Sahali Secondary students learned a difficult lesson during the B.C. Business Challenge in Vancouver on Monday — but it's one that will surely serve them well in the real world.
The competition hosted by Junior Achievement puts secondary students in the role of high-tech executives in a global business simulation.
Teams work against the clock to develop management strategies for their imaginary product — a miniature audio player capable of generating holographic images. They analyze financial reports and scrutinize the actions of other companies in the futuristic marketplace of 2033.
The half dozen Grade 11 and 12 Sahali students held their own against 134 other students from 24 schools across the province until a crucial error sealed their fates.
"We were surprised that it was only five minutes per quarter. We thought there was going to be 18 quarters but there were only 12," said team member Mike Lowe. "So when the game ended we still had a lot money invested in marketing and capital investment and research and development."
The oversight dropped the team from third to seventh place in their pool. They finished 20th overall. The division winner was Lambrick Park Secondary of Victoria.
"We had a great time at our first shot at this competition," said Sahali teacher Ishtar Litt.
Tournament aside, the students recognize that the entire process is an excellent learning experience.
"It should give us an understanding of what's going to happen if we start up a business or work for a business in the marketing and retail side," said Lowe.
Undaunted, the Grade 11 students in the team intend to give it another try next year.
"Hopefully we'll get to go again because it was a good experience and maybe we can better next year," said Lowe. "If we go, we'll calculate better."