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Vientiane International School’s “Dragon’s Den” 2017

By Sheryl Krengel
Vientiane International School’s “Dragon’s Den” 2017

Students at Vientiane International School (VIS) in Vientiane, Laos held the 2nd Annual VIS Business Challenge on Friday 27 January, 2017. As our school is home to the VIS Dragons, it seemed appropriate to name the event after the BBC program “Dragon’s Den.” The learning goal for the 22 International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) Business Management students was to apply their marketing, operations, human resources, and financial management skills to a real-life situation. The goal was to make a profit, a necessity for all businesses.
How it works
Students organized themselves into companies according to class: the 11th grade faced off with the 12th grade. Each team researched the wants and needs of the market and developed a plan. In addition, each team was required to research and select an organization to which they would donate their profit, if one was made. This allowed their organizations to exhibit “corporate social responsibility.”
Students were allowed to buy raw materials but would assume 100 percent of the risk of such purchases. If they failed to sell their products, they would experience an economic loss. Furthermore, they were not allowed to physically sell their products or services until 7:00 a.m. on Friday morning, and all sales were to be concluded by 5:00 p.m. the same day.
On Friday morning at break, the two business teams sold a variety of snacks and drinks as the 11th grade hosted a game of chance. At lunch, pre-ordered Indian food lunches arrived along with bubble tea sold by the 11th grade. There was also a variety of food on offer from the 12th-grade students. After school, the 12th grade hosted three different movies for the primary students while the 11th grade sold jellies and washed cars in the VIS parking area.
On the following Wednesday at lunch, all students gathered to present their results. Each grade reported statistics related to each area of activity—operations, human resources, marketing, and finance—and concluded with the team’s total sales revenue and profit (or loss).
The results
All companies made a profit that met the student goal. Each company gave an in-depth and reflective presentation that met the learning goal. Still, this was supposed to be a competition. So who won?
The 11th-grade class earned 4,435,000 kip (approximately US$540) in revenue, with costs of 2,164,000 kip (US$263). Therefore they were able to donate their profit—2,571,000 kip (US$312) to Vientiane Rescue. The 12th-grade class earned 1,929,000 kip (US$234) in revenue, with costs of 1,096,000 (US$133). Therefore they were able to donate their profit, 955,000 kip (US$116), to YEYS.
Making Connections
The 4th-grade PYP class is also working through a unit on being an entrepreneur. The Grade 11 DP Business Management class was invited to their classroom on Tuesday, 31 January to present their Business Challenge strategies. The 11th-grade students took the lead with most of the presentation and the questions. The Grade 4 students questioned their decisions and, throughout the discussion, realized that both groups shared similar learning goals. l
Sheryl Krengel is IB DP Business Management teacher at VIS.

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