hris Holeman of Hammond compares it to a chess match. For Valparaiso’s Katie Proper, it is validation for all the management classes she has finished, wondering how beneficial they will be after she leaves college and enters the business world.

Holeman, Proper and Michelle McGehee of Hammond are seniors in Purdue University Calumet’s School of Management.

They also have teamed up in a senior capstone course, taught by assistant professor of management Arifin Angriawan, in which their simulated company was ranked first in the world among 2,646 teams representing 201 higher educational institutions.

More specifically, while competing in the online version of “The Business Strategy Game,” the trio’s virtual footwear company, Diggity, topped all collegiate competitors in Return on Equity (84.7 percent) — percent of profits generated relative to shareholder-invested equity — for the week of Nov. 22-28.

During that time, Diggity also ranked 38th among worldwide teams in stock price performance ($322.82) and 45th in earnings per share ($17.25) — PUC records for all three rankings.

In “The Business Strategy Game,” published and marketed by McGraw-Hill/Irwin, collegiate teams of business students operate a simulated athletic footwear company. The student teams apply the best business practices to develop a competitive strategy for global market leadership in competition with rival companies controlled by other student teams.

The students analyze the market, pore over corporate reports and other literature, and develop a strategic business plan for their company that addresses consumer interest and prospects for success, while seeking to boost year-to-year corporate earnings.

The class serves as an experiential learning opportunity for graduating seniors in PUC’s School of Management.

“Not only do they learn, operationally and strategically, how to run their firm,” Angriawan said, “but they also apply entrepreneurial skills based on what they’ve learned in other classes.”

Proper said the climb to No. 1 in the world was exhausting, if not overwhelming.

“There was so much information to process,” she said. “At the beginning, we definitely suffered from information overload. Even though it’s a simulation, we tried to treat it as a real business. That’s what I’m most proud of; we weren’t just trying to manipulate numbers.”

Added Holeman, “Originally, our business strategy was to keep costs low by producing a lower-quality product. But then we opted on a strategy of borrowing a lot of start-up money and investing it in production and marketing of a high-quality shoe that, ultimately, we would be able to manufacture at a lower price. And that’s what has happened.

“We spent a lot of time studying the market and anticipating our competitors — like a chess match. As it turned out, our forecast was dead accurate based on our projections of competitors.”

Angriawan said “The Business Strategy Game,” in which PUC management students have competed nearly four years, emphasizes strategic planning. The Holeman-Proper-McGehee team, one of eight from PUC that participated this fall, has qualified to compete against other top achievers worldwide next month.

“This class was a review of everything I’ve learned in business management: finance, accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, operations and marketing,” said Holeman, an aspiring financial analyst.

Proper, who hopes for a career in accounting, said, “It makes me realize why I had to take all those other classes.”

Added a proud Angriawan: “Their achievements reflect the quality education of Purdue Calumet’s School of Management. They learned from many outstanding professors.”

Asked his biggest take-away from the simulated business experience, Holeman said: “It’s a level of confidence. You think you’ve learned all these concepts, but you’re not really sure. The results we were able to achieve showed, ‘Yes, we really did learn, and we know what we’re doing.’ “

And the prize for the best- looking legs goes to …

Before Thanksgiving, PUC’s Finance and Accounting Club sponsored a fundraiser dubbed “Turkey Legs.”

Pictures of the legs of five finance and accounting faculty members were displayed. Students, faculty and staff donated money for the chance to vote for the winning “Turkey Legs.”

The fundraiser generated some $200, with proceeds providing a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for a deserving Northwest Indiana family, and a Christmas dinner for another deserving family.

By the way, the legs of Accounting Department administrative head Ed Furticella won.

Fall Commencement:

PUC hosts its fall graduation exercises Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the university gym.