Imagine playing a four-hour game where the ultimate prize is an on-the-spot job or internship offer at a major company. That scenario was a reality for nearly 200 Central Michigan University students last week at CMU’s ERPsim competition — an annual business simulation that serves as the ultimate job interview with leading Michigan, national and international companies.
ERPsim puts teamwork, classroom knowledge and critical thinking of students from the College of Business Administration to the test. Each round of the game, which lasts approximately 20 minutes, simulates multiple weeks in the life of a business. Students work in small groups to generate the highest net income for their hypothetical business using SAP — a technology tool that helps top businesses around the world run more efficiently and maintain a competitive edge. CMU is a world leader in SAP certification.
For employers, ERPsim is a chance to get a glimpse of a prospective hire beyond a résumé and standard interview.
“You’re able to see how people actually work in a team and handle pressure,” said Laura Marble, vice president of Michigan delivery systems and support for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offered two students permanent positions with the company as a result of their performance this year. Even students who face adversity as a result of their initial game strategy sometimes walk away with job offers based on their professionalism, as well as their ability to identify solutions and learn from their mistakes. A student’s assigned team mentor is typically the source of a job or internship, but some candidates are plucked from other teams through networking opportunities on competition day.
Senior Darin Wideman, of Ithaca, an information systems major, didn’t know he had caught the eye of the Blue Cross Blue Shield corporate team until he was approached with an invitation to discuss an internship offer.
“I wanted to put myself out there and gain more experience, but I’m totally blown away and thrilled,” Wideman said.
Students majoring in a variety of business programs spend three to four months preparing for competition with the guidance of a mentor from one of 35 participating companies. In addition to jobs, teams vie for friendly bragging rights and scholarships of up to $1,000 per person based on their final net income at the end of the game.
The winning 2016 ERPsim teams included General Motors, 3M, Dow Corning, ASF Holland, Harley-Davidson, Cargill and Monsanto.