PBL: Business Simulation

The overriding goal for me as a business teacher is to get my students hired in the job of their dreams.  How do I make that happen?  I simulate the experience from start to finish with as much precision as I can muster.  Here is how I design the business simulation process in Career and Financial Management:

  1.  Launch Innovative Entrepreneurs activity:  students work in teams or individually, partnerships or sole-proprietors, to develop a new and innovative idea that helps solve a problem or invents something new to enter the market.  Students present these innovative entrepreneur ideas in class and posters of the ideas are posted in the classroom.  Students then vote on the innovative idea to take to the next level, to run as a simulated company in our classroom.
  2. Conduct mock interviews:  students apply for and interview for posted positions within the company being developed.  This year, we decided to develop the new company Ketcheez!, a new look at condiments mixing ketchup and cheese.  The departments included Research and Development, Marketing, Finance, and Leadership.  Students applied for various job titles including but not limited to Chief Financial Officer and Project Manager.  Students were hired and the company celebrated it’s kick off with a donut meeting.
  3. Simulate the operation of a business:  students worked in teams of 2-5 in departments to complete tasks assigned. Students held departmental meetings with their department heads and the Leadership team held meetings with department heads to determine how the process is unfolding and worked on future goals.  Each day and week students displayed higher levels of confidence, engagement, and teamwork.  The classroom literally shifted from a classroom to a corporate room.
  4. Design request for proposal:  the chief task of the entire classroom (or corporate room) was to collectively write an RFP.  Students edited the same document and worked together both as departments and as a company to realize this goal of a professionally written RFP.
  5. Present to potential investors:  the entire team presented to a panel of investors who were made up of guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, and local business leaders.  Each department presented their section and did a phenomenal job.  The transitions were seamless and the investors unanimously decided that they would invest in this budding company.
  6. Reflect and evaluate:  students were given the daunting task of reflecting on this process.  Students also work through a performance evaluation regarding their work.  The process is intense and rewarding.

As this project based learning adventure came to a close, we had one more donut meeting (party) to celebrate the learning and benchmarks reached throughout the semester.  As a teacher, I cannot wait to launch the next company as the ideas of students are often the most innovative and creative!

Patrica Ragan Stokes

Fayetteville-Manlius High School

Business Teacher

Twitter:  @PatriciaRagan1

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