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Students Compete for MBA Scholarships in the Simon Games



By Chris Hassan
Posted December 03, 2013 11:00 AM

Students compete for MBA scholarships.
Students compete for MBA scholarships.

At a young age, many individuals put their memory skills to the test playing the electronic game "Simon." Later in life, those who wish to pursue a Master of Business Administration at the University of Rochester's Simon Business School can play a different type of Simon game, which offers winners more than just bragging rights.

Beginning Feb. 10, 2014, MBA degree seekers will have a chance to compete in the Simon Games, according to the business school's website.

Let the Games Begin

There's a lot at stake in the Simon Games, an online business simulation competition. The grand prize is a full-tuition scholarship worth more than $90,000 to the Simon Business School's full-time, part-time or executive MBA program.

That's not the only prize up for grabs, as the competition's second-place winner will receive a 50% tuition scholarship to one of Simon's MBA programs. Meanwhile, the third- and fourth-place winners will each win a 25% tuition scholarship to one of the school's MBA programs.

To earn any one of these scholarships, competitors must first put their business skills to the test. Those who accept Simon's challenge will step into the role of chief executive officer and make business decisions that will affect the success of a fictional company. The Simon Games run for seven weeks.

Changing the Rules

In the past, the Simon Games only awarded scholarships to individuals hoping to earn an executive MBA degree, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Last year, a total of $325,000 in grants was awarded to eight contestants. As the competition has expanded to include full- and part-time MBA programs, about $540,000 will be dispersed among winners of the Simon Games.

Carin Conlon, an assistant dean at the Simon Business School, believes that the competition is a good way for students to familiarize themselves with the type of experience they'll have over the course of their studies.

"I can sit down with you and tell you personally all the aspects [of running a business] you're going to learn about in our program," Conlon told Businessweek. "Letting you experience it firsthand in the game can be a more powerful thing."

A potential bonus of winning the Simon Games is the possibility that students will excel academically. After all, Conlon said that there have been two times when past winners have received the highest GPA in their executive MBA program.

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