FORAD Teams Descend into Violence*

By Keith Blincoe, Staff Writer

All six teams in this term’s Multinational Corporate Finance course have resorted to violence once again after a brief ceasefire.

The course is known for featuring FORAD, a three-month competitive finance simulation in which teams act as managers of multinational firms and strive to maximize share price in a fluctuating environment. The winning team will have the highest grade for that component of the course. The latest spurt of violence was triggered by the posting of the first period’s results.

“It’s not a game,” said one student the day before the posting. “It’s a simulation.” I followed up with her today as she was chasing another student brandishing a metal water bottle menacingly. “I told you it wasn’t a game!” she shouted. The other student agreed before collapsing on the grass.

Alumni look back fondly on the competitive spirit that characterizes the game. Students who have attended alumni events report being asked how their FORAD team did, and seeing alums’ eyes mist over as the conversation turned to currency hedging, oil hedging, and working capital management. “It’s not a game,” said one alumnus. “I’d call it a simulation.”

Unfortunately, the intensity of the competition has gotten out of control. Teams 3 and 4 spent an hour mercilessly pummeling each other in Snell 4. “The bigger Snell classrooms were full,” explained “Abdul” (a pseudonym to protect his identity). “But it’s not a game,” he continued. “More like a simulation.”

The fighting stems from disputes over strategy. Some teams chose to focus on expansion, while others focused on improving their credit ratings. Each team engaged, more or less recklessly, in currency and commodity speculation. “Especially Team 6!” notes “Tion.” “They call it hedging, but that’s all they do. They’re hedgetarians.”

The campus environment has become too dangerous for journalists, and Das Tor has been forced to report from ASU West. The students there had never heard of FORAD or Thunderbird. “But it’s not a game,” said this random student who saw me typing this. “It’s more of a simulation.”

At this point the most we can hope for is another ceasefire, and for the teams to put aside their differences and just compete like ordinary, figuratively cutthroat businesspeople. After all, it’s just a game.

(Disclosure: The writer is a member of Team 4 of this term’s FORAD simulation.)