Best management games for MBA students | Play online in classrooms

Best Management Games for MBA Students

Play Online in Classrooms | No software downloads

Business Strategy GameInnovative online management simulation games are excellent teaching resources for MBA classrooms and any program that includes business subjects. Teachers and professors can include them in the classroom (indoor) activities list to demonstrate the practical applications of the business and economic theory that management students learn during the MBA course. The interest and retention levels are highest when students can visualize what they’ve been taught.

Almost all the top business schools use strategy, finance, marketing games for MBA students in some form or another. Often it is their graded capstone project. Apart from MBA classrooms, these can also be used by corporate trainers for employees.

Some MBA colleges may go for the big, sophisticated simulators that have a ton of features. Others may prefer testing the efficacy of simulation software with low-cost or free games before deciding to upgrade to the leading companies in the space.

Management Games from MBA Crystal Ball

MBA Crystal Ball offers a couple of free business management simulators that are being used by management colleges in the United States, UK, Singapore and India to train management students at the Bachelors and Masters level.

They were originally designed for visitors of our website who’d like to get a taste of the resources and tools that MBA students get to work with in class. We kept them simple to reduce the learning curve, so users without an academic background in management subjects could appreciate the theory behind it.

We guess that simplicity is what made them appealing to professors in universities and colleges across the world who adopted our management games as teaching tools in their classrooms.

Supply Chain Management Game

Our online SCM game (based on the root beer game from MIT) allows teachers and students to manage a virtual supply chain and understand the basic bottlenecks and challenges involved. With only one parameter to decide in each cycle (i.e. how many units to produce), the objective is to achieve equilibrium in the supply chain as quickly as possible. Read more here: Supply Chain Management Simulation Game

Business Strategy Game (BizMAP)

Unlike the SCM game which had only one decision point, BizMAP (our business strategy game) adds several layers of complexity. As the CEO of a virtual startup, the player has the task of keeping the company afloat by taking decisions related to SCM, human resources, marketing, and the overall strategy. Read more here: Online Business Strategy Simulation Game
Get in touch with us if you’d like to evaluate or use them. We’ll create an account for you with your university / company branding. Send us an email: info at mbacrystalball dot com


Top Management Games for Business Students

For those with a bigger budget, we’ll move on to the market leaders now. We’ve collated and reviewed a list of the best online management simulation games for business students.


Forio offers a combination of ready-to-use simulations and software tools to allow higher education and corporate clients to create their own custom simulations. They’ve partnered with leaders in academia like Harvard and MIT to build and promote simulations on a wide range of topics.

The simulations are designed for training students and mid / senior level managers. The user interface and overall packaging is excellent. The flip-side is the prohibitive fee. For example, you’d pay $150 /seat for the SCM Root Beer Game from Forio. Other simulation products cost around the same. That can put it outside the reach of many.


Capsim offers products like Foundation and Capstone to cover the basic and advanced concepts in business. It is widely used by the top universities. Students can form groups and compete with each other in a risk-free environment, while learning about the interplay between disciplines.

The game is complex and the learning curve is steep, speacially those who aren’t fully committed to immerse themselves into the virtual world. It can take a while for new users to understand what they need to do. Though simulation games are nowhere close to managing a real business, considering Capsim vs real world dynamics can help you with some strategies and decisions.

The fee is around $50 per student.

BSG Online

Like Capsim, BSG Online has been popular among universities. If you do a Capsim vs BSG Online comparison, you may find differences in the way the software works. But in essence there may be more similarities (including the registration fee for each user) than differences. The game coordinator (professor) has special privileges to control many aspects of the game and track what students have been doing.

There are close to 100 decisions (in contrast to 5 in BizMAP) to take for each cycle before the game advances. That can make it quite intimidating for students who are getting started. For this reason, some programs (such as the FSU MBA) use BizMAP to get students warmed up before they move to BSG Online.
A Google search will show you many more options. Several are listed as Tycoon Games with excellent, eye-catching graphics and animation. Others may fall under the category of MMOG (massively multiplayer online game). As the name suggests you are competing against hundreds or thousands of other competitors.

These aren’t appropriate to be used in classroom setting. For these reasons, we’ve left them out.

For a class of 100 students, the registration costs for management simulation games can start off at $5000 (assuming a $50 per student). That’s a big investment. It’s not just the students who have to go through the learning curve. Professors who are overseeing the sessions are expected to have a deeper understanding of the software – its strengths, limitations and idiosyncrasies.

Don’t let it become an expensive tool that’s not used to its full potential. Spend time evaluating whether the investment in management games will give your program and your students the returns you are expecting.

If you are just starting out and evaluating the possibility of introducing simulation games in your classes, start off with our free online games for a semester or two. There’s no software, PDF, PPT or video to download. They are quite simple, intuitive and non-intimidating compared to the ones we’ve listed above. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity.

If it works for you (as it has for the colleges currently using them internationally), it can save you a tidy sum.