capstone course

  

In this course you will apply (through hands-on simulation) everything you have learned about production, marketing, finance, planning and other management functions to actually managing a company. Your new job will be like moving from playing an instrument in an orchestra to being the conductor.
You will be managing a company that makes the electronic Sensors used in many products like smart phones, pace makers, watches and do on. However, I do not want you to get too focused on the “product” – all the decisions you will make are also fully applicable to any other product or service. For example, sensor customers are looking for Price, Performance, and Reliability and so on… In addition, if you were managing a service company your customers would be looking for Price, Quality and Reliability of your service and so on.  Most management decisions are common across industries, products, services, and even countries.
In this course, your company serves two markets: (1) the high-tech segment that includes the health care market where the quality and performance is critical and (2) the low tech (cheap watches for example) where price is the most important consideration.
You will act as President and CEO of the company for a period of 8 years. During that time, you will be responsible to your Board of Directors, shareholders and stakeholders for:
1. Recommending and implementing the company’s strategy:
2. The product specifications (Size, MTBF (reliability), performance (speed), price) that you will offer in your high tech and low-tech markets.
3. The marketing and sales of your products — that is, how much will you spend on promotion (letting people know about your products); on sales (making it easy for people to find and buy your products) and, of course, what prices you will charge.
4. Production:  How much of each product you will produce — How much plant capacity will you need and to what extent should you invest in automation. How much inventory should you have and so on?
5. And finally, you must make financial decisions on how you will equity and debt you will have –this includes decisions on how much of your profits you will reinvest or pay out in dividends.
Fortunately, the Capsim.com simulation program provides you with excellent information sources to help you make your decisions:

The Foundation Team Member Guide tells you about every decision you need to make—you should consider this guide as your “text book” for the course.
The Conditions Report tells you what your customers are looking for in size, performance, reliability and price.
Fast Track report that provides you with financial and operating reports on how your company and your competitors are doing.
Additionally, there are many other reports and tutorials to help you through every step of the process.

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Your performance will be measured using the Balanced Scorecard method (more later) to evaluate how well you did in each of the functional areas (product design, production, customer service, marketing , finance). It is expected that your decision-making skills will improve over time, as you become a more experienced manager. In summary, you are expected to increase shareholder value and to leave a healthy organization for your successor at the end of your management term — all while running an highly ethical company.

Do not be dismayed by the amount of decisions you have to make.  It may seem overwhelming at first– this is normal for anyone new on any job. To help you through this process, the course is divided into three sections:

1. LEARNING (aka) Rehearsal: In this part of the course (two weeks) you will learn about the decision making process; what makes for sound decisions; where to find information about your company and your competitors; how to evaluate your company’s strengths and weaknesses (Situation analysis); determine and prepare an implementation plan for your strategy. THIS SECTION IS NOT GRADED
2. PRACTICE:  In this section (two weeks) you will practice running your company. I will be your co-pilot guiding you in your evaluations and decision-making. You will manage your company for a period of 6 years (rounds). THIS SECTION IS NOT GRADED
3. APPLY (PART A). (COMPETITION ROUNDS): In this section, you will make your own decisions and run your company for a period of 8 years.  I will be acting as the Chairman of the Board – watching carefully how well you are looking out for the Shareholders best interests but not interfering with your management decisions (except for emergency situations).  On the other hand, I will always be available to support and guide you but only in response to your requests. THIS PART IS WORTH 70% OF YOUR FINAL GRADE – Note that the grade for this section is based on your balanced scorecard performance and is outside my control.
4. APPLY (PART B) SHAREHOLDERS REPORT/FINAL EXAM: Here you are asked to write a professional shareholders report showing how your company did in relation to: 1) the implementation of the company’s strategy; 2) the financial and operational condition of the company and 3) as compared to your competitors.  You are expected to identify and discuss your mistakes as well as your successes; what you have learned from the management experience and how you would manage the company in the future should your contract be renewed.

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