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For trainers and academics: A full teachers pack is available including user’s guide, management challenges and slide handouts. A fully annotated slide set is provided along with suggested teaching schedules, teaching plan, instructions on using the simulation, background information and references.

Features of the simulation

Initial conditions

The team take the role of the senior partner group in a large consulting firm, running over a very long time-scale. The business starts with 40 partners in total, 130 managers and 230 junior consultants. It has 60 clients and financial reserves of £40 million.

The simulation runs for 30 years, although useful challenges can look at shorter periods within that longer time-frame. Decisions take the form of key choices by the senior partners to steer the business for each year. They concern hiring, promotion, client-growth and knowledge-building.

Objectives

The partners themselves own the firm, so the general objective is to grow number of clients and project work, and do so profitably, so that the partners can share in the financial surplus generated each year (rather different from an investor-owned business). Objectives may also be chosen for other items, such as the annual bonus paid to each partner, or the quality and reputation the firm enjoys for its work.

Setup

There are no competitors – any clients are assumed to come from a large potential population who may or may not be using other consulting firms.

The main setup option is to choose whether or not to build a ‘knowledge base’ – an extensive electronic database that codifies all the learning the firm gains from its projects. Building this knowledge base makes demands on the staff, and the more topics you choose to include in that system, the more pressure this creates. If successful, though, the knowledge base makes it easier to win clients, reduces the workload on each assignment and raises the quality of work you do for clients.

Feature List
Decisions
Eight decisions: Hiring of junior consultants, promotion of consultants to managers and promotion of managers to partner – firing of staff at all three levels is also possible – plus a target for the number of new clients to win each year and if chosen, the number of topics on which to build knowledge.

Teams choose when to run forward and the simulation runs forward one year with each step, or teams can choose to repeat decisions over several quarters
Performance Feedback
Users get messages warning of serious problems – staff overload, client losses, and impending financial difficulties. In addition, there is a summary of annual highlights on the state of the business, and a traffic-light report on the same issues.
"Go Back" option
A 'Go back' option allows previous decisions to be revised an alternative strategies explored.
Challenges
Five challenges are included - part played scenarios that provide different situations for groups to work with.
  • rebalancing a firm that is not developing well
  • continuing the success of a firm that is growing strongly
  • turning round a firm that has been mismanaged by greedy partners
  • rescuing the firm when it is quickly running out of funds (two versions of this challenge – one very difficult!)
  • re-energising a firm that has great reputation and staff experience, but is otherwise inactive
Save new challenges
Teams can save the game at any point, to explore alternative strategies.

Instructors can create new challenges by running the game with their own decisions, then saving and distributing the game to teams
Resource map
A 'Resource Map' showing inter-relationships between 20 key measures.
Reports
Five numerical reports showing relevant end of quarter financial and operational data plus an 'Annual Highlights and traffic-light report
Graphs
Extensive graphs showing the history of key data items.
  • Clients and quality (6 charts)
  • Staff and workload (10 charts)
  • Financials (8 charts)
In addition, time-graphs can be created for any variable by double-clicking its title in the data tables below.
Table data
Five tables showing entire history of financial and service data. Click on any table item to bring up a graph of the data.
  • Clients (9 items)
  • Staff (16 items)
  • Workload (14 items)
  • plus tables of User decisions and All Game variables
Game Notepad
Use the Game Notepad to record strategies. In conjunction with easy copy and paste facilities for Reports, Graphs and Tables this makes presentation of results simple.
Save scenarios
Teams can save the game at any time, to try alternative strategies.

When saving games can add comments: this makes it easy to create new scenarios for students.

Instructors can create new challenges by running the game with their own decisions, then saving and distributing the game to teams.
Table of User Decisions
Makes it easy to keep track of your actions and to export the available dataset for analysis.
Table of all public variables
Analysis of game results is made easy with this additional feature. Results are presented in the same order as the reports / tables but on copying to Excel or similar spreadsheet can be re-ordered to enable straightforward analysis.
Copy to other applications
Images of all Reports, Graphs and Tables can be copied into other applications for inclusion in documents and slide presentations produced.

All game data can be copied from the tables into spreadsheets for further analysis.
Custom Graphs
Any item appearing in a table can be represented as a graph - simply double click on the table heading.
Teachers materials
Site License materials include the user’s guide as well as instructor’s slides and slide notes.
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