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IIM Udaipur: In this day and age, management schools are seeking innovative ways to teach students, ways that go beyond standard lecture or case study formats. Recently, one such initiative was seen at IIM Udaipur, Rajasthan. The management institute has established an elective course of 15 hours that teaches management skills via playing the cleverly designed Board Games.
Professor Shobhit Aggarwal created this course, which consists of his designed board games and it is followed by the debriefing sessions in which he relates these board games to management teachings that students have previously learnt in their curriculum.
Improvement in Decision-Making Skills
The course focuses on numerous topics such as Integrative Negotiation, Efficient Resource Utilization, Cashflow Management, and Collaboration to help students enhance their decision-making abilities in real-world scenarios.
IIM Udaipur's new elective course has made learning enjoyable. Students in the 'Management Games' course play these innovative board games, and later through debriefing sessions, they learn the importance of these skills.
"It is quite an innovative and unusual approach where students initially play these board games, and are later debriefed about what skills it taught them. To do well in board games, it is essential that the candidates have require particular abilities," saying, Prof Aggarwal describes the game's premise. " For example, if I'm giving a lecture on collaboration, I've picked a board game that will demand exceptional collaboration skills, and they'll have to do well in order to win the game."
"The board-game-based approach is a considerable advance over the case studies, which have typically been used by management schools to teach students to apply principles," Prof Aggarwal explains. "Students must examine a scenario, consider which ideas apply, and then propose answers in both board games and in case studies. However, in the board games, the students are the main characters. They may relate to the situation better because they feel the strain of the situation. They may witness the results of their decisions in real-time and learn from how the situation unfolds spontaneously depending on their own and their rivals' actions. Handling the aftermath of a hazardous move gone wrong is far more educational than being lectured on the best course of action.”
Prof Aggarwal feels that board game pedagogy has remarkable benefits for students as well as the management institutions. Students' engagement levels and capacity to recall things they experienced through these games are greater since they are having fun.
A student understands which management domain the answer will be in before taking a regular test or a case study for any course. In board game, however, t he student has no preexisting prejudice. The principles needed to succeed in a board game might come from any subject of management that the students have covered in their MBA course. Students must apply all of the topics they have learned. This better resembles a real-world situation since students will confront obstacles from any domain in their professional lives.
"The education in this course is individual-centric, as it should be in any excellent experiential learning programme," adds Prof Aggarwal. "Every student in the course makes decisions on their own, rather than as part of a larger group. This enables them to see their own intrinsic biases and change their thinking in order to become more successful managers."
Prof Aggarwal helps students analyse the judgments they made while playing the game and it also helps them learn how to apply their past theoretical knowledge-base to these scenarios, and hence to the real world, during the debriefing sessions.
Aggarwal is particularly fond of Kingpin, a board game and negotiation training tool he co-created with his former partners. Since then, Kingpin has been utilised for a variety of corporate trainings at IIM Udaipur.
The professor feels that this method will continue to gain traction in business schools. Later this year, he plans to increase the scope to include a broader variety of subjects, increasing the course to 30 hours from the current 15 hours. Shorter and more concentrated programmes will also be accessible for corporations looking to improve certain staff abilities.
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