February 21, 2012

Shad Kearns Wins Online Business Management Simulation

Students at the UNL College of Business Administration are making a habit of competing and winning in an online business management simulation that includes over 3,500 students worldwide. The simulation, which challenges students to run an athletic shoe manufacturing business, is the key component to the Business Policies and Strategies capstone management course that integrates all facets of running a business.

Shad Kearns, who captured first place during the fall 2011 semester before graduating with degrees in both finance and marketing, was amazed at his success competing in The Business Strategy Game simulation.

“After the first rankings, I was in the top 50 and I was pretty surprised,” Kearns said. “It was neat to be in first among UNL students, but when I ended up being first worldwide that was really amazing.”

Dr. Terry Sebora, associate professor of management, has used the simulation while teaching the course through various iterations over the years. He believes the value to students is in the comprehensive nature of the program.

“I like the ability of the simulation to integrate, get feedback and compare yourself with your peers regarding your decision making,” Sebora said. “If you’re a marketing student and you only focused on marketing issues, how did that do for you? Can you run a company thinking of only one specialty? Students find out that you can’t.”

Kearns, who is from Rushville, named his shoe the E-Shadlee’s based on his nickname, and focused his attention on creating a high-end athletic shoe backed by endorsements from celebrities such as NFL quarterback Peyton Manning.

“I was learning to manage a company and at the same time how to beat out other competitors. I thought of myself as the Nike of the industry.”

Kearns’ cousin, Tanner Wiles who currently works for Cerner Corporation, also took first place a few years back as part of a CBA team competing in The Business Strategy Game.

Dr. Dennis Duchon, E.J. Faulkner Professor of Management, also uses the simulation in class and has seen first-hand how students learn to appreciate the dynamics of what it takes to run a successful company.

“The simulation gives students an incredibly realistic insight into managing an international business,” Duchon said. “They need to make financial, operations, marketing and human resource decisions in an environment that is fraught with uncertainty. They learn how all of these operational decisions are tied together while also learning to cope with uncertainty -- and they also learn to believe in themselves and their capabilities as aspiring captains of industry.”

Sebora sees the success of CBA students as a testimony to the education that they are getting in their undergraduate education.

“It reinforces to our students that they are getting a good business education, because our students have fared very well against their peers in the world, often finishing in the top tier of performers. When our students rise to the top it gives them confidence about their business education at CBA.”