What is the Competition?
The ICBSC is the longest-running and most comprehensive business competition in the world. Undergraduate and MBA teams from all over the USA, Canada, and, at times, other countries, participate in the competition. California State University, Long Beach is the current host of the competition which, in 2023, will be celebrating its 58th year.
Who are the Judges?
Most of our judges are business executives with extensive professional experience in such diverse areas as strategic planning, marketing, new product research and development, executive training, software development, mergers and acquisitions, investments, commercial real estate, banking, and public accounting. Several are also educators who have brought their experiences into university classrooms. Our judges typically have 1) at least a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, 2) skills in understanding, and analyzing financial data and financial ratios, 3) a business background with several years of management experience and/or in teaching college business courses, and 4) a desire to contribute to a significant growth experience for student participants.
When does the Competition Take Place?
The ICBSC takes place over a period of about eleven weeks and has two phases – the remote and the on-site.
The Remote Phase (Late January- Early April):
During the remote phase (over the period of about 12 weeks) student teams, divided into undergraduate and graduate “worlds” of four to six “companies” run a virtual company by making quarterly decisions in marketing, production, human resources, and finance that are input into The Business Policy Game, a sophisticated computer-run simulation. Based on the decisions made by the student teams, their companies sell products and generate expenses that determine their performance on a number of traditional financial metrics that are reported to them on a quarterly basis. The teams must balance long-term investments and performance with short-term performance. Teams also write a Business Plan and an Annual Report for their simulated company.
The Intensive Phase (Late April):
During the on-site phase at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel in Anaheim, California which lasts for three days, students complete the remainder of their company’s simulated decisions during a compressed intense schedule. They meet informally with their judges who serve as their “board of directors” and then make a presentation to them in which they discuss their performance over their years of running “their company.”
What is Required of Judges? The work of judges takes place during both phases.
The Remote Phase:
In mid-March, judges’ panels receive a package of “Business Plans” that have been prepared by the 4-6 teams in the “World” that each panel has been selected to judge. Typically, judges’ panels are composed of 3 to 4 judges with 1-2 experienced judges on each panel to assist those who are new to judging. As judges, you are expected to have read and evaluated the team-prepared Business Plans for each company in the “World” you are judging prior to your arrival for the intensive phase of the ICBSC. An evaluation rubric and other materials to help understand the simulated business environment are provided by the ICBSC along with the Business Plans to assist with the evaluation process. Typically judges prepare rubrics and some prepare a written analysis of each of the 4-6 Business Plans that can be provided to the teams as feedback at the close of the competition.
The Intensive Phase:
The dates of the intensive phase this year are from Late April. The intensive phase participation begins on first night with a social event with food for judges, team advisors, and all of the students from participating teams. This first evening is encouraged but optional for the judges. Early on next morning, the work of the judges begins with an orientation and determination of rankings for the team documents (the Business Plan and the Annual Report which is received upon arrival at the intensive). After evaluating the documents, judges have lunch with team advisors and then have an informal visit with each team at their “headquarters.” Judges are then invited to an open bar and food reception early Friday evening. Third morning is devoted to the formal presentations of the teams in the judges’ “Worlds.” The presentations are intended to simulate a Board of Directors meeting with the management team (students) where past performance of the company and future plans are discussed. From noon to 1:30pm judges’ final evaluations and ranking of teams for the awards which will be presented at the 1:30pm Awards Banquet which typically ends around 4:00 PM. After the banquet, students are encouraged to meet informally with their judges to receive feedback on their performance.
What it Costs?
Judges volunteer their time and pay the costs of their own travel, lodging, (if traveling in from a remote location) and their dinner meal on the Friday evening of the Intensive Phase of the ICBSC. Many judges find that the reception held for the judges substitutes for a formal meal. The ICBSC covers the Thursday evening social, Friday, and Saturday continental breakfasts, both lunches, the Friday night hosted reception, and the Saturday awards banquet. Any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by judges are eligible to be considered a contribution to a tax-deductible charity on your taxes as the ICBSC has 501(c) 3 statuses.