Nick Mansur: My Most Valuable Busn 70 Lesson.
My worst fear came true in my freshman year BUSN 70 class: coming up in last place in our group project assignment. Here is a short story of how I turned failure into a constructive learning experience.
Intro to Business (BUSN 70) is the first business class all first-year undergrads take in the Leavey School of Business. The curriculum is structured to introduce students to every branch of business such as Management, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Operations etc. This gives new students a taste of each major, ultimately making their choice of declaring their major a lot easier.
In this class, we use a simulation, Mike’s Bikes, to replicate how to run a retail business. Mike’s Bikes is designed to be a public company with a full variety of bike products. Each week, your team “rolls over” into the next simulated fiscal quarter to evaluate if your business is performing well and if your shareholder value is strong. Keep this in mind, the absolute key to a public business: satisfy your shareholders. In my randomly selected group, our team did not collaborate and strategize effectively compared to other teams. We had poor supply chain errors, premature product releases, and did not finance our company correctly to be profitable. As a result, our SHV (shareholder value) dropped significantly compared to the rest of the class. We concluded the simulation with a SHV of $4.83, likely the lowest in LSB history.
I began to accept the inevitable fact that my grade was going to tank. I had done well on exams, quizzes, and my presentation, yet I kept kicking myself why I couldn’t take leadership to conquer this group project. After consulting with Professor Harris in his office hours, redemption was possible in the project reflection. I articulated and analyzed why retail businesses suffer from poor management and flawed supply chain operations. A business cannot be profitable without a clean business model, effective operations, and stable financing. By tying case study examples to my group’s performance, I walked away with an 85.5% on the assignment saving my strong grade in the class.
In almost every LSB class, there will be a group project. You must accept the responsibility to be accountable and be a team player. Don’t be afraid to take leadership and steer everyone in the right direction, or else it might cost you. A poor performance is not the end of the world; use it to your advantage! If we never fail, how can we learn from our mistakes?