Since a few weeks, some strange beasts are invading the Leuven campus. Oh not as strange as a few years ago when people used to see this:
But it is strange enough to see simple A4 papers with names of toys companies like iToyz, Jamis Toys, etc. As well as a team of strange animals with green T-shirts in the wild. If we stay in the comfort of our home, just simply sitting in the sofa with a tablet in our hands (an iPad for iJules!), we could even spot a few e-mails sent to the Apollo mailing-list and browse the wonderful website of Jamis Toys ;-) (at least they have one).
They all said to belong to the IMEx game. Even other students in the full-time MBA as well as other part-time students in Ghent played or are playing this game. It is supposed to be the culmination of the MBA, the nirvana that transforms everything you learned in silos during 1 or 2 years in a giant soup of knowledge, a bit like a ligand in a metal complex. So, as first years students, we are a bit intrigued, we try to take advantage from the last moments we will be with 2nd students to grab some information about this “thing”.
Ok but what is the IMEx game? First, it’s an acronym for Integration Management Exercise. Well, it’s immediately less sexy … But it tells what it is: it is about developing and implementing a strategic plan, in group of 5 to 7 students representing a company, each of the participants having a role to play (the documentation states the following roles: CEO, HR manager, Finance Manager, Purchasing manager, Productions Manager, and Marketing Manager). The goal is obviously to beat other teams in terms of market share/share price but also employees happiness and environmental consciousness. The underlying goal is to apply what participants learned in the last 2 years: HR, marketing, finances, strategy, negotiations, etc. I guess this is also the place to put a bit of your personality since some “unplanned events” happened in this Apollo session: a fire in the factory, strikes (ok, both not so sexy again) and claims of child abuse (as in “child labour”) or environmental issues (and probably others, kept behind closed doors – and closed curtains – of break our rooms in Leuven).
So, yes, it’s a business game. And Vlerick has a web-based system as a technical backbone for it. From an external point of view, it seems to be a bit like a turn-based, role-playing game – only a bit more serious with tables and charts instead of real-time, gorgeous 3D characters ;-)
Of course there are business games in other business schools: FORAD, Industrad, Stratpharm (among other games) at INSEAD for instance. But since there is an association of business game producers (ABSEL, also using WordPress :-)), I wonder if there is also a kind of classification of business games. Which one is better overall or in specific domain(s)? Which one is the most user-friendly? Which one is the closest to reality? Can we make them compete one against each other (like in chess)? And is there any of them (including Vlerick IMEx) that can beat Capitalism (*), apparently the best business game out there?
So, ready for IMEx, next year?
(*) Capitalism is apparently so complex that one said “it should come with a free MBA in every box” :-)