Jeopardy 2017: Updated Course Closer

JeopardyWhat is the best way to close out a course? The current gamification trend suggests updating some tried and true methods. Below is a classic Toolbox post on how to turn the last day into a game of Jeopardy. However, MBA students at the University of South Florida have recently updated it with a very slick PowerPoint version that is really worth checking out. Since the file has macros, you will need to download it and run it in PowerPoint (can’t be viewed otherwise). The categories and questions can be edited in PowerPoint. The students read Richard Rumelt’s Good Strategy, Bad Strategy and turned the key points into Jeopardy questions. They then used buzzers (below) and the file above to run a Jeopardy-based class exercise. (Thanks so much to Erwin Danneels and his students, Pranali Panjwani, Elliott Parker, Blesson Mullappally, Saharsh Kislaya, Bikash Patra, for sharing).

89c1ac36-e750-4a0f-a42e-8eccd5e54a2c_1-5ae0247df31b71a1396c2e2e65660ca1If you want to add some spice to this exercise, you might get a set of buzzers that contestants can use to get control of the board. Here is a link for a reasonably priced set of buzzers on Amazon.

This can also be done in a lower tech manner by using a white board for the categories and dollar amounts.  One can also have Daily Doubles and a final Jeopardy question.  The ‘prize’ might be that the winning team gets extra class participation points for that day. Alternatively, one might find other meaningful prizes to distribute.

Here is another take at Jeopardy Questions in a word file. As you can see, they are a mix of course ideas and fun topics. For the category ‘Before and After’ (which is the hardest), the instructor would display the question on a projector so students could read and think about it (otherwise one can just read the questions).

Strategy BINGO exercise

The BINGO (actually called STRATEGY).  This consists of two documents that are attached.  First, I created 16 different playing cards by putting on words I expected to use in class.  Then, I created a list of additional words that I expected to use.  I instructed students to take one of the playing cards and then fill in the blanks with words from the list.  By partially completing the card, I saved class time.  By having students finish the card themselves, I ensured that each card would be different.

I only used this approach once, but should use it again.  The particular topic the day I used it was ‘competitive dynamics’.  I think the topic was a bit too hard for the students, but they seemed to like the game.  The two winners in each section received a $5 Subway gift certificate.

16 different playing cards

Additional Words: Resources, Learning, Differentiation, Risk, Hot Topic, People, Information, Payoff, Second Mover, Royalties, Average, Product, Training, Scale, Value Chain, Saturn, Winner, Technology, Subway, Barriers To Entry, Brand, Tomorrow, Generic Strategy, Trillion, Groups, Delay, Plant, Time,

Thai Chempest: International JV Negotiation Exercise

“I have the students do an international JV negotiation exercise with the case “Thai Chempest” (available through Prentice Hall’s database of cases).  One team plays the role of the U.S. company, one team is the local Thai company, and the rest of the class are individual Thai government agencies (their job is to hash out an incentive package to entice the foreign investment–not as easy as it sounds, as each gov’t agency has its own set of priorities).  This exercise takes 2 hours and the students really get into it.”

Contributed by Mason CarpenterMason Carpenter

Envisioning the Future: Write your own BHAG

 “I teach the topic of Strategic Vision at the beginning of the semester in Strategic Management for undergraduates, and was drawing on Collins & Porras’ HBR article dealing with this topic (Sept/Oct 1996). They discuss envisioning the future as one aspect of developing a strategic vision for a company. Envisioning the future includes having a long term goal they call a “BHAG” (big, hairy, audacious goal) and writing a vivid narrative description of how things will look when the BHAG is achieved. My senior undergraduate in-class exercise was for them to write their own BHAG for their career 5 years from now, along with a vivid description of what a day in their professional life would be like (as they might describe it to a former classmate in five years). For some of them, this is the first time they thought in concrete terms this far into their professional futures. I got very positive feedback from the class on this exercise and some of them did a remarkably good job with it. I read two of them aloud to the class (anonymously). I sometimes find it difficult to craft meaningful exercises early in the semester before we have gotten into the “meat” of the concepts of Strategic Management, and was glad to get a good response from my students on this one.”

“Where have you been” ice breaker

In classes that have a distinct international bent, I use a simple case-based exercise to kick off the first class.  The Ivey Case 9B11M107, “Where have you been: An exercise to assess your exposure to the rest of the world’s people,” is a fun way to show participants both how diverse the world is, along with how little exposure they’ve actually had to the rest of the world’s people than they previously thought.

Industry Profitablity Analysis Opener

“In my opening graduate class I talk about my objective of getting students to think strategiclly. I put up a slide showing industry performance (any industry will work, although the simpler the better). Last semester I used a slide showing downward stock prices in the four largest bagel companies in the U.S. I ask the students why this is happening. We ramble for a few minutes. I then give a very quick overview of what I think is happening. I then return to the OH in the last class to drive home the message that hopefully, they now have the vocabulary and conceptual knowledge to quickly draw some conclusions on their own.”

Team Assignment Ice Breaker

“Perhaps this qualifies. To assign teams, I use a 5-minute drill that (1) helps the students mix and get to know a few others, and (2) results in heterogeneity on at least one dimension. I have the class line up in a row. The first in line is the person whose home (i.e., parents home, not campus housing) is closest to campus. The last in line is the student whose home is most distant. In mingling to decide where they stand in line, they get to meet lots of people as they work out the logistics. Then, we number off (according to how many groups are necessary) 1-X. I suppose other sorting criteria could be used by schools where most of the students come from the same geographic area. But at a school like ours, they span the globe and it works quite well.”

Name Game

“The closest thing I do as an ice-breaker is that I try to memorize the students’ names before the first class and then when the students introduce themselves I can connect their names and faces right away. Good teaching in strategic management requires relationship building in order to have any hope of students achieving “double-loop learning” (e.g., questioning underlying goals and assumptions). I try to begin to establish this relationship in the first class.”