SAN ANTONIO – Students in Dr. Roberto’s Saldivar’s International Marketing class spent the last two months of the Fall 2017 semester working in teams on a business simulation project.
Dr. Saldivar said the simulation challenge, called Global DNA, hosted seven teams of his students and four computer-operated teams. Each team runs a simulated business that sells medical genetic testing devices around the world. The intent of the project is to place students in an environment without a clearly defined path and allow them to forge ahead.
The simulation challenged students to utilize business knowledge gained throughout the course, with team members taking ownership of four key aspects of the project – research and development, production, marketing, and finance.
One team – Nicholas Lucas, Sergio Romero, Isaac Currie and Lu Bai (pictured above with Dr. Saldivar) – rose to the top of the class during the project.
“I really want to congratulate this team,” Dr. Saldivar said. “Each team had the same resources, and they, by far, did the best. They were one of the top performers in a simulation that I've ever had.”
Dr. Saldivar graded the teams based on the performance of the simulated company and the goals the teams set at the start of the project, taking into account things like profitability, ability to raise capital, asset utilization and more. He presented the team of Romero, Currie, Bai and Lucas with personalized certificates in recognition of their work.
“Throughout the class, I really saw their dedication. They were asking intelligent and insightful questions, and that led to their performance,” Dr. Saldivar said. “And even though they didn't do as well in the practice round, they learned from it. That was the most important thing with the simulation – learning from your previous mistakes and improving.”
Romero, who led research and development, said internal communication played a pivotal role in the team’s success.
“I learned that in order to be successful in any project, we have to work together as a team. On every level of the simulation, we had to coordinate with each other to make sure we were making the right decisions and we were inputting the correct information,” Romero said.
The team admits it didn't get off to a good start in the early stages, but Bai said that sticking to the long-term strategy paid off in the end. He credits Dr. Saldivar with helping the team navigate the early struggles.
“In practice rounds, we had about four rounds of practice, (Dr. Saldivar) taught us a lot about how to go through global expansion and how to set up accounts payable and accounts receivable,” said Bai, who led team’s finance initiative.
Currie was tasked with overseeing the production side of the team’s efforts. He said they didn't panic when they found themselves in a hole early on.
“We knew we were behind at the start, but we also knew that if what we'd discussed worked, then we'd come out close to the top. We stayed calm under pressure, and I think that’s key in business or anything,” Currie said.
Lucas was the marketing lead. He said the team learned a lot during the project.
“The biggest thing that we learned as a team is that time management is one of the biggest keys, and always assessing our competitors during the simulation,” Lucas said. “Having that long-term goal set and being able to promote our product is another key that we were able to succeed in.”
Romero, a general business major and marketing minor, is a senior in the H-E-B School of Business, along with Lucas, who is majoring in International Business. Bai, an international business major, and Currie, a general business major, are juniors.