RIO GRANDE, Ohio — University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College seniors in the Emerson E. Evans School of Business are required to participate in the international Business Strategy Game as part of their capstone course. During the fifth week of the game, business management majors Merle Johnson and Lucas Befi became the first students from Rio to tie other teams from around the world for the first place ranking.
The game requires students to manage a mock manufacturing company by making decisions using skills they have learned in their classes. Each of the 10 weeks of competition represents one year of business. Business professor Roger Watson said he is excited his students are working hard on the project.
“This is the first time in the history of Rio Grande we’ve had students rank first. We’ve had students rank as high as seventh and fourth, but to see them rank first is a huge honor for the program,” Watson said. “This is their capstone course and all of my students have put countless hours of work into these projects. It involves not only an understanding and calculation of numbers, but the ability to analyze and interpret those numbers and the dynamics of business in the economy.
In addition to their first place ranking, Johnson and Befi also received the highest possible score of a 110. Watson said he is proud of his students for being able to keep up a global scale.
“It’s important to remember these rankings are to see how the students compare with others around the world. The real competition is within the class here at Rio,” Watson said. “Ranking in the top 100 is a huge achievement, and a first place ranking is even more rare. This shows Rio business students can successfully compete in a broader scale.”
Befi, of São Paulo, Brazil, said he has enjoyed taking part in the games and working with his classmate.
“This project has been a great experience for me. I’ve enjoyed working with Merle on this and I’m learning a lot from our teamwork,” Befi said. “It’s an honor to rank first and I’m grateful for the accomplishment.”
Johnson, of McArthur, said he was excited about the accomplishment and hopes to continue scoring high for the remainder of the games.
“I’m extremely happy about the ranking. I’ve always had a competitive nature, so this means a lot to me,” Johnson said. “It’s time consuming, but the game gives us a realistic idea of what to expect in the real-world business environment, so I really appreciate the experience.”
Students from the class have ranked in the top 100 of the competition for 19 of the past 21 semesters. Watson said he takes the semester without a ranking as praise for the class as a whole.
“This ranking and our students’ ability to make the top 100 shows the caliber of the students and their education here at Rio,” Watson said. “Even the two semesters we didn’t place, I took it as a complement because the students were doing so well in the classroom. No one could get ahead of the others because they were all fantastic.”
The competition is run by publishing company McGraw-Hill. According to the company’s website, 54,082 students at 611 universities in 54 countries have participated in the competition in the last year.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist with URG.