EMBA Student Wins Global CAPSIM Challenge Business Simulation

 Justin Zampedro
Justin Zampedro

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 23, 2018) — Recent Executive MBA graduate Justin Zampedro’s skill at making critical business decisions earned him first place last month in the CAPSIM Challenge, a business simulation pitting students against competitors from around the world.

Zampedro, who works as a senior application operations engineer at General Electric, finished first place among alumni of the CAPSIM Capstone program, and was the global top scorer across all competitors in the Challenge, which took place April 21.

The CAPSIM Challenge is an eight-round simulation that casts student teams as the leaders of a fictional multi-million-dollar sensor company. Competitors working remotely from their own computers must make strategic decisions about all of the business’s functional areas, including research and development, production, marketing, finance, and human resources. Each team faces an identical scenario, earning points based on the effectiveness of their decisions.

“I put a lot of time and investment into learning the foundational business principles,” says Zampedro. “It feels great being able to put all that into practice and come out on top.”

Educational software developer CAPSIM organizes the Challenge each year, opening it to students currently or previously enrolled in one of their two digital course offerings: Foundation or Capstone. Zampedro completed the Capstone course as a requirement of the Michael J. Coles College of Business EMBA program’s integrated curriculum, which qualified him to compete in the Challenge against other Capstone alumni.

During the competition, Zampedro earned 771 points out of a possible 1,000. His score not only exceeded those of the six finalists in the Capstone group, but also those of the six Foundation finalists. Some of the other finalists included teams from Thammasat University in Thailand, Bharathidasan Institute of Management in India, and University of the West Indies in Jamaica.  

Alison Keefe, Executive Director of the Coles College of Business’s EMBA program, says Zampedro’s impressive performance in the CAPSIM Challenge speaks directly to his passion and drive to succeed.

“Justin has not only been an exceptional student,” she says, “but a student who pushes himself outside his comfort zone to integrate and apply all the information provided by the EMBA program into his professional career. This is exactly what we strive for in the EMBA program.”

CAPSIM has been a part of the EMBA program curriculum for more than 15 years. Keefe describes it as a valuable tool for helping students understand how businesses function vertically and horizontally. Zampedro’s win marks the first time a Kennesaw State University student has won the CAPSIM Challenge.

Justin Zampedro

While Zampedro enjoyed how the Challenge allowed him to explore real-world applications of the concepts learned throughout the EMBA program, he says the most exciting part was forecasting the business’s future.

“Forecasting is so involved,” he says. “You have to incorporate a lot of factors, including game theory and marketing. It gets really challenging trying to guess what opponents are doing and then positioning your products to outsell theirs. If you don’t do well at forecasting, you’re going to undersell and not meet expectations, or you will run out of product and lose market share.”

Zampedro, who graduated from the EMBA program in May with a 4.0 and was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, says that the experience completing the CAPSIM Capstone course and winning the CAPSIM Challenge has prepared him to excel in his career at GE.

“It definitely taught me a lot about teamwork and coordination,” he says,” and the importance of making sure everyone knows why decisions are made and what impact they have.”

-Patrick Harbin

Photos by Catalina Calvo