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International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC)

Participate in the ICBSC to prepare for the real world. Selection and registration in November. Compete in Spring.

The International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition is a challenging competitive event that serves universities, their students, and the business community. The Competition provides students with an exciting learning experience in which they, in direct competition with other college teams, run a simulated company and have the opportunity to network with business executives and students from around the world. Universities benefit by participating in a program that encourages student engagement, builds school pride and provides their best students with an experience that can jump-start their careers with a resume-building activity. Our business partners benefit by being able to meet and recruit talented individuals who have had the personal and professional growth experience of the ICBSC.

What is the Competition?

In this competition, university teams of four to six students take over the management of a simulated manufacturing company competing directly against 4-5 other firms run by competitor teams from other universities. Teams in the competition are divided into “worlds” of about four to six companies with undergraduate teams and MBA teams having their own worlds. Each team assumes responsibility for key strategic and operational decisions in marketing, finance, and operations. Team members have the experience of running their own company as they strive to outperform their rivals.

Why is this Competition unique?

This business competition involves both a remote phase and an intensive phase that, together, extend over a period of about ten weeks. The remote phase begins in January (the first week of Spring classes for CSULB) at home campuses; the intensive phase will occur April 21–23, 2022, when all teams will finalize their strategies.

Let's Talk

Set up your own Zoom Session to learn about the Competition and see if you are a great fit.  This is for students that want something challenging above and beyond the College of Business education. Contact Barbara Barcon, CSULB ICBSC advisor/lecturer, at  we will zoom you into what this Competition is all about.

What do students say about the Competition?

When you are a business student, you hear the phrase “in the real world” many times over. It is in reference to the life after school when everything you have learned will be put to the test. At CSULB the real world was brought to the classroom in the form of the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC). After a selective application process, a group of graduate and undergraduate students from CSULB were split into three teams, each competing in a simulated environment of companies from all over the world. As the CEO of “What A Crock” I had the opportunity to learn concepts outside of the textbook that provided a glimpse into what I would face in the workplace as a C-Suite executive... 2020 ICBSC Update Post Competition - Leah Espinoza, Evening MBA

“The competition gave me the resources and knowledge that cannot be learned in a classroom. It showed me the importance of having a solid plan and being able to execute it. Most importantly, I can attribute a big part of my success to specific lessons learned during the competition.”

“I learned more in this class/competition than in all my classes over 4 years”

“This is the only class I liked coming to and working on.”

Key Dates

  • October 27. Interested Students must submit an application for acceptance into the competition 
  • October 29, 2021 Students that are selected will be notified 
  • November 1, 2021. Spring registration begins 
  • Selected students will meet on December 10 for four hours to select teams, roles, and gain an overall understanding of what’s to come starting in January.  Students must be available for this December meeting.
  • Students must also be available for the April 21-23 intensive phase beginning on a Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.  This is mandatory to participate and pass this course.
  • The course will be completed by the end of April.

Student Benefits

Each year students say that the competition has been the most rewarding experience of their college career. Some have said the greatest benefit was the realistic opportunity to apply academic concepts; others said the greatest benefit was being an integral part of a closely-knit, finely honed team. Students listing the competition on their resumes have discovered that it has helped them land a job or a valuable internship. Some have even benefited from interviewing with a person that had earlier participated in the competition as a judge or team member. For students, the benefits include:

  1. Hands-on experience of actually "running" a corporation
  2. Bringing together functional academic concepts resulting in an integrated, applied management experience
  3. The taste of battle with, at times, stirring success, or, at times, stunning failure--at least in the perspective of the moment
  4. Feeling the synergy of the team experience
  5. Earn three units of elective credit, if the program allows (always check with your advisor)
  6. "The single most rewarding experience in my entire college career." (quote from a former student participant)
  7. Become part of the CSULB winning tradition
  8. Great resume builder!

Who Should Apply?

Acceptance to be on a team is through the application. The best candidates will be those CSULB students who have completed their core coursework. It is recommended that Undergraduate students have completed IS 301, MKT 300, MGMT 300, and Acct 201 before applying. Usually juniors and seniors. MBA students must be in the Evening MBA or Online MBA program to receive credit and be eligible for this course. MBA students who have completed one year's worth of coursework are clearly eligible. In some cases, first-year MBA students with undergraduate business degrees, extensive business work experience or a strong desire to learn and compete might be qualified to be on an MBA team.

While no specific GPA is required, students who have earned at least a GPA of 3.0 if an undergraduate and a 3.3 if an MBA, like a challenge, are problem-solvers, and have a flexible schedule that will allow them to meet on weekends or other times with their team members are especially encouraged to apply. The competition is time-consuming. Expect to spend between 4-10 hours outside of class each week working with your team. Good writing, analytical, presentation, and computer skills, including the ability to use Excel or other spreadsheets are skills essential to being successful in the competition.


Contact Barbara Barcon, CSULB ICBSC advisor/lecturer, at

The 57th Annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition was a success.  Three CSULB Business Teams completed the competition!!  Our Graduate Team won First Place!  A great experience for all.

CSULB COB Top left Barron Effenberger, Barbara Barcon  ICSBC Advisor, Mai Weisz. 
Row  Kurt Bogle, Steven Salazar, Jinny Uh.
Row, Cynthia Buzas, Charlotte Mahone, Melanie Tran.
Bottom row,  Jose Godinez, Alejandro Ponce, Stephan Collard.   

After a semester of virtual planning, analysis, document writing and decision making the 22 Teams from 12 universities across the country (and Canada) concluded last weekend with the grueling intensive phase.  They met with their Board of Directors (professionals, also from across the country) to convince them that they made the right decisions and are the right management team to move the company forward.

All three of the CSULB teams, 2 undergraduates and 1 graduate, performed admirably.  Team Glovely, an undergrad team, came in 3rd place overall in their “World.”  Led by Steven Salazar as CEO and Jinny Uh as COO, Melanie Tran as VP of Marketing, and Jose Godinez as CFO.  While grad team Fly-Cleats took the top honor with First Place in Best Overall!! They were also runner-ups in Best Documents.  Fly Cleats was led by Evening MBA students Kurt Bogle as CEO, Barron Effenberger as CFO, On-Line MBA student Mai Weisz as COO, and M.S. Marketing Analytics student Charlotte Mahone as VP Marketing.

Students commented on what amazing learning and life experience it was for them.  Some even said it was their best college experience, period.

Recruiting for next year’s teams will start in the fall.  If you are will be at least a junior in spring 2022 or an Evening MBA or Marketing Analytics major and are interested, please contact Barbara Barcon at for more info.

GO Beach!!