The student began to fall asleep…

I could see that his eyes were slowly closing, and that not even his cellphone could keep him up. 

Then, I had a flashback. 

That student was me, sitting on one of the back rows, almost falling asleep, not because I had overslept the night before, but because the class was boring. As someone used to moving all the time, it was hard to be stationary just listening. 

Back in my class, it hit me, I’m the one leading a boring and stationary class. 

And I was not willing to let that happen. 

But, something didn’t make sense. Why were these young students not amazed as I was with revenue management? I had been a consultant for 5 years and it was all very interesting and fun. 

Revenue Management is always changing. It’s always being tested upon and it’s so dynamic. 

No wonder my students didn’t think it was fun. I wasn’t showing them actual revenue management functions before their eyes. Instead, I only discussed it, showing a bunch of formulas here and there. 

I began tackling this issue with an analog card game created by Professor Kalyan Talluri. The students had lots of fun and they could see revenue management in action, but it required a lot of help from the assistant and was a bit slow at times. I had a feeling that it could be a much more fulfilling experience in a digital environment where results could be seen on a screen and one would be able to discuss them in real-time with students in one lecture (because, yes, there is a lot of content in such a course).

I started working on the design with a colleague with funding from the university. Then on a trip for a revenue management congress, we showed the game. Everyone was fascinated with the dynamic, and then came the magic question: How much per student? 

That’s when we decided to turn this into a business. One that allows students from all over the world to experience the concepts taught in the university classroom in a virtual, but realistic setting. One where it is also possible to see which concepts are more difficult for them to understand and above all: analyze the winning and losing strategies, thus being able to manage and clarify the effects of a complex process.  

With the COVID-19 situation, I believe that more than ever, simulations are one of the most powerful tools in the classroom. It not only gives a fun environment to a complex subject, but to serve as the digital laboratory for managers of the next generation. 

By: Felipe Walker – CEO GameLab Education