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Playing Lemonade Tycoon, a game in which players run a lemonade business, as a student at University of Texas—Austin offered Jennifer Yu a "real-life scenario," which helped her understand "how accounting plays an imperative role in maintaining your finances in a business," she says.
Most of the students in the class were not business majors, says Yu, who graduated in December 2011, so they weren't naturally interested in accounting. The game helped make the subject interesting, she says, and there were bonus points at stake for the winning team.
Ryan Woodall, an attorney who owns South Carolina-based Pinnacle Tutoring, used simulations in marketing and operations classes he took as an M.B.A. student at Moore School of Business at University of South Carolina in the late 2000s. The games—one of which recreated a factory setting—made class more interesting, he says.
"There was a lot of good-humored 'trash talk' that came along with these games, which gave some levity to what was sometimes extremely dry material," he says. "With so much of this coursework, it could be difficult to really see the relevant application of the theories, but when you're given an actual scenario to put these concepts into play and see the results, it gives the theory some weight."
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