APPLIED BUSINESS DECISIONS - Fall 2007
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions Room: McD 251
Sec. 01 CAPSIM F20233 Sec. 01: MW 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sec. 02 CAPSIM F20234 Sec. 02: MW 4:10 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.
Sec. 03 CAPSIM F20235 Sec. 03: MW 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Patricia Holman Phone: (406) 657-2035
Office: McD 207 Hours: MW 11:00-12:30, MW 7:30-8:00
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by appointment
Foundation® Business Simulation: Who Knew Business Could Be This Much Fun? Management
Simulations, Inc. - Smith, Dan. 2008.
The Business Simulation Student Guide and COMP-XM Examination Guide are distributed in class.
The fee for all materials and registration is $54.99. Each student is required to sign up immediately
and pay through the website http://www.capsim.com. Log on and follow the directions. The
upper left corner of this page lists your course number in CAPSIM. It is easiest to pay by credit card.
If you do not choose to use a credit card, other payment alternatives are available.
The Team Memory Jogger, GOAL/QPC and Oriel Incorporated, 1995.
Financial Statement Analysis, Blue Company: An Interactive Approach, Rankin, L and Wiegand,
D. Thomson South-Western, 1st Edition, 2007.
Prerequisites: Admission to upper division standing (ACCT 233, 234, ECON 200, 201, ENG
150, MATH 121, STAT 241, and MIS 225 or MIS 201, 202, 203.)
The successful business professional of today and the future is likely to be a better listener than a talker,
an effective team player, a critical thinker, and has the ability to make winning decisions in an
increasingly unpredictable and less forgiving environment. Are you prepared to compete in a global
Applied Business Decisions is a required core business course in the business administration
major. The course provides opportunity to reinforce and integrate fundamental business
knowledge including accounting, economics, quantitative, and technological skills in applied
business decision-making. The major emphasis is learning to use common business decision-
making practices including financial statement analysis, market analysis, and risk analysis.
Students have the opportunity to practice the requisite skills through participation in the
Internet based integrated business simulation requiring teamwork, critical thinking, and
technology to reach predetermined goals.
The class is hands-on providing each student with an opportunity to contribute to team activities and
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 2
goals. Students participate in the learning process using spreadsheet analysis, researching best practices,
and collaborating with team members including providing critical feedback. The instructor’s role is to
facilitate the learning process in an interactive class. Students come to class prepared to discuss and to do
business activities. The integrated business simulation is the semester project. In addition, students use
case studies, exercises, and other activities to develop and reinforce basic business decision concepts and
The primary objective is to develop the student’s ability to make quality business decisions.
The associated course content objectives identify the topics students will understand and
apply. The mission mandated student competencies/skills address the expected outcomes
relative to the College of Business mission.
Course Content Objectives
The main course content objective is integration of a basic body of knowledge gained from accounting,
mathematics, economics, and information technology. By the end of the semester, the “A” student will
have demonstrated an ability to integrate this body of knowledge and use basic business tools to make
business decisions leading to demonstrated success in:
1 Understanding functional area strategic alignment, tactical business planning, competitor
analysis, market positioning, and financial report analysis in the integrated business
2 Demonstrating knowledge of organizational planning and communications challenges.
Building upon an understanding and mastery of collaborative, two-way communication
through verbal (questioning, listening, responding), nonverbal application and
meaningful interpretation, and written dimensions with emphasis on developing quality
3 Understanding the concepts and processes of self-leadership including a framework for
developing and enhancing skills and abilities through setting goals, analysis, assessment
of performance results and goal attainment individually and as a member of a team.
4 Understanding the process of initiating, developing, and enhancing team relationships.
5 Understanding the importance of financial analysis through familiarity with reports and
demonstrated ability to do financial analysis.
6 Identifying, understanding, and using decision-making tools to enhance the quality of
7 Using technology for research and analysis of business problems.
8 Presenting a comprehensive analysis of the business results in an oral team presentation.
The presentation summarizes why the results happened and opens the floor to questions
for shareholders on the direction the company will take next year.
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 3
COLLEGE OF BUSINESS LEARNING GOALS & OBJECTIVES
The college’s mission statement says that the academic programs of the college develop student
competencies in: (1) oral and written communication, (2) critical/creative thinking, (3) quantitative skills,
(4) effective utilization of information and technology for business decisions, (5) ethical decision-
making, and (6) the effect of globalization in business. In addition to the course content objectives stated
above, this course contributes to the learning of certain skills determined by the faculty in the College of
Business at Montana State University-Billings in accordance with AACSB guidelines.
The College of Business is engaged in a continuous improvement process. Part of that process
involves the creation and implementation of learning goals (LG) and learning objectives (LO). In BUS
315Applied Business Decisions, the learning goals and objectives explained below will be given the
following emphasis on a scale of 10 (low emphasis) to 50 (high emphasis).
LG1 Communications: We want our students to be effective communicators in business and
LOs: We want our students to be able to
1. Prepare and properly deliver a complete, concise business presentation.
2. Prepare and properly format a complete, concise business document.
Oral communications (50): Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the
assigned readings and to demonstrate the following skills—knowledge acquisition,
comprehension, application, analysis, and evaluation. Students will meet with their assigned
teams to plan and implement strategic decisions in the business simulation. At these meetings,
each student will identify his or her responsibilities to the team and explain what s/he has
accomplished and what s/he will accomplish. Students will formally present their strategy to the
stockholders, represented by the class and the instructor, at the end of the semester. The student
will be able to give and receive constructive feedback while interacting with class members.
Effective writing (20): Students are expected to demonstrate excellent writing skills. Students,
individually or in teams, will submit memos, a brief situation analysis, essay examination
questions, and activities related to the business simulation. The instructor evaluates depth and
breadth of comprehension (70%), ease of reading (10%), grammar and spelling (10%), and visual
appeal (20%). Students will use word processing, grammar, and spelling tools to improve their
LG2 Critical/Creative Thinking: We want our students to be reasonable and reflective thinkers.
LOs: We want our student to be able to:
1. Identify and analyze alternatives and recommend a course of action for structured problems.
2. Identify and analyze alternatives and recommend a course of action in unstructured business
Critical thinking (50): Students will demonstrate excellent critical thinking skills. Specifically,
they will apply techniques developed in the class discussion, using the simulation guides, and
completing the interactive financial statement analysis. The basic techniques include the analysis of
the current situation, competitive forces, growth opportunities, and resources. Students will use
these techniques to examine the business simulation firm’s strategic options and to develop the
firm’s mission, objectives, strategies, and goals.
Students will apply the knowledge presented in the College of Business curriculum and the general
prerequisites. For example, from their accounting courses, they will understand the management
implications and decision making based on the income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash
flows, and break-even analysis. From their management information systems course, they will
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 4
understand use of Excel for analysis and reporting, use of PowerPoint for the shareholder
presentation, and use of word processing to complete reports. From their economics courses, they
will apply marginal analysis and understand the effect of price on the behavior of markets. From
their business communication course, they will use effective communication skills to achieve
Student will create and effectively use comprehensive, logical processes of analysis to identify
options, present arguments and counter arguments, weigh options, make decisions, and develop
action plans as demonstrated in the business simulation. Students will further demonstrate this
knowledge in class discussion, case analyses, interactive financial statement exercises, excel
assignments, examinations, quizzes, and the presenting results at the shareholder meeting.
LG3 Quantitative: We want our students to be effective users of business quantitative
LOs: We want our students to be able to
1. Identify and apply appropriate quantitative techniques for given business situations.
2. Interpret results and draw inferences from a quantitative business analysis for business
Quantitative reasoning (50): The analyses of the business simulation and the financial case,
typically Custom Rides and Racing, will present various kinds of financial, marketing, and
operating data. Students will analyze these data using the various quantitative reasoning
concepts taught in the curriculum, including mathematical and statistical concepts. The COMP-
XM exam affiliated with the MSI simulation evaluates the quantitative application of integrated
LG4 Ethics: We want our students to be sensitive to the ethical ramifications of business
LO: We want our students to be able to recognize the complex nature of ethical dilemmas in
business and reach and explain a decision.
Ethical behavior (10): Students are expected to act respectfully and ethically, and to abide by
the student code of conduct. Cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or representing someone else’s
work as his or her own in any form will result in an F on the assignment or, depending on the
gravity of the offense, an F in the course.
LG5 Technology: We want our students to be knowledgeable users of information technology.
LOs: We want our students to be able to
1. Identify capabilities of information technology and their effects on business decisions and/or
2. Apply business software in a variety of business situations.
Effective use of technology for decision-making (50): Students must have a good working
knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and the use of search engines. The
business simulation, class exercises, and unit exams require a significant level of skill with Excel
to complete the work in the allotted time.
Successful students come to every class and participate in the learning process. Experience indicates
student success requires keeping current by completing all assignments when due, achieving excellent
technology skills, studying for exams, participating in class activities, and being a productive team
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 5
THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS CORE VALUES:
The COB adopted these core values and they are the guiding principles for Applied Business Decisions
♦ Experience Based Learning
♦ Faculty-Student Interaction
♦ High Expectations
PERFORMANCE EVALUATION AND GRADING POLICIES:
1. Homework and Individual Class Activities 20%
2. Three Exams & 2 – 4 Quizzes 30%
3. Integrated Business Simulation Results: 50%
Meeting Deadlines, Mission, Analysis, Strategy,
Lessons Learned, Team Exercises (12.5%)
Team Results – based on Stock Price, ROS, Asset Turnover,
ROA, ROE, Market Share, and Profits as weighted by team (25.0%)
Final Stockholder Presentation (12.5%)
Peer Evaluations will affect your final grade! The three peer evaluations are
averaged with the final evaluation given a weight of two (i.e. evaluation #1 = 25%, #2 =
25%, #3 = 50%.) The individual grades on ALL team submissions are adjusted by the
weighted average of the peer evaluation. For example if the team earns a 90% on the
presentation and the individual earns an 80% weighted average on the peer evaluation,
the final individual grade on the presentation will be weighted (e.g. 80% X 90% = 72%.)
NO MAKE-UP OF IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES
HOMEWORK IS DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS
LATE HOMEWORK OR SIMULATION SUBMISSIONS WILL RECEIVE A 25% PENALTY
All written assignments are evaluated on content and quality of writing. Word-process all papers and
staple multiple pages. Proofreading, writing in active voice, using correct sentence structure and clear
communication of ideas are important business skills. Writing skills develop with practice and
responding to feedback. Plan to use the appropriate tools (Spellchecker set option to “Formal”, Grammar
Check, etc.) to enhance the ability to communicate in writing. The writing lab, located in the building
formerly known as the Computer Annex, is available to help students improve writing skills. Frequently,
submission of homework requiring analysis is an electronic file on the campus network and in hard copy.
Your final grade in the course is determined on a standard academic scale and recorded as follows:
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 6
A 93%+ C+ 77% - 79% D- 60% - 62%
A- 90% - 92% C 73% - 76% F - Less than 60%
B+ 87% - 89% C- 70% - 72%
B 83% - 86% D+ 67% - 69%
B- 80% - 82% D 63% - 66%
Applied Business Decisions is a team-based course. Fifty percent of your final grade is based on team
competition in the integrated business simulation. Teams increasingly are the norm in business and other
organizational activities, and there is no reason to expect that will change anytime soon. Teams, on
average, make better decisions than individuals do. Synergy results when each individual contributes his
or her best effort to the team.
This course helps you learn how to be an effective team member. You will improve communication
skills and learn the importance of making quality contributions. There will be several short individual
exercises encouraging you to think about team interaction. Projects for Capstone® Simulation Teams
has several reflective activities to complete. These are graded activities used for class discussions. You
can expect the following:
• Time commitment – expect to spend 2.5 – 3.0 hours per week in initial team meetings to
finalize business simulation decisions. Using technology effectively through email, live chats,
and shared files will reduce the time required in team meetings.
• Deadlines – these must be met without excuse or exception. Your team members will expect you
to do quality work on time, every time.
• Conflict – there will be divergent views on most issues. Conflict is healthy when it occurs in an
atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. Relationship conflict is destructive and must be avoided,
or at least resolved outside the team. Task conflict (i.e., different opinions on how to complete
the current task) is essential to avoid groupthink.
• Process Management – set each team member up to succeed! It is not who makes the decision,
but how. Each team needs to have processes in place to expedite decision-making. Remember
the goal is to WIN! Winning is meeting goals, learning, succeeding in every task…. and in the
end you will say, This Was the Best Team Ever!
Each class period is a business meeting. The manners and performance expectation of each individual
reflect a highly valued, upwardly mobile executive qualified for rapid advancement. The following
requests will prepare you to succeed in a competitive business culture.
♦ Students come to class on time and remain at the computer through the entire class period.
♦ Do not plan to leave early or move in and out of the class during the class period! The
restricted space and potential for computer failure if the wiring is touched lead to requiring all
students to stay seated during the entire class.
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 7
♦ Cellular phones are off during the class period; this includes text messaging.
♦ Out of respect for others, please do not to eat during the class period. Drinking water is acceptable,
coffee and soda or juices are not allowed in the computer lab.
♦ There is no formal textbook. Your handbooks, notes and participation at the time of instruction are
all you have to prepare for exams. Success in this environment means paying attention during
demonstrations and explanations (i.e. not being distracted by or distracting others, or working on the
computer when it is time to listen.)
♦ All students take all exams at the scheduled time. In rare instances, a unit exam may be re-scheduled
to accommodate a special need. The student is required to document the circumstances causing the
exam re-schedule. Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period on the scheduled dates.
Decisions for each round must be completed at the assigned time to facilitate processing.
♦ Incompletes in the course will follow the university policy as published in the general
Incomplete “I” Grade: An Incomplete is given only when a student has
attended for at least three-fourths of the semester but has been prevented by
circumstances beyond his/her control from completing all of the requirements of
the course. A student must provide adequate evidence to the instructor as to
the reason why he/she was unable to complete the requirements for the course.
If a grade of “I” Incomplete has been given, the instructor shall advise the Office
of Admissions and Records in writing what the student must do to remove the
An Incomplete must be made up within one calendar year. An “I” grade is not
included in the computation of the GPA. An Incomplete grade not made up in
the prescribed length of time automatically becomes an “F” grade. Once the
grade of Incomplete has been converted to an “F” grade, the course must be
repeated in order for the grade to be changed.
♦ Academic and behavioral misconduct will be handled according to Student Affairs Policies and
Procedures, Part IX B.1. (Student Handbook, page 43.)
A. Academic misconduct includes all acts of dishonesty in any academically related matter and any
knowing or intentional help or attempt to help, or conspiracy to help, another student commit an act
of academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, each of the following
acts when performed in any type of academic or academically-related matter, exercise, or activity.
1. Cheating- using or attempting to use unauthorized materials information, study aids, or
2. Plagiarism- representing the words, data, works, ideas, computer program or output, or
anything not generated in an authorized fashion as one’s own.
3. Fabrication- presenting as genuine any invented or falsified citation or material.
4. Misrepresentation- falsifying, altering, or misstating the contents of documents or other
materials related to academic matters, including schedules, prerequisites, and transcripts.
B. When academic dishonesty occurs or is alleged to have occurred, the instructor has the right and
obligation to take appropriate action that may include a verbal or written reprimand or warning,
a grade of “F” (failure) for the assignment or test involved or a grade of “F” for the course. The
BUS 315 Applied Business Decisions - Fall 2007 Page 8
instructor is to refer the incident for possible institutional adjudication, as outlined in Part IX,
C. When misconduct of a behavioral nature occurs in the classroom, the instructor has the right and
obligation to take appropriate action that may include a verbal or written reprimand or warning
that the behavior may be in violation of the Code of Student Conduct Part IX, B.
♦ Students with disabilities, whether physical, learning, or psychological, who believe they may need
accommodations in this class, are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services (DSS) as soon
as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. Please meet
with DSS staff to verify your eligibility for any classroom accommodations and for academic
assistance related to your disability. Disability Support Services is located in the Academic Support
Center. If you have any questions or concerns, please call DSS at 657-2283. In addition, students
with documented disabilities, who need academic accommodations, should make an appointment
with the instructor as soon as possible.
Please contact the instructor to discuss any other issues of concern. Appointments are available outside
of regular office hours.