can easily be accommodated in a one hour class although
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 Mobile Phone Subscribers simulation is charged
at £6.00 per student so a class of 20 would cost £120.00. Academic licences are subject to
a minimum charge of £60.00. Volume discounts are available for large classes and we also offer a
permanent licensing option which is very economic over 5 years or more of use.
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
Note: this is a very simple simulation designed to introduce the point that it can be tricky to
manage even a single resource.
In the first screen you set up the initial subscriber base to work with: there is a cost in doing so on top of a fixed
cost to set up your network. This will be taken out of your budget and your challenge is to recoup this investment
and get the business into profit. You then select whether to use a fixed rate of growth and churn or whether
to have these determined by your network capacity decisions.
Reports are available to help the you see how you are doing: take a look at the summary report to
start with and note the other reports, graphs and tables that are available.
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 1 month, players can select to change
this to 3 months, 1 year or 5 years (Menu | Simulation | Time step). They can elect to
Go Back one step (Menu | Simulation | Go Back) or restart the game, at which time the
choices regarding initial conditions can be reset.
What documentation is provided?
Teachers are provided with an Instructor Guide that has background information on the simulation,
suggested teaching schedules and notes to the slides. There is also a full size slide pack (PDF format)
Also provides are solutions to the challenges.
Also provided are materials for distribution to students: a copy of The Dynamics of Strategy - an article that
introduces the approach, a user guide and slide handouts.
Assessing student performance, general guidance when using Microworlds
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Request individuals or groups to seek comparable situations where building and maintaining investor support is critical, and report on:
Important examples will include new venture start-ups, where:
- 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)
- 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.