Harvard Business Simulations


Srinivas Phani | S P Jain School of Global Management | srinivas.phani@spjain.org

Key Features

  • Simulators: Harvard Business Simulations
  • Students: Postgraduate (MBA students)
  • Class Size: 100
  • Assessment: participation (20%), simulation performance (10%), group presentation (20%), final group report (30%), individual reflective report (20%)
  • Pedagogy: Intensive delivery 2 x 2 hour sessions per day over nine days


S P Jain School of Global Management offers an education ethos that is strongly influenced by their mission of crafting global business leaders for the 21st century workplace. This school offers both undergraduate and postgraduate course but this case study focuses on the postgraduate only. S P Jain School of Global Management offers a ‘path-breaking multi-campus learning model and a new-age Business Education 2.0 curriculum’ offering two postgraduate programs; MBA Global and Masters of Global Business Administration.

Srinivas says: ‘MBA Global is for people - those who are having three plus years' experience…MGB, which is the Masters of Global Business program, is for zero to three years of experience’. The leadership simulation is only used in the postgraduate programs. The courses are unique in that each student is required to attend all campuses; the MGB for 16 months and the MGB for 12 months with a term (four months) at each international campus. According to Srinivas: ‘The primary focus of that simulation is leadership and a team building activities. How teams share their information, how it helps the team members to take an informed decision based on their interaction with each other’.

There are many simulations offered by HBSP and their website claims: ‘Simulations use real-world contexts to reinforce student learning. They are remarkably teachable, with simple but powerful administration tools. Flexible setup options let professors set learning experiences for a range of disciplines and course levels, from undergraduate to specialized graduate courses’.

Srinivas adds ‘From the student point of view, I would say knowledge retention is greater when they do simulation. At the start of the course they need a little bit of hand-holding initially, but once they get the hang of what the simulation is about and what is the focus of that simulation, they tend to learn more on the simulation. The concepts are clear, they [students] and I would say better’.

Learning Aims

The aims and objectives is for students to learn through team building skills. As Srinivas explains: ‘When the students are - of course there has to be pedagogy. There has to be a design, otherwise everything will fall flat. So where - once students have given a case study, one they've prepared on their own, some questions are given to them as a group to discuss. Come back to class, the faculty will randomly start asking questions and see where the class level is. From there the faculty takes on. It is more often better than one way audio, one way communication’.


The delivery format differs from other postgraduate and traditional university terms/semesters. The postgraduate courses are delivered intensely and rigorously over a nine day period.

  • 2 x 2 hour sessions per day over 9 days: Students are required to attend two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon with two simulations used and then rotated to cater for the number of students. Students will have continuous access to the simulation over the nine day period.
  • End of simulation debriefing session: At the end of the course, Srinivas explains: ‘The facilitator or the faculty in the classroom will have a debriefing session for the students. What difficulties, what steps they have taken and how each team has performed. Where they went wrong, where other things have taken decision. Which decision was a good decision, why it was a good decision, or why it was not a good decision’. Each day, the facilitator will offer debriefing sessions for the students to discuss what worked well and perhaps any improvements.


The Summary of Assessment below reflects an example of what a course may choose to use. Srinivas suggests this is just a general guide as each course facilitator may choose to alter the assessment for each course.  He states: ‘It depends on the simulation. Yes broadly, generally, there will be a reflective report to be submitted. There will be class participation. There will be individual performance on the simulation, how they have performed by using the simulation. That will have different stages. The simulation, every quarter if - for example let's say there were four quarters. Every quarter for a certain presentation it will be, let's say 10 per cent or 15 per cent, of it’.

Assessment Responsibility Weight
Participation Individual 20%
Simulation Performance Team 10%
Group Presentation Team 20%
Final Group Report Team 30%
Individual Reflective Report Individual 20%



This leadership simulation is taught online and students are placed into team. The only requirements are computer laboratory access, the educator or facilitator and access to the internet as all manuals, readings and associated material is available online. The courses are supported by Blackboard which enables further information and collaboration of information to be placed into a central location for students to access anywhere, at any time. The cost of the simulation is absorbed by S P Jain Global School of Global Management and the use of business simulations is strongly supported by senior management.


‘These simulations actually help [students] to assimilate what they learn in the classroom. Whatever they are learning in the theory point of view, they implement this and experience the practical side of it. When they are running the simulations they can make mistakes. In a real life business scenario, they can't do mistakes. If they do make mistakes in the real world there are implications. Here as a student, they can make mistakes and they will learn from those mistakes’ says Srinivas.

Additionally Srinivas explains: ‘We believe that these simulations will enhance students’ critical thinking and decision making capabilities as business managers. That means different scenarios are created and they make different decisions. Where they went wrong, why they went wrong, what can be the better way to look at the same problem. The retention from the students' point of view, the retention of knowledge, is greater when they use real-life simulations’. When asked would Srinivas recommend business simulations, his reply was ‘absolutely, 100 per cent’.


Simulations help students to assimilate what they learn in the classroom
Srinivas Phani