Update: South students going to regionals for business simulation game competitions

Elise Sommers, Staff writer

By 2035, most current South students will be in their early 40’s.  While nobody can know what will happen in the next 23 years, juniors Raleigh Gleason, Phillip Cronin, Charlie Moreira, and Alex Ausland have made predictions in the computer game JA Titan.

JA Titan is a widely recognized economics simulation that exposes high school students to the world of business.  South Government/Economics teacher Richard Nohel has partnered with Junior Achievement to use it as a final project for the first semester of the class.  The game is completely free for anyone, anytime, and you can play it here.

Set up as a competition, this dynamic team of Gleason, Cronin, Moreira, and Ausland advanced from top ranking in the competitions at South back in January, to the metro competition on April 27, where they were the eighth of ten teams to continue on to the regional competition, which will take place on May 14.

“We’re basically compacting against other teams creating future iPods,” said Gleason.  This future iPod is called a hologen, and is the equivalent of what an iPod is now in 2035, the year the game is set.

JA Titan offers the opportunity to experience six pillars of business management, by making executive decisions about cost of marketing, price of product, how much to produce, how much to spend on research and development, charity, and the level of capital investment.  When designing the hologen, this team had to balance the price of putting in futuristic features such as “smellovision” and video conferencing, and the eventual sales cost to run a successful business.

“Basically it is just to go big or go home,” stated Cronin, describing the team’s strategy in the game “[that’s] not just the gutsiest thing. Maintain a good plan throughout and apply that towards the end of the game when you can win the most points.”

“We pretty much just read the industry, and see what other people are doing,” Gleason added.

Teamwork was also a big part of the process of the game.  Cronin and Moreira began as partners, and placed first in their class.  When moving on, they combined with the team of Ausland and Gleason.

“Some guys inputted more than others, but it worked for us cause we’re still moving on!” Gleason said, “we’re having fun doing it.”

Cronin agreed.

“It’s good because you can agree on what you can do on a project,” he stated, “you can get different input on what you want to do.”

Gleason and Cronin both thought that the metro competition was the end of road.  The team was tremendously surprised when their names were called to move on the the next level of competition, placing eighth out of the ten highest scoring teams.

“We went crazy,” Cronin remembered, “because we didn’t expect it!”

Because the JA Titan competition is sponsored by Best Buy, prizes ranging from gift cards to game consoles and more are available to be given away and won.  Moving on to the next level, nationals, would mean the entire team would travel to compete at Microsoft’s headquarters in Oregon.

“It’s a very high-stakes thing,” stated Cronin.

Unsurprisingly, JA Titan alumni have a history of success in the business world.  Some famous winners are Frederick Deluca, CEO and founder of Subway, Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, and Senator Rick Santorum.

“If you’re going into that field . . . it gives you good ideas of what you want to do, and how to manage your money,” Cronin observed, “you learn a lot about how business works, and how to manage a product.”

Gleason also saw the applicability of Titan.

“[You learn] How much the numbers matter in a business, and what you can do to increase your profit,” Gleason reflected, “it gives you an introduction to how business works, and what it takes to run a business.”

Going on, the team members have already gained knowledge in the competition.

“I learned good strategies will get you far, and using teamwork as well,” said Cronin, “it applies concepts to future jobs, and allows you to work well with other people.”

Read more about the game, Junior Achievement, and the South competition here.