Dundee Business School Students Become Fashionistas For A Day!

Case Study by Ken Thompson

Background to the customer

We headed to Abertay University in Dundee, the first University in the UK to be recognized as a Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education, to run our retail fashion simulation CATWALK. The simulation was run with a group of business students from various courses including accountancy and marketing.

Customer needs

The University wanted the students to be given the opportunity to apply their knowledge from the class room to a real life scenario. A requirement was for a simulation which allowed students from the business faculty to come together and share their knowledge. There was a need for a team based simulation to allow students to experience working in teams in a controlled, time pressure environment allowing them to find out the realities of running a business. catwolk named certifcates v2

The Solution

The CATWALK retail fashion simulation was chosen as there are various different business decisions students have to make within it. These include what designs to use, supplier selection,choosing supplier development activities, what price to sell products for, how many units to order and selecting the most appropriate promotional campaigns to use. This complexity and variety of decisions mixed with an abundance of sales figures to analyse, gives teams an insight into the bigger picture of running a retail business.

There are various key skills required for a team to succeed in CATWALK, these include:

  • Establishing a strong strategy from the outset
  • Quickly responding to market shocks
  • Running a profitable business
  • Ensure designs are on trend
  • Ensure the business meets CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility targets and suppliers are being supported according to their maturities
  • Strong team work
  • Good time management
  • Proficient analytical skills

Participant feedback

Some direct quotes from the participants include:

"I learnt how important it is to have a solid strategy from the beginning and to keep referring back to it instead of getting side tracked."

"Brings together all of the learning I have gained from the last 3 years and shows the relevance of taught theory - I should have had this 2 years ago!"

"One small change can affect the whole market significantly,makes you think through the logic more before making decisons."

"Supplier development is crucial, need to work with all of your suppliers and not neglect any, because if something bad happens it will reflect badly on your brand."

"Loved the competitiveness and prize giving at the end, made it feel like a real competition."

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More about Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Founder of Business Simulations Ltd.

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