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An early lesson in business success

Local high school students vie for CMU scholarships in a business simulation game

Contact: Heather Smith


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Students from Mount Pleasant, Beal City, Sacred Heart, Alma and Shepherd high schools huddled around tables at Central Michigan University, ready to run a successful simulated business. High School ERPsim was a chance to learn how to manage a company, but students also were competing for much more — the opportunity for each person on the winning team to earn a $500 scholarship to the university's College of Business Administration.​

"With computer games like Lemonade Stand, you have to think about the functions of a business. This is somewhat alike in terms of​ being a business simulation, but the difference is that we are using the actual system many corporations​ use around the world."

 Mary Geib, a senior from Fenton

Every spring, CMU students compete in ERPsim — a simulation that gives players a glimpse of what it is like to manage a business. Similar to popular games such as Lemonade Stand and Rollercoaster Tycoon, ERPsim participants determine how, when and where they spend money from their simulated company budget. At High School ERPsim, more than 30 area youth — mentored by CMU students — work together to decide how they will run a bottled water business and where they will focus their budget.

"With computer games like Lemonade Stand, you have to think about the functions of a business," said Mary Geib, a senior from Fenton. "This is somewhat alike in terms of being a business simulation, but the difference is that we are using the actual system many corporations use around the world." ​

"I never had this type of​ business exposure when I was growing up. It really benefits the students in the long run to get a taste of SAP and what they could do with a major at CMU.​"

 Wayde Lawrence, a senior from Waterford

Each team is taught how to manage their business using SAP — a software tool used by leading companies around the world run efficiently and maintain a competitive edge. Over the course of three rounds, SAP simulates how a business grows or declines based on the team's decisions. Each round of the game simulates multiple weeks in the life of a business. The team with the highest net income at the end of three rounds wins.

"I never had this type of​​ business exposure when I was growing up. It really benefits the students in the long run to get a taste of SAP and what they could do with a major at CMU," said Wayde Lawrence, a senior from Waterford.

For the CMU student mentors, it also was a learning experience.

"As a mentor, this experience has taught me to think in broader perspective and for a team," said Apoorva Parupudi, a graduate student from Hyderabad, India.

CMU is a world leader in SAP certification and introduces its students to the software in the classroom, but high school students rarely have the chance to gain SAP experience so early on in their education.

"Most people don't know about SAP until they are in college. Just having an awareness of it in high school is a big benefit," said Tyler Grady, a senior from Midland. ​​​


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