Business Simulations Improve Learning and Assessment in Managerial Accounting Courses

Brian Rohrs

For the past 12 years, business simulation has assisted professors and students by providing a more interactive, engaging, and teamwork-based experience. It requires students to use accounting information to make management decisions, reinforces textbook learning, and focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of business. Simulation provides a unique, hands-on business analysis with quantitative and qualitative feedback.

The two driving forces behind using Capsim business simulation in accounting courses here at BGSU are Associate Teaching Professors James Zeigler and Brian Rohrs, also both Certified Public Accountants (CPA). They have integrated business simulation into their sophomore level managerial accounting courses. 

The managerial accounting curriculum has two distinct simulation components. The first is a course simulation competition where student teams build a multi-million dollar technology business, making decisions related to all functional areas including strategy and tactics, production, accounting, marketing, and finance. This course is typically taken sophomore year.

The second component involves an individual learning-assessment examination at the end of the semester. This 6-8 hour assessment, called Comp-XM, is administered to measure student business decision-making and business acumen.According to Rohrs and Zeigler, BGSU students consistently exceed peer averages with their exam scores. This information becomes a component of the College of Business “Assurance of Learning” evaluation used for AACSB accreditation reporting. 

The student learning experience is enhanced through utilizing the Capsim business simulation. Luisa Moran is a junior accounting student and she explains how Capsim benefits her. “I believe my learning was enhanced during the simulation. The reason being that I learned a lot about what goes into running an actual company. I wouldn’t be able to learn the same thing from a textbook. It’s very different studying the information and doing the work. It's like a real job; you won’t know what you’re doing until you start.”

James Zeigler

Participating in the Capsim business simulation helped junior Ryan Dedo, specializing in information systems, better prepared him for courses. “I do believe I am better prepared for upper level courses. Capsim helped me out with a class this semester. It helped me expand my knowledge with marketing, on the sale and demand side, as well as advertising and stocking issues.”

Senior marketing student Erica Harder echoes the positive sentiment about simulation. “My perception of business has changed due to Capsim because I now know that one department isn’t more important than the other and they all play off of each other.”

After students complete the Capsim simulation in class, they are eligible to compete in the international “Capsim Challenge”. The Challenge competition is offered twice a year in spring and fall semesters. Participants from around the globe compete over a two-week timeframe. The “top-six” qualifiers then move on to the finals. According to Zeigler and Rohrs, BGSU continues to have the most Capsim Challenge finalists of any participating school worldwide.

Updated: 12/16/2019 02:53PM