This is becoming a recurring theme for us, in both the academic and corporate sectors; and our experience highlights the value of using a business simulation as a tool for finance skills training.

At Coles College of Business, Dr. Alison Keefe is faculty for the executive MBA program. She says, “Using the Income/Outcome Business Simulation during the kick-off residency is a fast and effective way to eliminate student anxieties regarding their finance and accounting experience.”  Only 5% of their audience have an accounting degree, and fewer than 50% have experience creating a budgets, so the initial fear of finance is quite high. They have found that by using the Income/Outcome business simulation in the opening residency, they are able to rapidly overcome the fear, allowing them to introduce a broader and deeper range of materials than otherwise.

This past week we ran a finance skills workshop for an international manufacturing company. The attendees were mid- to upper management, including a lawyer, a PhD in Chemistry, plant managers and sales. Only a couple of those in attendance had formal finance or accounting training and fully two/thirds of the group identified themselves as ‘dreading’ the idea of dealing with finance. Twenty minutes before the scheduled end of the workshop, the class was offered the opportunity to finish early (and head for the open bar) or play ‘one more round’ of the simulation. They chose the game; and in doing so, they were actually choosing to consolidate the day’s learning and put it to use. This kind of turn-around, from ‘dread’ to total engagement, is quite common in our experience.  Again, the business simulation is engaging, it ‘draws in’ the learner; and in the process, it overcomes the fear of finance.

Both groups described above are using the one-day Business Decision & Results simulation.