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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.

2020 Competition - 3 Winning Teams COB, Go Beach! 

Both CSULB Graduate Business Teams took first place in their respective competitions! Congratulations to What a Crock and Teeth Tribe. The ICBSC is always looking for strong business leaders to be judges. If you are interested in participating as a judge next spring, you can contact Bruce Sparks. CSULB students who are interested in participating next year can contact Barbara Barcon.

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

(ICBSC) held the intensive phase of its 56th annual event last weekend. Universities come from around the world to participate in this amazing opportunity to compete in a very complex simulation of a production company that they run over the semester and then it culminates in this final phase.  CSULB entered 3 teams.  They started preparing in December to be ready for the beginning of the spring semester.  They formed their company with a leadership team of a CEO, CFO, COO and VP of marketing.  They prepared a strategic business plan early on, then an annual report and a presentation to their judges (their Board of Directors).  Each of the CSULB teams won first place for overall performance in their World.  And other documents and presentation award too.  It was an amazing accomplishment for The Beach.   A huge thank you to Dean Solt for allowing CSULB to be the host school and allowing the competition to go on virtually.  The students learned so much and were happy to participate regardless of format.  It was worth it.  And finally, as the host university, we provided the overall administrator.  We are so fortunate to have Bruce Sparks in this role and are all amazed how he so quickly converted the Intensive Phase to a virtual format with over 130 participants.  Thank you!
2020 Students in Competition - See all names  of 3 Winning Teams 

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.

 Pending - 2021 ICBSC Application Package (PDF) 

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 16-18 when all teams travel to the on-site hotel in Anaheim, California. During the intensive phase, students meet their peers from other universities, an experience that intensifies the competitive element of the competition and encourages networking.

What do students say about the Competition?

• “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

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 resume 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 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. Undergraduate students should have completed IS 301, MKT 300, MGMT 300, and Acct 201 before applying. Usually juniors and seniors. MBA students should have completed enough units to be in their second year of the program. In some cases, first-year MBA students with undergraduate business degrees or extensive business work experience 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