In an Australian first, Deakin Business School (DBS) competes at a one-of-its-kind international management competition.
A team of DBS students has delivered a strong debut performance as the first Australian team to compete in an international business competition based on the unique online learning platform MonsoonSIM.
Hosted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the 5th annual MonsoonSIM Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) Competition International Grand Final brought together 26 top student teams from eight countries with China and Australia participating for the first time.
Accounting students Hayden Riley, Jennifer Qi Fu, Aidan Le Get, Joshua Segal and Pinxiu Zhou represented DBS at the showcase event after in-class MonsoonSIM participation, weekly training sessions (coached by DBS academics Dr Edwin Lim, Dr Christine Contessotto and Mr Paul Liew) and club games with global university teams.
Also representing DBS in Hong Kong was Professor Peter Carey, Head of Department of Accounting, who was a key panel speaker at the event and provided valuable insight in Australian education pedagogy and the challenges of transforming education systems.
MonsoonSIM is a cloud-based business simulation game where players run a virtual company and compete for a spectrum of financial and non-financial KPIs such as profit margin, cash flow, market shares, inventory level, customer complaint and staff retention.
The innovative business-training platform was launched into DBS’s Department of Accounting curriculum in 2017 to provide experiential learning – with an emphasis on strong team dynamics – in a friendly and competitive online environment.
Dr Lim, a senior lecturer with DBS’s Department of Accounting, says it was an ‘eye-opening experience’ for the students who performed well in their first appearance at an international MonsoonSIM competition.
‘They topped several KPIs of the games within their allocated group but unfortunately did not score enough overall to be in the top three of that allocated group to get into the final. However I highly commend our students' efforts and they made a great start. This positive experience will make Deakin teams even stronger in the future,’ he says.
Reflecting on the experience, Hayden Riley says it was exciting to be part of the competition which boasted a culture of fun, learning and networking.
‘Having a Deakin team to compete in Hong Kong allowed us to network with other universities in Asia and the continued participation in the international competition will only strengthen these networks. I also want to the thank Edwin for all work he has put in organising our training and development over the past few months. He has been really easy to work with and a great resource in guiding us through the entire process.’
Jennifer Qi Fu says it was a privilege to represent Deakin at the competition and, although packaged as a ‘game’, MonsoonSIM reaches far beyond textbook learning.
‘It has brought theories to life and we’ve gained insight into the multiple facets that are required to ensure successful management of an optimal business. I have thoroughly enjoyed the MonsoonSIM experience. Apart from participating in the competition, we also gained invaluable tips from corporation leaders and formulated lasting friendships with the teams from the other countries,’ she recalls.
Team member Joshua Segal says attending the competition has been the highlight of his Deakin studies and it was a privilege to represent the first Australian team.
‘Throughout our preparation it reinforced how important skills such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking and planning are required to be successful in operating a business. I was able to gain an insight into commerce which can’t necessarily be taught and sometimes overlooked in a standard and rigid “textbook” curriculum.’
Recommending the experience to other Deakin students, Joshua says that while accounting can sometimes be viewed as tedious, MonsoonSIM provided an engaging, competitive learning environment that produced friendly rivalry and strong camaraderie.
‘It’s not often you get the opportunity to converse and connect with like-minded students, mentors, professors and successful businessmen and women from countries all around the world.’
As the first team from an Australian university to compete with only in-class learning, Aidan Le Get says they had to learn to work together as a team and gain a greater understanding not only roles but the game itself.
‘This drove us to learn and interact as a team, strategise, develop and improve our ability to communicate. MonsoonSim requires, and builds on, knowledge of ERMs and businesses which we have encountered through life and coursework it required each of us to master a module/area of the business we were simulating and interact with others to coordinate and implement a strategy to ensure we managed a successful business,’ he explains.
One of the highlights he adds, was engaging with a diverse and international selection of individuals and teams.
‘We met and learned from their presentations about different strategies and approaches to playing MonsoonSIM … I came away with a greater understanding how organisations function, a better understanding of communication and teamwork need in work and life as a whole.’
For Pinxiu Zhou, participating in the competition was a ‘truly memorable experience’ and she says MonsoonSIM not only provides a platform for developing technical skills but also soft skills.
‘Thanks to MonsoonSIM, I am now good at critical thinking and it’s enhanced my flexibility. The highly competitive market environment forced me to keep monitoring pricing trend, analysing competitors’ strategy and changing our strategy at once.
She adds that “thinking outside the box” was one of the stand-out competencies she gained from the competition.
‘There is no fixed strategy for winning games, the only thing that matters is the coordination … with the support from other departments, I was able to adopt my crazy plans to boost market share for my department in the competition. In all, my soft skills are now well developed and I’ve gained knowledge of how businesses are run which gives me confidence for future work roles.’