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Students take first place in global
business simulation competition
Feb. 7, 2014
Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for real-world experience. That’s the philosophy of adjunct instructor Jerry Falcone, who has taught in the Business department at the Community College of Rhode Island for 25 years.
Recently, two of his students, Dennis Candeis and Danielle Thibodeau, relied on the real-world applications of their management strategy class to win the designation of Industry Champions – first place – in the Glo-Bus Business Simulation project, which drew thousands of competitors from around the globe.
Falcone has used the simulation in classes before, saying that it gives students a thorough experience in what it’s like to run a company. In this year’s competition, students were charged with running a digital camera company in which they would make all the decisions regarding production, finance, marketing, and research and development of the product.
“These are decisions that the top managers in a company make,” said Falcone, “and just like in the real world, there are penalties for making the ‘wrong’ decisions. But there’s no magic bullet: It depends on not only what you’re doing but what everybody else is doing, so it really simulates the business environment.”
Falcone praised Candeis as the leader and main executor of his team, Benzcamera. Candeis, a Cumberland native who earned an associate degree as a computer desktop technician from the college in 2012, is now finishing up his associate degree in management. Though he works as a Spanish and Portuguese interpreter for customer enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, he said he hopes to put his dual degrees to work in the information technology or business management sectors or, ideally, a hybrid of both in an international setting.
“There are always new things to learn in those fields, and I like it. I’ve always been interested in anything involving business or economic development,” he said. “And I’ve realized that I learn the most from hands-on material and lab work … my favorite courses at CCRI were based upon things that were happening in each industry.”
It’s no surprise that Candeis excelled at the Glo-Bus competition, then. He said he used the valuable lessons gleaned from Falcone in class to make weekly decisions regarding Benzcamera’s finances, advertisement, marketing, retail operations and more.
“It felt great,” he said. “It was a very enjoyable experience; it wasn’t just about the textbook. This really sets you up for the real world after you graduate.”
Falcone was CEO of his own precision sheet metal manufacturing company and has been in business management for more than 30 years at all levels, rising from an hourly worker to CEO/part owner. Much like many of the students he teaches at CCRI, his education took a nontraditional path; he began his undergraduate work at 31 and completed his MBA at Providence College eight years later.
“It’s rewarding to see students understand that there’s real life beyond the books. I’ve hired thousands of people in my life, and one of the things I look at is how employees use the tools they learned about in their education. If you can’t use the tools, a degree doesn’t have value to a company owner,” said Falcone.
Falcone said the fact that Benzcamera performed so well speaks to the team’s understanding of the course material, particularly as it relates to management strategy and reacting to a fast-changing business environment.
“Dennis really had the dedication to have a strategy and follow through with it, making the necessary adjustments along the way,” said Falcone.
Falcone said that the Benzcamera team now can go on to compete in Glo-Bus’ Best Strategy competition, which will happen apart from their course work and will earn the pair more bragging rights. “I’m excited,” said Candeis. “I hope I win.”
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