Nikhil Chandra, a student from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow, who graduated this year, was thrilled about the Business Simulation in his final semester as it involved board games, which he used to play in his childhood days. His batch was the first that had the elective.
Nikhil played Monopoly and other games in Business Simulation, unlike listening to lectures or watching PowerPoint presentations in most of the classes. Professor Mrityunjay Tiwary, at the end of each class, would associate the games with the business subjects.
Jellybean Singh, another student said that the classes used to extend for around six to seven hours and it was a lot of fun.
Last year, the elective was awarded the Campus' Most Unconventional Course.
"Besides practical learning, there is a lot of fun and games. We have case studies, and internships in our course but when it comes to applying the concepts we learn, this is the closest to having a practical subject," added Jellybean.
IIM Professor Mrityunjay Tiwary was more of an outdoor sports guy during his Ph.D. days at IIM Bangalore. However, his friends were board game buffs. "I joined one of the board game gatherings in Bangalore, at repeated requests. I used to follow alongside my friends when they played and steadily, I got intrigued," he said.
"Normally we discuss the mistakes and other things about the game in brief. I realised that I was discussing some of the concepts that I studied in the management curriculum and that is when I decided to design a course that utilises board games to simulate the management concepts application," added Professor Mrityunjay.
It took one and a half years to put the course together and numerous trials before launching the course. "Generally board games are made for fun, but here, the goal is to learn while having fun. Thus, I needed to change the rules of these games and bring variations," said Mrityunjay.
There were several logistical challenges such as; these games are normally made for four to five people. However, Mrityunjay's classes had 25 to 60 students. Thus, he changed the single-player games to team games. "It involves the team dynamics to the course. Many times, teams lost because of their infighting," he explained.
Talking about convincing the management, Mrityunjay said, "They liked the concept. They approved the budget and other props for the games that I required. However, this course required some freedom from regulations such as extending class duration from one-and-a-half hours to four-and-a-half hours."
"These sessions not only teach the students new concepts rather also helps them in applying the concepts that they have grasped in this situation, making it the reason the course elective is available only in the last semester. The students can make business choices and see their repercussions," said Mrityunjay.
With the deteriorating COVID cases in India, the institutes might have to continue online teaching. However, Mrityunjay's Business Simulation cannot be taught online. "Fortunately, this course is offered only in December, January, and February. Hopefully, the situation will get better by then," he said.