Rio seniors rank among World’s best

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Thanks to online gaming, students in the Emerson E. Evans School of Business at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College know they’re prepared for success in a global economy.

Once considered somewhat of a social faux pas, online gaming is not only accepted within the Evans School of Business, it’s strongly encouraged.

“You can’t game the game,” Professor Roger Watson said. “It is something that students, in some cases, log in more than 100 hours over the course of a semester.”

The game is The Business Strategy Game, in which students from business schools throughout the world compete each week by running all aspects of their own international manufacturing company. Each week simulates one year of a business lifecycle, with performance measured in four categories: overall score, earnings per share, return on average equity and stock price.

Students who perform best in their class in each category are ranked against fellow top performers worldwide. At Rio Grande, the game is a major component of the senior strategic management capstone course.

This fall, three Rio Grande students ranked among the top 100 globally. Rio students work in two-person teams with the occasional individual team. The duo of Bonita Glasgow and Tiffany Duncan ranked 20th in return on average equity, while Jordan Jenkins twice ranked among the top 100 in overall score.

“To put their achievement in context, over the past twelve months, 45,959 students in 2,498 classes at 569 colleges or universities in 52 different countries participated in The Business Strategy Game,” Professor Watson said. “It shows students that they can compete in the broader context of students throughout the world.”

That fact certainly isn’t lost among the five seniors – Rachel Merry, Skylar Willford, Duncan, Glasgow and Jenkins – enrolled in the capstone course this fall.

When informed she placed 20th globally, Glasgow took a victory lap at Holzer Health Systems, where she works as a legal administrative coordinator.

“I couldn’t stop smiling,” Glasgow said. “At first (my coworkers) reaction was ‘Oh wow, good for you.’ Then I was like, this was out of 569 schools worldwide, and then their reaction was like, ‘Holy crap!’ So yeah, it’s pretty exciting.”

The game is described as challenging, invigorating and addicting, but also frustrating. A great week can take countless hours of work, but might not be enough to win your class, which is required to compete in the global rankings.

Rio’s success, however, is nothing new.

The game has been a component of the Evans School of Business for roughly 20 years. Since it went online in the fall of 2006 with global rankings, Rio students have ranked among the top 100 in 14 of last 15 semesters.

“What we’re doing is every single facet of a business. It’s amazing what all goes in there,” Glasgow said. “You’re at every single level and have control over every decision that goes into a business. You’re just two people making the decisions that can sometimes take 100 people.”

Business decisions deal with everything from construction, sales, wholesale, retail, staffing, shipping, marketing, royalties and so much more.

Glasgow, who transferred to Rio after first attending a larger university, insists Rio students have a distinct advantage thanks to the uniquely personalized education each student receives because of the 16:1 student-teacher ratio.

“It was very difficult to feel at home in a classroom with 50, 60 kids,” she said. “The professors really didn’t care.

“The professors here at Rio really get to know you, they remember you and anything you want to share,” Glasgow continued. “I love that part of Rio; I really do. The professors are always helpful. They want to see you succeed and they’ll do whatever they can.”