The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization hosts an annual competition focused on growing successful startups. The CEO Startup Simulation Challenge is a bracket style tournament, in which university CEO chapters across the nation compete against one another using the Marketplace Live simulation. The competition, in its second year, entertained 26 teams. The experience has received rave reviews from participants.
The first round of the competition began on February 3rd. All 26 teams were paired against computer-simulated teams. They competed against the computer for four decision periods or business quarters. The eight teams with the highest balanced scorecard score were able to move on to the finals. These teams were forced to compete against one another, instead of a computer-simulated team. Their decisions were affected by the overall market performance and the decisions of their competitors.
CEO Manager of Membership Operations Michael Luchies has organized and executed this event. Luchies described this year’s tournament as more unpredictable and competitive compared to the previous year. The teams that led the first round faced greater competition as the competition progressed. The previous year’s winners, Clarkson University, dominated the first quarter, but fell behind the competition as the market changed.
This year’s competition was fierce. The top three teams all had strong, but diverse strategies. “It was obvious that they had spent a lot of time on their strategic moves and how they would hold off competitors,” Luchies said, “[but] all three had different paths to their final positions.” University of Nebraska – Omaha made an aggressive late push to secure a third place finish. Louisiana State University was able to hold on to market position and land a second place status. It was the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg who made the strong finish to first place, and finish with the highest cumulative balanced scorecard score.
This competition offers a unique experience to students pursuing an interest in entrepreneurship. “Students are able to make decisions that they may not have been exposed to in classes or in a textbook,” Luchies said. “The simulation may open up new ideas about the current marketplace and will better prepare them for the breadth of decisions that have to be made in a real business.” The University of South Florida – St. Petersburg won national recognition and $1000 in cash from CEO.
Entrepreneurship is a growing focus for most business schools. CEO is hoping to increase its presence on campuses through student CEO chapters. “Participating in a CEO chapter will help students get active in starting a business now and gaining skills and connections that they will need in entrepreneurship,” Luchies said. The mission of the organization is to help students grow through real experience in entrepreneurship.