harvard analytics

Data analytics simulation asks students to strategize

New Harvard Business Publishing simulation by Tom Davenport teaches students the power of analytics in decision-making

Harvard Business Publishing has released a new simulation: Data Analytics: Strategic Decision Making.
Authored by big data expert Tom Davenport, this single-player simulation teaches students the power of analytics in decision making.

Acting as the brand manager for a laundry detergent, students are tasked with turning around the brand’s performance by using sophisticated analytic techniques to understand current issues and determine the best strategy for improving performance.

Students will be asked to predict market demand, set the channel price, make formulation decisions, determine promotional spending strategy, and communicate their strategy effectively to their managers. The simulation makes use of consumer data informed by a multinational consumer goods company.

“Of all the materials I used in my course, the simulation got the highest praise. Every single student was enthusiastic about it,” says Davenport.

First, students analyze a dashboard that provides metrics on market share, profitability, competitor pricing, and demand by geographic region. Students then dive deeper by reviewing reports and manipulating demographic filters to drill into data segments by income, ethnicity, household size, region, and age.

After reviewing all screens and reports, students devise their strategy by forecasting demand and then make decisions on production, pricing, positioning, promotional spending, and communication activities. Students review their results and make 3 more rounds of decisions based on their analysis and resulting performance of prior years.

This simulation includes PowerPoint slides, which automatically populate with student results, for instructor use when leading classroom discussion.

The Data Analytics Simulation: Strategic Decision Making is 1 of 22 simulations available on the Harvard Business Publishing for Educators web site. Online simulations present real-world management challenges for students and encourage classroom interaction and discussion. Results are available immediately for a comprehensive debrief session. All simulations include a detailed Teaching Note.

For a complete list of Harvard Business Publishing simulations, visit the Educators website: http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu.

Laura Ascione