News and Events

MHC students get real-life exposure in simulation

April 9, 2015

Written by Ryan Dahlman, managing editor, Prairie Post

A weekend trip to Kelowna sounds like a relaxing time to a college student. That is the first thought Jordanne Gold had when she heard about the Okanagan School of Business’s annual Western Canadian Business Competition March 20-22 and that she and fellow fourth-year Medicine Hat College/Mount Royal University Bachelor of Administration program students Mitchell Kurtz, Joel Higgins and Cameron Robinson were going. They were the MHC representatives at the event where MHC has sent teams in the past.

“At first, I was thinking it was going to be a fun little trip,” admits Gold, a 22-year-old native of Maple Creek and whose team finished third in the senior division. “However, the work we put in was substantial.”

What actually happened was they had to put in hours learning the simulation game program, what it was about and actually participate in it in Medicine Hat. The final trip to the Okanagan School of Business turned into a grueling, mind-melting battle amongst teams of business minds from 12 different post-secondary schools and colleges.

The object of the competition was built around a program called Capsim which is a company which specializes in “business simulation technology used for the development and assessment of business acumen.” In other words it’s a high-end business program which a high-level game can be played which rates how well players make business decisions including advertising, spending costs which were dependent on a lot of mitigating factors such as economy, product and production access, available employees, etc.

Their instructor Glen Allan, the 2014 Medicine Hat College Instructor of the Year, says he was proud of their efforts. The only preparation they had was to have the opportunity to practice with the program. In his words the object is to compete with the other teams to see who can be the most profitable, have the highest share price and best metrics.

“The preparation they put in, it was a ton of work,” explains Allan who accompanied them to Kelowna. “They had six or seven practice rounds and the first couple of rounds (during practice time) they went bankrupt.”
Allan says the competition was extremely intense. In a Facebook post he said the team had to make “presenting strategies and making decisions for a business simulation — competing with the other teams to see who can be the most profitable, have the highest share price and best metrics.”

The school paid for the students to go.

Gold, who was the team’s CEO, admits they had a little trouble trying to get used to the game before going out to the Okanagan, but got used to it. They had to create and present a business proposal in front of a panel of judges, who were members of the Okanagan School. They were given the scenarios of their business.

For the three days the teams battled through eight separate rounds where they had to make decisions just like an executive team from a company. They were all in the same room, kind of in a Wall Street Stock Market scenario where they were all clumped in together.

Allan had no contact with them while the day’s competition occurred, so it was all on the students.

“It was kind of a (business-style) mosh pit,” Gold eloquently points out. “It kind of threw us off to start, but we got going. I think sometimes Medicine Hat gets looked over in the business side of things and there were some stressful situations in the game. While other teams collapsed we got stronger. It gives us a lot more confidence when we graduate that we can handle stressful situations.

“It was very intense, but myself and the others handled it. It just shows our teachers do great all the time. How we were able to handle things just proved it.”

Gold says MHC garnered some respect from the other participants with their showing.

“They were more or less locked in the war room,” adds Allan who notes being able to effectively communicate, strategize and talk things through quickly was impressive. “They got along really well, they made wise decisions. It’s an excellent opportunity for the fourth years to go and see how a company is run.”

The school year is closing and exams are approaching. It’s bittersweet as Gold is looking forward to the future, but will definitely miss her MHC colleagues.

“It’s a little sad actually because you know this program is coming to an end,” says Gold who really appreciates and relishes the experiences and instructors she had at the college.

Gold already has plans for the future following graduation.

Prior to coming to Medicine Hat College, Gold was a professional skating instructor who ran her own company. She taught in Maple Creek, Frontier, Consul and Eastend before moving to Medicine Hat to teach at the Cypress School of Skating. She wanted to get a degree and with the Mount Royal University program to learn about business.

Now she’s off abroad kickstarting her coaching business.

“I'm going to coach figure skating in New Zealand,” she says. “It’s kind of funny they import all of their (figure skating) coaches from Canada.”