The Strategy Simulation Challenge

The final term is finally upon us at Lancaster University and I thought this would be the perfect chance to share with you all a module that I enjoyed last term – The Strategy Simulation Challenge, which enables you to manage your very own virtual airline company!

My career ambition is to have a role which involves strategy planning, so I chose the module because I felt that it would be the perfect platform to gain insight into a strategy role. So, after signing up to the module at the end of my second year, I had been particularly excited when last term finally came around so that I could start the challenge.

For me, an appealing element of the module was the module design because it is very different to others I have studied. This is because it comprises of practical activities in a simulated environment which include making weekly strategic decisions for the airline, producing a company shareholder report and delivering a company presentation. The varied activities involved with the challenge made the module interesting and enabled me to learn about the different ways in which a company develops and communicates their strategy to various stakeholders.

At the start of the challenge, participants are split into teams and you can really get into role by allocating team members a management role. For example, within my team we allocated roles including marketing manager, human resource manager and financial manager. Then, one of the first activities to complete is to come up with a company name and catchphrase and design a logo. This was a particularly fun part of the module because it enabled us to apply our creativity whilst also allowing us to consider a brand strategy, such as the brand image we would like to portray.

A key element of the challenge was to choose a positioning for the airline and develop a strategy which would support the company to successfully achieve the chosen positioning. For example, you could choose to enter the market as a low cost airline carrier or a luxury airline carrier. Then throughout the challenge you have to identify the business activities and investments which will support you to achieve the strategy. For my company, we chose to position as a low cost, quality carrier airline and therefore we developed a strategy which would enable us to keep costs down and deliver to customers a good quality service.

The key decisions we had to make each week included expenditure decisions for business activities, including marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility and employee training. This meant that the challenge enabled us to visualise in practice the effect of increasing or decreasing the expenditure on business activities each week. However, the simulation programme also prompted me to consider other factors, such as lower customer demand in winter and the activity of competing teams. Therefore, the challenge also enabled me to learn about responding to competitors and dealing with elements which can influence an airline company.

My team were successfully able to develop a business strategy which led us to achieve a profit. After completing the module I feel more confident making strategic decisions and I have learnt how to create and implement a strategy for a business. I really enjoyed taking part in the module and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about business management or strategy management.

How international is the Master of Science in International Business & Strategy in reality?

Hi! I’m Tobias, and I am currently studying the Master of Science in International Business & Strategy programme. Before beginning this programme at Lancaster University Management School, I would never have expected to get such an international experience as I have gotten during the past year.

Tobias IBS

I remember my first day here in the United Kingdom: I arrived at the Manchester airport after a long flight from Hong Kong where I just finished my Internship. Waiting at the bus terminal of the airport for an organized bus to Lancaster. At that moment I started to realize, that I was the only European student in the hall – all others are from Asia. This discovery continued at the campus of the University. The graduate college is basically kind of a small village with students from all over the world. I started to share my flat with students from Russia, New Zealand, England, Thailand and Lebanon. My class of 28 students is a collection of 15 different nationalities.

All this internationalization brings so many things together not only in terms of studying but also in terms of social skills. I started to think in different ways and different perspectives. I have learned to speak in different languages and by doing a group work, it surprised me how people in different countries have various style of working. Of course it complicating the steps of achievement at the beginning, but in the end you did not only achieve the goal of the module, but also learned how to work and communicate with complete different people. This unique skill is so valuable since this kind of experience you will not find it in books which it will be an important skill for future international career.

As it would not be already enough international, the university provides even more opportunity for the person like me who are keen to explore a new experience. For example, I could choose an elective program in cooperation with the Peking University in China. In that context, I spent two incredible weeks at the Management School of the Peking University in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. And again, the class was another collection of nationalities: Only four students were coming from LUMS, about ten from top US universities, another ten from Australia and couple of students from other top ranked business school around the world. Moreover, this programme introduced us not only in theory into the Chinese market, but also through company visits and cultural trips to main touristic attractions in these Chinese cities.

Last but not least, by studying here, it is not just meeting people and saying goodbye after the graduation. We are talking about the beautiful friendship and relationship that we have been spending together in a year. Hence, in the future, it could grow as an international business connection or even true friends for the rest of your life.