REFLECTIVE REPORT ON GLO-BUS
27th, February, 2013
Glo-Bus is an online business simulation exercise, which I undertook in the last semester, between early October and end of January 2013. In this exercise, I was part of a team, consisting of co-managers operating our hypothetical digital camera company. In this company, as new members of the management team, we were given the responsibility of ensuring that our company has a competitive advantage over the other competitors in the market, as competition is high and tight. We were therefore, charged with developing a winning strategy for our company. This should help maintain customer loyalty to our company brand, and even attract new customers to boost the revenue of the company. Generally, this was to ensure that our company remains the leader in the industry of digital cameras.
As a team, we completed the exercise successfully. It is however, important that after completing such an exercise, one revisits it, and its implications on their academic development, and other benefits this could have had on them. Therefore, through this reflective writing about the Glo-Bus, I am analyzing the whole business simulation exercise, what it means to me, as well as how it has changed me, and my perception toward this business course. By using the correct reflective practice techniques, my analysis of the Glo-Bus business simulation experience will be sensible, and will clearly outline the most important factors, which detailed the whole simulation exercise. This will also help me as an individual to clearly establish the outcomes of the simulation exercise. In addition, I will establish whether as a team we managed to achieve our expectations of the business simulation process or not. Additionally, as an individual, I will be in a position to evaluate my individual contribution to the whole process, and determine if I was resourceful in my team or not. Nonetheless, this business simulation exercise has influenced me in different ways, as today, I view company managed from a different perspective, after being involved in a more practical experience of company management.
The Glo-Bus business simulation exercise is a case of experiential learning. This is an important aspect of the learning process, which has positive outcomes on the learners. I consider the whole exercise educative, informative, and a fun way of learning. According to Kolb et al. (1971), experiential learning should be included in the learning process, as this boosts the quality of learning, as well as the learning outcomes. They divided experiential learning into four stages, including concrete experience, observation and reflection, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Therefore, reflection after experimentation counts, according to these authors. Therefore, the reflective approach argued by Kolb et al. (1971), helps me, as a learner to evaluate the impact of my experiential learning on my ideologies and on the learning objectives of the specific course.
This was my first experience with an online business simulation exercise. Therefore, I ventured into this exercise with a lot of expectations and enthusiasm, that I would learn more business management concepts, and add on to my existing theoretical knowledge of the business processes and concepts. Additionally, this, I thought would give me a feel of what being a manager, or what being part of a management team in a high-ranking company entails and feels like. This is because, in our company, I was a co-manager, therefore, had the responsibilities of what a co-manager does in real life management cases. According to Butzen and Lee (2003), corporate leadership requires high level of discipline and integrity, especially where finances are concerned. Nonetheless, this is what this simulation experience also presented me with.
The learning experience in this business simulation exercise revolved around, but not limited to the basic mechanics of operating a company. Christodoulou and Zorica (2012) consider these to include a variety of company and market aspects, such as the manipulation of the demand levels in the market, the production process of the company, control of company stock, and general company management procedures. Social responsibility is another important aspect that was inclusive in this exercise. According to Kotler and Lee (2011), this is an act of charity, which boosts a company’s PR. However, most people do not capitalize on it to gain a competitive advantage.
This initially sounded to me like a simple process, since it is all about simulating. However, this turned out to be the other way, since I learnt this to be different, from what I expected it to be. Upon completion of this exercise, I discovered and learnt that making managerial decisions is not an easy task. This requires expertise, experience, and a lot of care, considering that one is accountable for the decisions they make while in management. This is also because of the fact that carelessness in decision-making, or lack of appropriate decision-making skills among the management team could lead to wrong and inappropriate decisions. Business and running a company is challenging, therefore, such poor decisions, no matter how small they could be, are capable of affecting a company in a negative way, and even result in its downfall. Therefore, I learnt the essence of decision-making in company management.
As part of our team and as a co-manager, I was charged with various responsibilities in the company. These responsibilities needed decision-making, even though these were lower-managerial decisions. Therefore, I would use my free time during the day to troubleshoot problems that were likely to come up in the team, and develop the most appropriate solutions to these problems, as well as the decisions I would settle for in the different managerial tasks I was assigned in the team. Therefore, during the whole exercise, I had to be very cautious of what I bring on board, especially my decisions in the company, as this was capable of either negative or positive outcomes in the company. Nonetheless, I made solid decisions in the company, while team members disregarded those that were ineffective. This helped me developed critical-thinking skills, which Springer and Borthick (2004) attribute to simulations.
Through this simulation exercise, I have been able to apply what I learn in class to a real life management situation. Now I am in a position to develop strategies, analyze strategies, and apply them in company management. Our management team was charged with developing winning strategies for our company. Kearns (2012) argues that the human resource management is core to achieving of competitive advantage in a company. In achieving this, our team studied the market, established different competitive factors in the market, and came up with a final direction, which our company would adopt to lead it to success. In addition, we considered adjusting our company’s strategies, whenever conditions in the market changed. Doole (2005) notes that, the strategic process sometimes requires to be adjusted when conditions in the market change. All these aspects, we were taught in class, and through this simulation exercise, I was able to put them into practice. Through this simulation exercise, I have also come to terms with financial decisions and reporting in a company. I was able to understand the relationship between profits, cost, and revenue, and financial statements, since these were some of the aspects our team was responsible for. I therefore, grew more familiar and deepened my understanding of statistical calculations, including cash flows in a company, and how these should be managed. Financial management is key to a company, as poor financial management leads to deterioration of a company (Khan 2004).
Although our simulation exercise ran smoothly, our team was influenced by various factors, both negative and positive. However, I would be wrong if I confessed that this exercise in our team was full of shortcomings. In this training experience, I accept we adopted a low-approach, since we were just learners, simulating different aspects of company management. Due to this approach, it was obvious to experience differences among group members, mainly in the process of decision-making in the company. Each one of us was a co-manager, with different opinions about different business aspects and processes in our company. There would therefore, arise cases, where each one would want their ideas to be adopted, or have a greater influence in the final decision. However, we dealt with this using various strategies, such as incorporating everyone’s ideas only if they were applicable, in order to avoid settling for wrong choices, as well as excluding other team members from decision-making. On the positive is that our team embraced teamwork, and encouraged all members to contribute to the exercise in all their capacities. This teamwork ensured positive outcomes in our exercise, as reflected in how this has made me and others more knowledgeable in various management aspects.
I have learnt various lessons from these scenarios. First, in management; it is hard to please everyone all the time, as far as decision-making is concerned. When it comes to business, managers have to disagree on various concepts among themselves, since agreeing to everything and incorporating it in the company might compromise the stability of the company. In the group, we disagreed on various issues, but this did not break our friendship in real life. This also has enlightened me on how to embrace teamwork in a company, as well as the importance of teamwork in companies, due to its positive outcomes. My leadership skills have improved through this simulation, thus proving Tonks right, when he argued that simulations boost leadership skills in learners (2002).
In conclusion, Glo-Bus has helped me take a myriad of steps in management and strategy development in a company. All that I have learnt from this exercise have developed a number of skills in me, which I previously lacked. First, this has greatly enhanced my decision-making and critical thinking skills, since I had to make important decisions in the company, in the course of developing winning strategies for the company. Secondly, I am in a better position to interact with different people at the team level. I am now a good team player. This is because most work in the company required brainstorming with fellow co-managers, in order to gain more quality and appropriate ideas in running the company. Therefore, in future, I will apply these skills in my work place, to make a difference in the management of the company, especially if I am given a managerial position.
Butzen, P. & Fuss, C 2003, Firms’ Investment and Finance Decisions: Theory and Empirical Methodology, Edward Elgar Publishing, London.
Christodoulou, L. & Zorica, P 2012, Strategic and organisational perspectives. McGraw Hill Education Ltd, New York.
Doole, I. & Lowe, R 2005, Strategic Marketing: Decisions in Global Markets, Cengage Learning EMEA, New York.
Kearns, P 2012, HR Strategy, Routledge, New York.
Khan, M. 2004, Financial Management: Text, Problems and Cases, 4e, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, London.
Kolb, D 1984, Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Kotler, P. & Lee, N 2012, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause, John Wiley & Sons, London.
Springer, C. & Borthick, F 2004, “Business Simulation to Stage Critical Thinking in Introductory Accounting: Rationale, Design, and Implementation,” Issues in Accounting Education, 19(2), 277-303, Viewed 27th February 2013 <http://facultyweb.maconstate.edu/carol.sargent/springerissues2004.pdf>
Tonks, D 2002, “Using Marketing Simulations for Teaching and Learning: Reﬂections on an Evolution,” Active Learning in Higher Education, 3(2): 177–194, Viewed 27th February 2013 <http://www.ydae.purdue.edu/lct/hbcu/documents/Usingmarketingsimulationsforteachingandlearning.pdf>
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