Leading-edge Research

Business Simulation Competition in the Virtual World

What if it was possible to step into a conference room in California and be face-to-face with a colleague in China? Although it seems like science fiction, new immersive 3-D technology makes it possible, and Rady School MBA students will be the first in the world to test out this type of virtual collaboration. The Rady Scjhool of Management is the business school wing of UCSD - the University of California at San Diego, USA.

The Rady School's groundbreaking project, VirBELA (Virtual Business Education Leadership Assessment), will create an immersive, virtual world where students can design a life-like avatar and interact in real time, much like the popular platform Second Life.

In this unique virtual environment, students will collaborate in global teams, socialize and network, receive coaching and attend seminars. The project is made possible by a $1.7 million Ideas to Innovation Challenge grant from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

To launch the project VirBELA and Rady struck upon the concept of a global simulation competition, leading to a worldwide search for an exciting and technically superior simulation platform. Yet it was only when they discovered IndustryMasters simulations that they found a provider able to deliver the level of sophistication and technical proficiency to be compatible with the virtual environment.

Now the project's inaugural program will feature a cross-university MBA business simulation competition as the first business competition to take place in the virtual world. Unlike many traditional competitions, the teams will be comprised of MBA students from multiple universities around the globe. According to the project manager Alex Howland, "The goal of this competition will be to develop global competencies by giving students experience working across time zones and with different cultures".

The business simulation is themed on sustainability, and teams will work together to design a product, make investment decisions and explore how to incorporate green technology in their production and business processes. Because the competition is taking place in the virtual world, researchers will have the opportunity to observe how the teams interact and behave. "We will research how people collaborate in the business competition and facilitate discussions with participants about those collaborations providing direct feedback to students about their teamwork skills," Howland said.

This is a truly groundbreaking project at the very leading-edge of simulation practice and leadership development - and IndustryMasters is proud to be a partner.


Rembisz & Associates, San Diego

The Virbela project was conceived and managed by our partner Rembisz and Associates

Rembisz & Associates (R&A) is an international consulting firm of organizational and corporate psychologists and management consultants utilizing psychological assessment and development principles to increase organizational performance through the enhancement of individual leadership and team effectiveness. They assist in executive assessment and selection, executive coaching and leadership development, team building, and in organizational development and managing change.

They are committed to helping organizations address the effects brought on by a rapidly changing, complex business environment. Organizations now recognize the practical link between bottom-line success and the effective management and development of the institution and its people. The nature and focus of their services are tailored to the unique needs and cultures of their client companies.


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VirBELA Overview & Competition