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Developing workforce-ready students through business simulation

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Published: 12 July 2023

Are you a student looking to enhance your employability skills and gain a competitive edge in the world of work? At the University of Sunderland in London, we are committed to providing innovative opportunities for our students to develop their entrepreneurial mindset and thrive in their careers. Our recent careers and employability short course featuring the business simulation SimVenture Evolution, has successfully equipped two talented students, Aishwarya and Neldzhan, with the skills and confidence they need to excel in their chosen fields. 

Under the guidance of Tanya Dunne, Head of the Services for Students Department, we collaborated with SimVenture's Learning and Development Managers, Lesley Strachan and Mike Ashwell, to design a 6-week extracurricular short course that would empower our students and nurture their entrepreneurial spirit. The course utilised SimVenture Evolution, an online business simulation, which allowed students to run a virtual bicycle manufacturing business and make critical decisions across various areas, including marketing, operations, research and development, finance, and sustainability.


In designing this course, Mike Ashwell, Learning Development Manager of SimVenture and course leader, highlighted the fundamental role of SimVenture Evolution. He explained, "We use SimVenture Evolution as the basis of this course as it provides a risk-free platform where students with limited previous business exposure can make a wide range of business decisions and analyse the outcomes." 

Lesley Strachan, Learning and Development Manager at SimVenture highlights the real-world learning experience provided by SimVenture Evolution: "Rooted in real-world learning and application, our online business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, can also be used 24/7, allowing students to work collaboratively either on-site or remotely." 

The business simulation course challenged our students to compete against each other in a virtual market, making strategic decisions for their simulated businesses. Aishwarya and Neldzhan emerged from the course with newfound confidence and valuable insights into the complexities of running a business. 

Aishwarya, an MBA student specialising in Human Resource Management, initially felt overwhelmed by the prospect of using a new digital software application. However, her excitement to run a simulated business soon outweighed any concerns. Reflecting on her experience, Aishwarya shares, "I discovered that even seemingly insignificant details can have a significant impact on a business. I am now aware that I must assume full responsibility for my failure or success." 

A photo from Neldzhan Mollahalilova (student)

Neldzhan, a recent graduate with an MSc in Finance and Management, aspires to work in compliance, strategy planning, and consulting. She recognised SimVenture Evolution as a practical simulation for organisational learning and growth. Neldzhan expresses her transformation, stating, "The course enabled me to re-evaluate my skillset. I became aware that I could demonstrate my operational and management skills, which made me feel more confident and knowledgeable." 

Both students praise SimVenture Evolution for its effectiveness in developing their business skills. Aishwarya highlights the software's unique features, stating, "I thought that the software was unique, and with the help of its 'History' section, I could even analyse my past mistakes easily!" Neldzhan affirms, "SimVenture is an authentic and adaptable resource that individuals or groups can utilise to better understand how businesses function."

SimVenture Dashboard Illustration

The impact of the employability skills short course extends beyond the virtual world. Aishwarya, who manages her family's construction business in India, plans to implement changes and make the business more digitally friendly. Neldzhan, on the other hand, credits the course with helping her overcome challenges and develop a more confident and knowledgeable approach to her career aspirations. 

In conclusion, we are proud to have provided Aishwarya and Neldzhan with the employability skills they need to thrive in their respective fields. Their experiences with SimVenture Evolution have been invaluable in shaping their understanding of business operations and decision-making. We extend our gratitude to Tanya Dunne and the entire team at SimVenture for their collaboration in developing and delivering this meaningful short course for our students. 

If you are a student at the University of Sunderland in London looking to enhance your business and management skills, we highly recommend you apply for the SimVenture business simulation short course once it is advertised next. This online business simulation offers a realistic and immersive experience, providing insights into the complexities of running a successful business. As Aishwarya advises, "Please don't ignore even small sections in the simulation – they really have a huge impact throughout the year on the business!" 

We extend our congratulations to Aishwarya and Neldzhan for their accomplishments, and we are excited to witness the bright futures that await them. We look forward to assisting you in your journey toward becoming workforce-ready and successful in the business world. 

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