MANAGING EXPORT GROWTH/ INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS STRATEGIES
In the Fintopia business simulation the participating teams and their companies compete and co-operate in an international industry usually during two years (eight quarters). The dynamic industrial market of the simulation is created by the companies buying, selling and licensing products to and from each other on three market areas. Companies can finance their partners' operations. The long term relationships and networks within companies are formed like they are in the real life. The consumer market which industrial companies serve is modeled. The simulation has up to four currencies to be managed and all companies get the same initial investment at the start. In the end of the simulation firms report their performance and further potential at the meeting with shareholders and investors.
Comprehensive learning experience
The management of a companies involves several functions such as international business, marketing, strategy, managerial finance, management, entrepreneurship, intercultural communication / negotiations, production, logistics, etc. To run their companies participants need to apply tools from different management disciplines. The extensive use of outsourced resources involves a lot of intercultural interaction and communication and the co-operation develops. This enhances the negotiation and decision making capabilities of participants.
Fintopia simulation education gives a comprehensive view of international business and participants learn things that could not be taught in ordinary lectures or seminars. Real time negotiations and decision-making with participants representing different cultures challenges the communication, negotiation and decision-making skills and is engaging for participants. Fintopia enhances critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, reflection and interference. It offers an effective way to improve export/international business skills, enjoy collaborative learning and excel in running an international company.
After getting my Master’s degree in International Business Strategy from Linnaeus University, the International Business Simulation was a very natural transition for me. Even though the Fintopia literature was often familiar, the content of the simulation was a welcome addition to my already existing knowledge of international business. Most interesting to me was the interaction between students during the decision moments, since it really allows you to experience the differences in doing business with people from different parts of the world. Due to the dynamics of the simulation each and every one of us played a vital role in the functioning of the market, which often resulted in interesting and exciting discussions. Since I decided to be a wholesaler I was very reliant on other participants, which was in my experience challenging since you cannot, just like in reality, fully control other participants’ actions. Thus, the main skills that I personally got to develop was the ability to manage uncertainty and to deal with unforeseen circumstances and rapidly changing situations. Finally, the possibilities of the simulation are endless and really allow you to excel in areas of your own choice, which is why I personally believe that it can be a valuable and meaningful experience for anybody interested in international business.
Fintopia covers the following issues in business
Fintopia as an intensive business simulation can last from one week to five weeks depending on the customer need. A simulation having both contact classes and distant periods can last fom 6 to 12 or n weeks. Fintopia consists of eight to ten decision sessions or quarters. As the industrial market in the simulation is created and gamed by the participating teams, at least eight to ten companies are needed in order to get enough potential business partners. The ideal number of team members is three to four so having 24 to 30 participants is advisable, but even two members in a company makes the simulation viable. There are at least two facilitators conducting Fintopia.
The simulation material is a full package including:
- Decision making and budgeting software
- Executive Guide
- Course Brief
Fintopia (usually 6 ECTS) for universities
Since 1994 F(intopia) has been run successful in several universities in Finland, France, Switzerland and Sweden. The feedback has been excellent. The simulation is very interactive as my two colleagues put it: ’during F(Intopia) the premises of the Business School are just as the “beehive”’ and ‘in very few classes one can see as eager and motivated students working.’
In 1999 Intopia at University of Jyväskylä was awarded the second place in SEFE’s (The Finnish Business School Graduates) national teaching achievement of the year. For the universities or other education units the course, usually 6 ECTS, can be 3 to 6 weeks or customized.
Download: Time tables for 3 and 6 week simulations (pdf)
Feedback from three universities
- Linnaues University 2015-2017
- Tampere University of Technology (TUT) 2010-2012
- University of St.Gallen 2004
Fintopia for MBA and the like
In the management education for MBA programs and company customers Fintopia can be an intensive 1-3 week period, a combination of contact and distant coaching or customized. The participants for a simulation can come from 1 -10 (or more) companies or they can be private person. A group (minimum 20 people) participating Fintopia can be set up by one company, several companies or private persons. Other ways to raise group for the simulation are under consideration.
In distant coaching Fintopia will require three to four contact days (starting, one to two quarters and finishing/feedback days) and six distant coaching days for the rest six quarters. Fintopia Managing Export Growth Business education can last six, 12 or n weeks.
The price for simulation varies based on the number of participants
The price ranges are for 20-23, 24-29 and 30-36 participants.
The price includes all the material. Lecture room costs for the seminar days are charged separately.
Participants will need laptops with the possibility to install decision making and budgeting software.
Universities in which F(Intopia) has been given by Olavi Uusitalo
Helsinki School of Economics (now Aalto University) / Master programme
Helsinki School of Economics / MBA
Turku School of Economics / Master programme
Jyväskylä University / Master programme
Tampere University of Technology (now Tampere University)/ Master programme
Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences
Pirkanmaa University of Applied Sciences
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Theseus Institute / MBA / France
University of St.Gallen / Master programme / Switzerland
Linnaues University / Master level / Sweden
The Fintopia code used in European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), Berlin
While giving the Intopia course in 2002 at Thesesu Institute I met Professor Francis Bidault who later on moved to ESTM to found full-time MBA prgram there. In 2008 while the official code did not work I sold the coming functioning Fintopia code to ESMT. Intopia is used also in the eMBA program. In his book "Managing Joint Innovation: How to balance trust and control in strategic alliances" Bidault illustrates neatly the F(Intopia) simulation, Appendix - Intopia: A learning tool for alliance management, as well.