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High school students get an inside look at business

Human resource simulation lets students try their hand at management strategies

10/24/03

The Williams College of Business shook with hirings and firings Thursday, Oct. 23, as 26 teams from 15 high schools tested their skills in the annual human resource management simulation. This is the fourth year for the simulation, in which teams compete with each other while simultaneously learning how to manage both people and profits.

The two-hour problem-solving event is the only one of its kind for high school students in the United States, according to Daewoo Park, professor of management at the University. “Simulation-based education has become a main trend in business education and corporate training,” he says. “This simulation helps introduce students to the business world and helps them understand how challenging and difficult it is. They have to deal with people, profits, morale, productivity, performance and other issues.”

The multimedia simulation is done on-screen, with each three-person team functioning as the human resource manager for a printing and publishing company. The goal of each team is to maximize profits over a four-year period by keeping employee productivity and morale as high as possible. In the course of the competition, students review personnel files, interview potential employees, promote or demote employees, adjust salaries, provide training, receive employee evaluations and get employee feedback. To help with decision-making, students have onscreen access to general information concerning human resource management concepts and strategies. Throughout the process, a profits box keeps teams up to date on how their personnel decisions are affecting company earnings.

Park says this type of experience is very important for prospective business students in the process of choosing a school. Seven students from the first two simulations ultimately chose to enroll at the University, he says.

This year’s event drew teams from Calvary Christian Academy, Colerain High School, Covington Catholic High School, Deer Park High School, Fairfield Local High School, Harrison County (Ky.) High School, Harrison High School, Mariemont High School, McAuley High School, Mother of Mercy High School, Northwest Career Center, Roger Bacon High School, Turpin High School, Withrow International Academy of Finance and William Mason High School.

After two hours of personnel moves, Harrison High School’s team of Adam Helsley, Chris Adams and Kevin Vaught scored the highest profit with a net of $217,325. McAuley High School’s Katherine Hart, Brittney Starkey and Shannon Burrill finished second with a net profit of $191,702. And Deer Park High School’s team of Bryon Wanstrath, Kyle Mason and Brandon Digiantonio came in third with a net profit of $182,967.