Students become CEOs for a block

By Thao Nguyen ’15

During Block 2, students in Financial Accounting became CEOs, running their own companies and making executive decisions in an online business simulation competition sponsored by the Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy.

Financial Accounting Students
Student Sam Chalkley, Breann Grell, Curtis Deremer, and Aeint Thet Ngon collaborate to manage their start-up company during the Financial Accounting simulation.

The simulation had eight rounds, which represented the first eight years of a start-up company selling sensors. In each round teams of students had to make decisions in four different departments: research and development, production, marketing, and finance, resembling how real companies operate.

All the companies participated in the same market. As a result, not only did the students learn to run their companies effectively, but also how to watch their competitors. Their performance was evaluated on several criteria, such as profit, market share, financial health, and customer satisfaction.

According to Professor Huan Cai, “the purpose is to provide students with hands-on exposure to how business practice affects financial statements and how we interpret financial statements.”

The four members of the first-place team discussed the lessons they learned during the competition.

“The key is to understand the relationship among all four departments of our business. A change in one division can lead to a change in another,” said junior Curtis Deremer.

Sophomore Aeint Thet Ngon added, “We have to apply our lessons in financial accounting in preparing our company’s finances, which is determined by our production plan. And a good production plan would not be realized without a good financing plan.”

According to sophomore Sam Chalkley, the most difficult part was group work. “It is really hard to finalize different ideas in one action plan,” he said. However, according to first-year Breann Grell, “the project is much more interesting with teamwork. We learned a lot from discussing among each other.”

Mark Remissong ’74, a Certified Public Accountant from Chicago, was on hand for the team’s final presentations and to add his own professional insights. During his career Remissong was a partner for the global accounting firm Ernst & Young, became the chief operating officer of two companies, and founded two start-up companies.