What is a Business Simulation?

A Business Simulation is a computer-based model of business processes and dynamics. At PriSim we combine simulations with lectures, exercises, discussions and a fun competition to achieve an engaging learning experience. As our customers will tell you, PriSim simulation courses are one of the best ways to learn about business and finance.

The information used to design our simulations is taken from real-world businesses operating in the actual marketplace. We use this information to create the foundation for the strategic, financial, and operational relationships that participants observe in the simulations and financial reports.

When we build a business simulation, we do our best to incorporate the important dynamics of the marketplace. However, simulations are only representations of real organizations operating within a marketplace. Although our simulations are based upon the dynamics of actual businesses, clearly we cannot account for all business dynamics. We limit the scope of the dynamics, and thus the participants’ decisions, to focus their time and thoughts on issues that are critical to their development as an effective business decision-maker.


Why Use a Simulation?

  1. Participants can learn more because they are engaged in the learning process

Engagement in the learning process means more than simply listening to someone talk about topics such as strategy, finance, and business planning. True engagement involves listening, debating, analyzing, and actively applying the subject matter. Studies have found that when people engage in this manner, information-retention jumps from 20% to nearly 80%. The wisdom required in today’s business world cannot be developed only through traditional teaching methods; it must be gained through experience.
  1. The consequences of taking risks are reduced

Because participants are making decisions that may be new to them, they are bound to require some practice. When participants are put into the realistic business environment provided by the simulation, they can practice those decisions and gain on-the-job experience without the risks and implications of making those decisions in the real world.
  1. See the big picture

The broad range of business dynamics encountered in a simulation will increase participants’ business acumen. Participants will be better prepared to apply the lessons learned from the simulation, and to improve their performance, when they return to the real world and make real business decisions.



Sample Course Agenda

The sample course agenda shows the elements of a typical PriSim® course. We can work with you to modify the topics, the timing, and the number of course-days to fit your needs.

Sample Course Agenda
NOTE:Click image to see agenda.

The Simulation Process

Participants are broken into separate management teams. Their challenge is to manage and improve a business for several simulated years in a competitive marketplace. During each round participants will:

  • Assess the company’s strengths, weaknesses, and current and past performance.
  • Analyze opportunities and threats in the external market.
  • Benchmark against competitors.
  • Set direction and strategy.
  • Execute the business plan.

At the end of each simulated year teams are given feedback on their performance. The management Team that runs the “best” company over several simulated years of competition wins!


Three of our most popular Business Simulations

Teaching Methods

PriSim’s instructional designers have developed a large tool-kit of teaching approaches that can be
used in any combination to accomplish your unique learning objectives:

Pre-Work – participants are given ~1.5-hours of prework to be completed prior to the class to prepare them for the challenge ahead. Materials may include a Case Study Guide, HBR articles on Decision Making, Strategy, or Leadership, and a questionnaire, among other materials.

Computerized Business Simulations – that challenge teams to apply business concepts and strategies as they run an industry-specific business in a dynamic, evolving, and competitive marketplace. Learn More >>

Lectures and Discussions – on key business subjects such as strategy, finance, operations, teamwork, and leadership.

Pen-and-Paper Exercises – to focus on specific calculations such as Net Present Value and Break-Even Analysis.

Memo Engine(TM) – that presents teams with unique, unexpected industry/company-specific challenges outside of the simulation that must be immediately solved before proceeding in the simulation. Learn More >>

Table-Top Board Games – as a supplement to highlight specific financial concepts. Learn More >>

Classroom Feedback and Debriefs – after each competitive round.

After-Action Review – at the end of the course teams present their strategies in a group debrief, and each participant shares a key takeaway from the class that will be applied on-the-job.

Flexible Configurations

Our simulations and classes are very flexible and can be configured many different ways:

Number of Teams – As few as 2 and as many as 8 teams can compete in an “industry”. Multiple industries can be run for larger groups.

Participants – We recommend team sizes of 3-6 participants; however, teams can be composed of as few as 1-participant to as many as needed. Single classes or concurrent class-sessions can be run depending upon total class size.

Course Length – Classes can be run over a 1-4 day timeframe. Most of PriSim’s clients choose to run 2-day or 3-day classes.

Continuous Learning Approach

An effective teaching approach must ensure that learning continues long after the class is over. PriSim’s course agendas include time for participants to reflect on, share, and commit to on-the-job applications of course learning. In this way, students maximize their retention of course concepts and increase the probability of application in the real world. PriSim also works with clients to implement additional post-course learning approaches such as strategic projects, learning plans, action-plans, etc.