Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Moving Beyond Theory with Marketplace Simulations


In a postgraduate module on strategic marketing, Dr Susan Wakenshaw tasks her students with applying the theoretical concepts learnt in the classroom to real-word scenarios using the Marketplace Simulations platform. Over the course of the two-week module, students work in groups of six, with each student fulfilling a different role, to create and promote a brand selling 3D-printed bicycles. The simulation requires students to solve six different challenges over six quarters and provides them with performance indicators throughout. Using micro-simulations, it covers topics such a social media marketing, forecasting and product design. The students are then assessed on a poster reflecting on their role in the simulation and a strategic marketing plan, written based on their experience.

The aim of the virtual simulation is to encourage students to think about how the theoretical concepts and frameworks they have learnt in the classroom can be applied to real-word challenges. This also helps to create a more authentic learning environment and is part of Susan’s wider approach to blended learning.


Dr Susan Wakenshaw, Warwick Manufacturing Group

Module: ES987: Strategic Marketing Link opens in a new window (2022)

Lesson plan

  1. Students learn relevant theoretical concepts in lectures.
  2. In groups of six, students organise themselves into different roles for the marketplace simulation, such as advertising manager, brand manager and president of the company.
  3. Over the course of the two-week module, students work in groups to complete the marketplace simulation. The simulation requires students to make six decisions over six quarters.
  4. At every stage, students get feedback both from the simulation, which shows them performance indicators, and from their tutors.
  5. Once they complete the simulation, students are required to create a poster reflecting on the simulation, which is assessed.
  6. Once the module is completed, students also use what they learnt in the simulation to write a strategic marketing plan.

Tutor's observations

Some students have different ideas of learning. [In some settings] when they ran this simulation students said ‘we didn’t really learn much’, because they think that playing a game is not really learning because they have different perceptions of learning. For them, sitting in lectures and listening to tutors is a kind of proper learning.

1_Moving Beyond Theory with Marketplace Simulations
2_first_Dr Susan Wakenshaw
3_first_Warwick Manufacturing Group
5_second_Dr Susan Wakenshaw
6_second_Warwick Manufacturing Group
ES987: Strategic Marketing