Business Education

Written by Josh Dodes
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The educational promise of the Internet has rarely been more fully realized than it is today in the field of business education. Reinventing a field that has traditionally been dominated by abstractions and oversimplified case studies, a few top business software companies have changed forever the way students can learn the field. The educational business simulation games that they have developed provide a type of experience that in the past was simply unavailable.

These software companies understand that there is no platform as educational as real life. Consequently, they have designed their simulations to be as close to the sophistication and complexity of the real business world as possible.

Real Life Without Real Risk

In fact, in one significant respect, these simulated business realities can actually be more educational than the real thing. That is because these simulations are designed to include every major element of the real marketplace except for one: real money. In an environment where the potential for financial disaster is removed, students are encouraged to think creatively and learn from their mistakes in ways that they could not necessarily afford in the world of real business.

What this means is that by the time these students are faced with similar decisions in real life, they will have confidence in their creativity. They will have experienced within business simulations both the limitations of creative thinking and the potential of thinking outside the box. This prior experience represents a significant business edge over businesspeople who live in fear of doing business creatively for the first time with so much money on the line.

A Dual Business Education

The best of these business simulations teach two related skill sets. Clearly, they help students develop their ability to assess and respond to complicated business scenarios. But less obvious is the extent to which these simulations help students develop the interpersonal skills which will prove every bit as important in today's business world.

By requiring students to work in and compete as teams, the best simulations introduce students to a reality of the business world often overlooked in business education. The fact is, few substantial business decisions are made in complete isolation. On the contrary, collaborative decision-making is fundamental to a successful business, and learning the necessary social and team-building skills is a critical part of any comprehensive business education.

Expanding The Scope of Business Learning

The top simulations are designed to complement, rather than replace, traditional teaching methods. In fact, they represent an ideal opportunity for students to put the principles they have been learning into practice. In this manner, they are able to more clearly see the overlap of (and the line between) pure principles and messy reality.

These sophisticated simulations represent nothing less than a revolution in business education. They bring the boardroom into the classroom in a way that would have been impossible in the past. Now that students can get real-world experience prior to entering the real business world, business education will never be the same.

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