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Management Games for Management Students

An MBA course can sometimes become dull with continuous classes, projects, case studies,
presentations, group studies and the stress of placement. If theres one challenge that never
seems to go away at business school campuses around the world, its how to keep MBA students
motivated, interested, and engaged. Do not worry, we are here to rescue you and introduce you to
the beautiful world of games that MBA students can play. These games are entertaining and
educative at the same time, so students and teachers do not have to worry about precious time
being wasted. Management games give a sense of practical applicability of the subject and the
concepts that are learnt are inscribed in a better manner when the students have practical
experience of the concept. Some examples of such games include:

1. Building Towers: Form two groups and hand over bundles of newspaper to both. Keep
one scissor and tape common between both the groups. Ask them to make the tallest tower
within 10 minutes and the one with tallest will be the winning team. This game illustrates
how both teams use the available resources, who plays a leaders role and who are their
followers, how they act as a team.
2. Paper planes: Ask each student to write a couple of questions on a sheet of paper relating
to previous lecture. Then each person makes their paper into a paper plane (or crunches it
into a paper ball). Divide the class into 2 teams on opposite sides of the room and
encourage everyone to chuck their planes at the other team. After a short while, everyone
must pick up a plane closest to them, read the question aloud and answer it. This game
helps in recalling the topics of the last lecture and engaging everyone.
3. Beach Ball Toss: Write questions on an inflated beach ball and toss it around the room.
Whoever catches the ball has to answer one question written on it. The questions can be
fun ones such as what is your favourite dessert or favourite movie or they can be related to
a particular MBA lecture.
4. The Is Have It! : After a discussion on communication skills, ask the students to find a
partner and for the next 2 minutes, they will be allowed to talk about anything in the world
they want to discuss. There is, however, one rule THEY CANNOT USE THE WORD

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I. They can do anything else they want; they just cant say I. After 2 minutes, discuss
how many were able to talk for those 2 minutes without using the said pronoun as
instructed? Why do so many of us have difficulty avoiding the use of I in conversation?
This game would hence illustrate how we tend to be more self-centred than we may have
thought, and to demonstrate the importance of focusing on the other person.
5. Back to Back drawing: Invite two people and have them sit back-to-back on a chair. Give
one person a picture of a shape and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper. The
person holding the picture would give verbal instructions to their partner on how to draw
the shape without actually telling the partners what the shape is. After theyve finished, ask
each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider how well
did the first person describe the shape, how well did the second person interpret the
instructions and were there problems with both the sending and receiving parts of the
communication process?
6. The name game: Split the group into pairs. Instruct each person of the group to think of a
famous person and write it secretly on a post-it. Attach the post-it to the head of their
partner. In round 1 take it in turns to ask closed (yes/no) questions. You may continue to
ask questions for as long as you receive a yes. When the answer is no, swap over. E.g.
Am I alive, Am I male, Am I a sports person etc. In round 2 they must take turns to ask
one Open or TED (Tell, Explain, Describe) question (with the exception of what is my
name or similar!). If they mistakenly ask a closed question they lose their turn. At the end
of this activity, the key message is that despite the obvious usefulness of questions, for
gathering information we find it easier to ask closed questions but if the questions are not
right, we may never receive the required answer.
7. Two truths and a Lie: Ask each person in the class to write three statements and two of
them should be true facts and one should be a lie. Each person in the class should read
their statements aloud and the rest of the class would guess which one is a lie. At the end
of this game, the class would know each other better and in a fun way!
8. The mixed picture puzzles: Divide the class in two teams and hand them two puzzles but
mix some pieces of each puzzle with another one. The team that finishes their puzzle first
wins the task. The key part of this game is learning how to collaborate with the other
teams members to fetch their own puzzle pieces.

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At the end of the game a student may be asked what management concepts he has learnt from the
game. Properly designed games help in ingraining thinking habits, analytical, logical and
reasoning capabilities, importance of team work, time management, communication and
leadership capabilities. Use of management games can encourage novel and innovative
mechanisms for coping with stress.

If it is not possible to play management games during classes, students should be encouraged to
play some of these in their free time. One of the best business games available online is at
virtonomics.com. This game provides you an opportunity to create your own business empire
and have fun by advancing your skills in management, teamwork and strategic thinking. You
will learn to make serious managerial decisions on the fly and learn how to quickly adapt to the
market conditions.