THE CONTRIBUTION OF BUSINESS SIMULATION TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT COMPETENCIES
1 CICE/CECEJ - ISCAP-IPP (PORTUGAL)
2 CICE - ISCAP-IPP (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This study was conducted among students and former students from the Accounting and Administration undergraduate degree at ISCAP-IPP (School of Accounting and Administration of Polytechnic Institute of Porto), a Portuguese higher education institution. A survey concerned the acquisition of management competencies and writing skills was provided to students from Business Simulation l and Business Simulation II courses during the academic year 2013/2014. This survey was taken at the end of each semester through a questionnaire, in which questions about learning by doing methodology were presented. Additionally a set of interviews was made to former students in order to deepen our knowledge about this topic.
In this paper, we focused our study in management competencies and with a particular emphasis in writing skills, since the improvement and development of these competencies are an objective of Business Simulation (BS) courses, and also because IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) gives a special attention to these competencies. According to this organization, major skills for professionals are intellectual skills, technical and functional skills, personal skills, the interpersonal skills and communication and management, organizational and educational skills .
During BS courses, which are in place since 2003 in this higher education institution, students have the opportunity to experience situations where their management competencies and writing skills can be improved and developed. With the survey conducted students were invited to give their perception about the way these competencies and skills were developed in them. Additionally, the interviews enabled us to validate the information collected by questionnaire and deepen our knowledge about it.
The results of the study have showed that students value learning by doing approach of education, in line with Adler and Milne's  research, in which students agree with the use of this teaching method during their courses. Additionally, students admitted that management competencies were really improved during BS courses. In the case of writing skills the results were not so conclusive. This could be explained by the fact that students have to develop their writing skills in others courses, not only in BS. Nevertheless, the results of the study were important not only to validate theoretical developments, but also to validate the learning by doing approach implemented and used in the mentioned higher education institution since 2003.
 IFAC, Handbook of International Education Pronouncements, 10 th., no. August. IFAC, 2010.
 R. W. Adler and M. J. Milne, “Accounting Education : An Improving the quality of accounting students ’ learning through action-oriented learning tasks,” Account. Educ., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 191–215, 1997.
Keywords: Management competencies, writing skills, business simulation, learning by doing.