Traverse City West High School Alumni

Traverse City, Michigan (MI)

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chris steffes

Class of 2008

May 1, 2012
Winners Announced in the Fiercely Competitive Capsim Challenge® Where Students Compete to Run a Multi-million Dollar Company
For two weeks of intense competition that led up to a weekend of final rounds, two students overcame more than 1,600 others to win the semi-annual worldwide Capsim Challenge

Chicago (May 2012) — Capsim Management Simulations, Inc.®, a global leader in business simulation technology used by universities and colleges to give students experience running a major corporation, has announced the winners of its highly competitive Capsim Challenge - an online global event designed to see which business school students have the prowess to run a multi-million dollar enterprise. Since mid-April more than 1,600 students from around the world have been competing in the Challenge, which is split into two categories: the Foundation Challenge for past Foundation® Business Simulation users and the Capstone Challenge for past Capstone® Business Simulation users. Twelve finalist teams went on to compete in elimination-style rounds leaving one student in each category with the title of Top CEO.

Christopher Steffes, 23, from Michigan State University won the Capsim Capstone Challenge that requires competitors to run a $100 million business and revamp the company's declining product line(s) while also overseeing the business's finances, marketing and more.

Tanner Lambert, 25, from Montana State University - Billings won the Capsim Foundation Challenge that focuses on a $40 million company, and much like the Capstone Challenge, requires students to integrate what they have learned during business school in a realistic way by running a simulated business.

"Given the complexity of our business simulations used in the Capsim Challenge, winning is a huge accomplishment and something both students should be proud of," said Capsim Challenge Coordinator Brendan Langen. "Our simulations are designed to offer opportunities for deep practice. That is why they are more effective tools than textbooks, videos or lectures. You become an active, not a passive, learner. Through this experience, you can witness the incremental improvement in your business acumen over time."

Steffes, who will be graduating May 2012 with a degree in accounting, said that while it is well-known that running a company involves risk taking, he did not fully realize this until participating in a Capsim business simulation. "The Challenge requires the formulation and implementation of an aggressive strategy in an uncertain environment," said Steffes. "Managing this risk is extremely difficult; it requires extensive forecasting of complex product scores and competing strategies. Due to the large number of teams that participated in the Challenge, making the finals was not easy."

Steffes said he plans to pursue a career as an external auditor and credits Capsim with his career choice. "Capsim really inspired me to seek out positions that require strategic formulation, such as a CPA partner."

For Lambert, who is majoring in business finance with a minor in marketing and will graduate in 2013, the Challenge proved to him that he has the work ethic and determination to succeed in the business world. "Everything about the Challenge's Finals was intense and exciting because everyone competing is the best in the world," said Lambert. "The most challenging part was having only an hour to break down the market, recognize what the competition was doing, and still make the best decisions I possibly could. I really had to trust my knowledge and skills. It was incredibly rewarding when everything came to an end, and I knew I had done my best." Lambert hopes to use his business skills and talents to successfully impact any company he ultimately works with.

The Capsim Challenge is broken into two groups: Capstone® and Foundation®. While similar in scope, the Capstone Challenge requires students to run a $100 million business whereas the size of the company in the Foundation Challenge is $40 million. Both Challenges require participants to manage the business's product development and finances, including selecting a strategy for their company, redesigning its product lines or creating new ones, as well as figuring out the company's marketing and sales plans. And as in the real world, during the Challenge, students have investors to answer to, sales goals to meet and competition to monitor.

The Capsim Challenge is also an opportunity for students to compete with other aspiring business leaders from around the world and to prove their own skills as a potential CEO or successful entrepreneur. This year's Challenge included over 1,600 students from several countries such as the United States, Australia, Taiwan, India, Canada, Poland and Switzerland. Of those students, 16 students (and 12 teams) went on to the final rounds, which were held April 27 - 29, 2012.

To interview participating students, as well as the creators of the Capsim Challenge, contact the Capsim Challenge Coordinator, Brendan Langen at or 312.477.7200 or Lisa Davis at, 773-220-6212. For more information on the Capsim Challenge, please visit or follow us on Twitter .

About the Spring 2012 Capsim Challenge
The Capsim Challenge is a global online competition held in the spring and fall semester each year designed to test the business smarts of undergraduate and graduate students worldwide. The competitions are open to all students who have used a Capsim business simulation in their recent university course work. Each simulation is designed to mimic real-world corporate issues and dilemmas putting students in realistic decision-making roles where they have to successfully run a company. The simulation covers finance, marketing, product development, labor negotiations, and human resources issues. Individuals can play with or without a team (five-person team maximum). The Challenge begins with eight qualifying rounds on April 13, 2012 followed by two days of finals (April 27-29, 2012). The winning team will be announced on April 30, 2012. For more information on the Spring 2012 Capsim Challenge, please visit

About Capsim Management Simulations, Inc.
Capsim is a global leader in business simulation technology and services designed to teach business acumen in any learning environment. Capsim Business Simulations create rich learning experiences that give participants, whether in an academic or corporate setting, the opportunity to practice the skills and build the business acumen that are behind today's successful companies. More than 100,000 participants at over 500 schools and corporations have built their business acumen through Capsim learning experiences. For more information on Capsim, please visit

About Foundation
The Capsim Foundation simulation experience is an engaging, immersive exploration of core business processes. Participants learn by running a business that simulates the management decision processes in a competitive environment. The Foundation simulation provides solid exposure to the essential elements in business such as the critical relationships among the key business areas of research and development, marketing, production, and finance. Two additional functional modules, Human Resources (HR) and Total Quality Management (TQM) are available with Foundation.

About Capstone
Capstone is the Capsim flagship business management simulation. The Capstone simulation experience is richer in scope than Capsim Foundation, yet similar in structure. Participants in a Capstone business simulation find themselves faced with more strategy-based decision making because of the introduction of more sophisticated functional areas in the form of the Advanced Marketing module and the Labor Negotiation module. Also, the addition of more products and segments results in a substantial increase in data and competitive variables. The experience emulates real-world challenges that corporate managers face in today's global marketplace

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