A team of business students from Plymouth University are celebrating after topping the charts in a global competition designed to test their strategic management expertise.

Chukwuka Onyibe, Qun Shen, Yuxuan Zhong, Huiyu Yang, and Weijie Wu – all enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Business Management course – were on top of the world for two consecutive weeks in the international strategy game, Glo-Bus.

An online simulation in strategic management, the game is used by universities and colleges all around the world, teams have to prepare and adapt business plans amid fluctuating financial conditions and to meet the expectations of stakeholders and society.

During a five-week period, almost 3,000 teams from more than 140 different higher education institutions played the game, with a Plymouth team emerging on top for two consecutive weeks in rankings compiled by its coordinators.

Lecturer in International Management Learning Dr Stephen Wilkins, who leads the Strategic Management module within the BSc (Hons) Business Management course, said:

“Glo-Bus is a really valuable learning experience. Students can put the theory and business knowledge they’ve learned in lectures into practice, to see how textbook theory can influence real-world business decisions and performance. These students have demonstrated that they possess the knowledge and analytical skills to make winning business decisions, and I would like to think their success demonstrates the quality of the students we have here and the quality of the education we provide.”

During the course of the strategic management module, the team of students played the game twice a week for five weeks, with each decision round representing one year in the life of the virtual company they had created, Avalon.

They were given large amounts of information and tools to perform data analysis so that they could make decisions about things such as product specifications, selling prices, production output, marketing, financing and corporate social responsibility.

In each round, the teams had to amend their strategies according to changes in their company’s external environment – such as changing interest and exchange rates, and competition from other organisations – with the objective being to gain a competitive advantage, achieving the financial and social expectations of shareholders and society in general.

After every decision round, each company’s performance was translated into a points score based on five criteria, such as return on equity, stock price and company image rating.

Student Qun Shen said: 

“The game is very complex and it took a lot of time and effort to run our company, but I enjoyed taking part and I have learnt many tips for running a real business."

Team leader Weijie Wu added:

“We are really pleased to be recognised as the top Glo-Bus company in the world and we feel that all our hard work has paid off. The challenges were tough but we worked well as a group and I feel I have learnt a lot about different ways to offer strong and effective leadership.”