The Centre for Executive and Graduate Education (CEGE) provides opportunities for deeper learning by delivering robust course content in ways that engage students to study, integrate and apply what they have learned. Deeper learning fosters competencies required to participate within our social milieu: critical thinking, collaborative and communication skills. CEGE’s commitment to their students was dramatically evidenced in the GLO-BUS Simulation introduced by Dr. Carolan McLarney in the 2018 winter semester of International Business.
GLO-BUS is an International Business Strategy Simulation. Participants run companies that compete for global market leadership in two product categories: (1) wearable video cameras that deliver stunning video quality and have powerful photo capture capabilities (comparable to those designed and marketed by global industry leader GoPro) and (2) sophisticated camera-equipped copter drones that incorporate a company designed and assembled action- capture camera and that are sold to commercial enterprises.
Denise Hinds, Patrick Law and Golnaz Zilabi were members of “IRIS Cameras,” the class team that finished 1st place in the GLO-BUS simulation exercise conducted during IB Winter 2018. In late July, an invitation was given to “IRIS Cameras” to participate in the GLO-BUS Best-Strategy Invitational (BSI), an event to manage a GLO-BUS company in competition against companies from 10 to 11 other universities and business schools. The Invitational was to be conducted online from July 30 – August 18 and entailed a 10-round playing of GLO-BUS among participants from universities worldwide. Denise and Patrick accepted an invitation to represent Dalhousie University.
CEGE Connection reached out to Denise and Patrick for their insights into the BSI Invitational:
Denise Hinds & Patrick Law:
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
When we set out on the BSI journey, we agreed that we must believe that the product or service of our company would benefit others and be good for the world. We decided to name our company ‘Jenuine’ as a play on the word ‘Genuine’ and a way to represent our business beliefs. In addition, we were drawn to the meaning of “jen” which signifies “the cardinal Confucian virtue of benevolence to one’s fellowmen.”
“Begin with the end in mind.”
From the start, we worked with two principles to give us the edge over the other schools:
- Long-term fundamentals beat short-term decisions every time: Other competitors will focus on short term gains because it feels good “in the moment” but does not guarantee long-term results. We used this knowledge to our advantage and directed our efforts on choosing sustainable strategies.
- Measure what matters and ignore what doesn’t: Rather than revisiting past trends to determine whether our strategies were working out, we stayed focused on our competitive advantages. In the end, our company fundamentals were the most important benchmarks of our performance and success.
“In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.”
Speaking of competitive advantages, we wanted to set up a “moat”. We realized early on that our product had to be as different as possible in good ways. As Sir John Templeton once wrote, “If you want to have a better performance than the crowd, you must do things differently from the crowd.” We focused on developing a long term durable competitive advantage by selling/producing our products with larger margins than our competitors. To learn more on this topic, there is a great article on moats (durable competitive advantages): Measuring the Moat by Vishal Khandelwal.
“…investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
We did several things to buy into the inherent margin of safety, from our high cumulative R&D approach; our sensitivity analysis activity; to the number of workstations added and robotic upgrade investments. Of course, forecasting and competitive assumptions played a significant role, as did marketing our product well. We agreed with Henry Ford, that “stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time”.
The best way for us to strategize our next move, was to try to understand our competitors by preparing for every round. This in turn required us to review the competitive intelligence report, financial statistics, benchmarks pages to see if we were meeting or beating our targets (in order of importance). In the words of Warren Buffett, “risks come from not knowing what you’re doing.”
What do business students need to know?
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”
In everything we do, we must do it with integrity. As business students, we need to make long-term decisions for those long-term benefits. As students in the MBA (Leadership) stream, we chose to get involved in an extra-curricular activity to showcase our talents and education. We discovered that the GLO-BUS Best Strategy Invitational was not just about business strategies, ethics, marketing, competitor assumptions, financials, or player psychology. It was about a deeper, more profound recognition that we are involved within a global community that requires our highest participation and best efforts.
Dalhousie University and, in particular, the Centre for Executives and Graduate Education (CEGE) offers students the required lessons, the deeper learning to thrive within the competitive world of business. More importantly, CEGE creates an inclusive environment that fosters critical thinking about engaging within a world that offers many opportunities and possibilities.