Kelley Evening MBA students Shawn Dellinger and Ryan Kowalewski spent the final weekend of April running a $100 million business in direct competition with other top students from around the world. The Kelley team was one of six to make the finals of the 2015 Spring Capstone® Business Simulation Challenge, finishing third overall. This year’s Capsim challenge attracted 1,759 students from business schools in 34 countries.
The Kelley team first used Capstone Business Simulation in professor Curtis Wesley’s Business Dynamics and Decisions class (W579) earlier this spring. The duo was announced as finalists for the 48-hour, high-pressure playoffs after competing in a preliminary round where classmate Derek Weinberg had placed fifth out of 350 teams. But Dellinger and Kowaleski finished first in that round, and only one team can represent a school in the finals.
Kowalewski said his simulation experience helped prepare him for a career in business because “it provided a situation where you must make quick decisions with the information at hand. It was particularly good at forcing us to plan our moves in such a way that we limited the risk exposure of our company.”
Dellinger, who said the best part about the experience was facing the competition, said it helped him understand “the ramifications of a decision across many different areas, and the importance of tying everything together into a cohesive whole.”
The Capsim International Spring Business Simulation Challenge attracted 44 percent more competitors this year, with students from 34 countries including China, Egypt, the UK, Kenya, Thailand, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Challenge coordinator Anthony Illuzzi said the Kelley team faced a grueling competition schedule. “The final eight rounds began at noon on Friday and finished at 7 p.m. Saturday – but that’s Central Standard Time,” Illuzzi said. “The finals started at 10:30 p.m. Friday in Delhi and 3 a.m. Saturday in Sydney, so many of our international competitors had a sleepless weekend!
“However, major projects in international companies often require people to work at odd hours, so for many finalists it was a realistic experience of working under pressure in a globalized business world.”
The prize, for Kowalewski and Dellinger, is proof of their business acumen for any prospective employers. “Coming in third from such a broad and prestigious field of competitors is really an amazing achievement,” Illuzzi said.