University Relations and Communications

College of Business students run top simulated company in the world

November 23, 2011



Pat Holman, College of Business, 657-2035
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU Billings takes top honors in simulated business challenge for fifth time


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Students at Montana State University Billings tackle world-class issues on a daily basis.  This month, however, a pair of College of Business students proved they are world-class CEO material by winning an international business plan competition.

Tyler and RobertTyler Melugin and Robert Stricklin, both juniors at the MSU Billings College of Business, won the 2011 Fall Foundation Business Simulation Challenge earlier this month. An international competition, the challenge saw entrants from more than 280 universities on five continents.


This is the fifth time MSU Billings students have won the web-based simulation competition.


Melugin, a marketing major from Billings, and Stricklin, a management major from Hysham, used what they learned in upper-level business management classes and simulation experiences provided by Adjunct Assistant Professor Pat Holman. Early in November, the duo were named one of six teams to reach the finals and, over the weekend of Nov. 12-13, competed in a 48-hour, high-pressure playoffs to win the competition.


The students used a balanced decision-making and resource allocation approach to earn 725 points out of 1000 on the Balanced Score Card and win the event. For them, it was a matter of putting their theory into practice.


“This isn't reading my book and remembering definitions,” Stricklin said. “It is real world analyzing of what is possible, implementing a strategy to make my business as profitable and efficient as possible.”


The finals demand a weekend of focused decision making. Students are assigned a fictional company and make decisions on production schedules, new product offerings, marketing, pricing, forecasting and finances are contracted into hourly rounds so there is very little time to analyze the competition and the pressure is intense.


Competitors in the finals this year included students from the University of Maryland, Washburn University (Kansas), Cornell College (Iowa), Baylor University and BYU-Idaho.


Stricklin said he entered the challenge because “competition is the key motivator for me, along with the fact I feel it has relevance toward my area of education.”  For a competitive person, he said, winning was an added bonus.


“I got a sense of accomplishment and something I can put on my resume,” he said. “It was confirmation that my knowledge of this game is relatively high compared to most and that I am able to look at the big picture and recognize an effective strategy.”


The Foundation Business Simulation Challenge is a global online competition held in the spring and fall semester each year. The competition is hosted by Capsim Management Simulations, Inc. of Chicago, a global leader in developing and delivering business simulations that prepare students to run profitable businesses.


Brendan Langen, Capsim’s Challenge Coordinator, said “The competition finalists may still be at university, but they have already learned what it takes to be able to balance a company’s operational, financial and sales goals under pressure. The challenge gives business students the chance to pit their business skills against top competition around the world and see if they have what it takes to compete in an intense, time constrained management experience.”


The annual competition is open to all students who have used a Capsim business simulation in their university course.


Founded in 1985, Capsim Management Simulations develops and delivers business simulations that prepare practicing and aspiring business people to run profitable businesses. The programs create rich learning experiences that give participants — whether in an academic or corporate setting — the opportunity to practice the skills and build the business acumen that are behind today’s successful companies.


To find out more about the MSU Billings College of Business and areas of emphasis, go to


PHOTO ABOVE: MSU Billings business students Tyler Melugin of Billings, left, and Robert Stricklin of Hysham teamed up this month to run the top simulated business company in the world. This photo was taken just moments after the students completed a 48-hour web-based simulation challenge on the weekend of Nov. 12-13.