ERPsim for High School Students

The ERPsim for High Schools Experience Summary

An ERPsim Event is an exercise in project management.  Time is both a friend and an enemy.  Plan early, in good detail, and build in ‘buffers’ to address the hic-ups along the way.  While explicit detailed activities may seem like overkill, they will illustrate the complexity of some tasks and help to better estimate the time needed.

The ERPsim Experience Summary Document

ERPsim for High Schools: an Event Guide Abstract

ERPsim is recognized as an important pedagogical tool. Its use in post-secondary education has been, and continues to be, well documented (Léger et al. 2016, 2011, 2007). However, via SAP’s Young Thinkers program, opportunities exist to expose students outside of traditional post-secondary education to the benefits of ERPsim. Based on our own experiences, we offer a guide for the successful execution of ERPsim for high-school students.

The targeting of high-school students changes what has been an in-class activity into a full blown ‘event’. As such, many new variables are introduced that will influence the ultimate success of the event. An ‘ERPsim Event’ is an exercise in project management. This is especially true for novice faculty who have had little or no experience coordinating such activities before.

Our experience has shown that there are 5 critical success factors for a fruitful and productive ‘ERPsim Event’: event planning, simulation coaching, well defined event materials, clearly defined team roles, and a nurturing learning environment. We have captured and documented the steps/deliverables necessary to adequately address these critical success factors; along with example deliverables, this document prescribes the steps for a successful Young Thinkers ERPsim event.
Keywords: ERPsim, Young Thinkers, Pedagogy, Secondary Education.

Full Extended Abstract


ERPsim for High Schools Event Guide

The ERP program at Grand Valley is well known and regarded for graduating students with strong business process, ERP and analytics skills.  The demand for graduates with these skills exceeds supply.  One of the challenges is that we don’t have enough students interested in pursuing careers that require these skills.  When brainstorming ways to address this challenge with our industry advisory board, it was determined that the problem is more a lack of awareness of the program and the tremendous career opportunities that follow.  Instead of waiting to students to find the program, a decision was made to proactively promote the program and encourage students to investigate if it fit their career goals. Additionally, a decision was made to reach further back into the talent supply chain and target high school students who had a general interest in business and technology.

Historically, high school students interested in business are guided towards majors in accounting and marketing and those interested in technology, towards computer science and engineering.  It is rare for these students to be even aware of majors such as MIS which merge business and technology.  Indeed, most high school counselors are unware of such programs. 

An additional area of concern is the declining numbers of high school graduates enrolling in colleges and universities in spite of higher graduation rates.  Several reasons are offered for this decline, including a reduced growth in high school aged students and a strong economy which is attracting high school graduates into the workforce.  Consequently, universities are competition for a smaller pool of potential students.  

A final complication in our quest to reach high schools and attract them to our program is the unique characteristics of these students compared with those of previous generations.  The traits and motivations of these “next generation” millennials are summarized in Figure 1 (see full document.)    These characteristics require recruiting approaches that are different from those that worked for the previous generation.  In particular, these students are tech-savvy and connected (via a myriad of devices and apps) and are visual learners.  They are motivated by challenges, but are impatient and seek instant gratification. Consequently, traditional approaches that utilize presentations, flyers, brochures or videos is unlikely to appeal to them. 

We concluded that one of the games offered by of ERPsim Lab would appeal to the next generation millennials for a variety of reasons.  It is a fun, gamified environment that provides them with a meaningful introduction to business processes, technology and decision making.  At the same time, it is a challenging, fast paced, competitive environment.  Consequences of decisions are evident immediately.  Extremely visual reporting options (depending on the selected game) are available for feedback.

Whereas the ERPsim game provide a good introduction our business process and technology focused academic programs, it is essential for the students to understand the benefits to pursuing such programs.  As a result, it is essential for students to hear from corporate executives who provide a “real world” perspective to augment the academic exercise, while promoting future opportunities for students in their organizations.

Event Guide

ERPsim Game Powerpoint

Powerpoint Document

Page last modified July 18, 2019