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Students bring Rexburg know-how to Harvard Business School

Two BYU-Idaho students got a glimpse into the Ivy League world during winter semester after assisting Harvard graduate students with the Capsim business simulation tool.

Harvard Business School (HBS) invited Capsim to present the business simulation to its first-year MBA students. Capsim then contacted Jason Scott Earl, faculty member in the BYU-Idaho Department of Business Management, because his students had significant success with the simulation. They wanted teaching assistants who could help the Harvard students learn how to successfully run the simulation in small groups. Earl recommended BYU-Idaho students Tyson Poulton and Justin Waters for the job.

During the Capsim simulation, students make decisions for an online company, coordinating areas such as research and development, marketing, production, human resources, and finance. Students run the simulated company over the course of a few days or weeks and observe how their own decisions affect their company.

More than 500 universities use the Capsim simulation every year. Based on the success of the simulated businesses, universities receive a score — and BYU-Idaho students’ scores have been in the top 10 percent for the past several years. Poulton and Waters scored in the top 2 percent in the country.

Earl worked directly with the HBS faculty and took turns instructing the MBA students in the classroom. After the instruction was completed, the 940 MBA students divided into 180 breakout sessions. Poulton and Waters then walked around to help individual teams with the business simulation.

Both Poulton and Waters saw this as a great learning experience. “We learned that this is about integration, not simulation. This is real-life experience,” said Poulton.

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