Assessment of Complex Simulations in MBA Courses: A Quantitative Ex Post Facto Study

My dissertation was selected by MBA News Digest for publication in their daily forum to members.


Corporations seek Master of Business Administration (MBA) students who are ready to perform upon hiring. Business schools need to align instructional practices and technology with student, accreditation, and marketplace demands. Complex simulation use has increased exponentially to provide MBA students with business experience in the classroom. Methods to assess the effectiveness of complex simulations to achieve learning outcomes is limited to student perceptions of learning, satisfaction, and direct assessment separately. The purpose of this quantitative ex post facto comparative study was to examine MBA students’ perception of learning to real performance in integrative courses with complex simulation. Archival MBA student Peregrine COMP™ pretest, posttest, and SIRII™ scores were analyzed using independent t-test, paired sample t-test, and Pearson r coefficient. MBA students perceived higher levels of learning in courses with complex simulation based on the statistically significant increase in SIRII™ scores over courses without simulation. Another key finding from the quantitative study was the statistically significant negative correlation of students’ perception of learning to actual performance. Positive student perceptions of learning could hide a complex simulation’s inability to meet student learning outcomes, according to the statistically significant decrease between pretest, and posttest Peregrine COMP™ scores. Based on the quantitative correlation analysis of student perceptions of learning to actual performance, MBA administrators and faculty need to evaluate the use of instructional technology from multiple data points to avoid applications that offer minimal value to achieving learning outcomes. Future research opportunities could include a larger MBA population from multiple regions of the United States. Additional studies could investigate undergraduate perceptions of learning to actual performance to assess any benefit from complex simulations.

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Teresa Hutchinson
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MBA News Digest
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