Interpretive Challenge Spring 2021

We launched The Interpretive Challenge campaign to select one professor who would have an opportunity to win a $1000 scholarship for a winning team in their class.
We created The Interpretive Challenge Scholarship in hope to support students in their academic achievements. Our goal is to provide an exciting and realistic learning environment, and by doing so also encourage students to excel.
The winner of The Interpretive Challenge for Spring 2021 was Professor Marina Field at the Columbia University. Professor Field used our HRManagement simulation in her Human Resource Management class this Spring/Winter 2021 semester.


“I initially thought the simulation would be a fantastic learning opportunity, but I never imagined how much it would influence the level of student learning, the depth of class conversations, and lead students to demand more time be devoted to discussing the simulation.
Reflecting on the semester, three key themes emerged:
1. There can be too much of a good thing:
New hire training, manager training, safety training…many teams piled on the training hoping to increase employee effectiveness, satisfaction, etc.. For several teams, this strategy backfired. They received messages that employees were overwhelmed. Not only was training not going to increase job satisfaction, but it was decreasing productivity!
2. Money doesn’t solve all of your problems
Some teams had the strategy of throwing money at their problems. For example, in an attempt to decrease turnover, one team increased wages and benefits. The disappointing negligible impact forced them to consider other factors that could be leading to higher turnover.
3. Creating a diverse organization can be challenging
The biggest challenge students faced was increasing diversity. After Q3, I added diversity metrics to the weighted score. Teams that had been at the bottom but invested in diversity early on rose to the top and vice versa. The teams attacked this challenge ferociously. They increased diversity targets, hired AA officers, and did their best to create organizations that would be attractive to all workers. Teams struggled with the difficulty of impacting these numbers, providing the perfect opportunity to discuss what it takes to create diverse and inclusive organizations.
These three themes just scratch the surface as it relates to benefits students gained from their experience. Regardless of HR experience (which ranged from none to several years), the simulation gave them hands-on practical experience. They identified strategies, developed ideas, put them into practice, and observed the results. When things went well, it gave them confidence. When things didn’t go well, they reflected and worked to revise their strategies. The simulation gave them a safe space to test out their ideas, building their confidence for when they have to act in the real world.”

Dr. Marina Field

Full-time Lecturer, Columbia University