The University of Southampton

MANG2002 Business Simulation

Module Overview

MANG2002 introduces simulation. An experimental technique, simulation is one the most widely used modelling techniques. This is because, unlike optimising techniques such as queuing theory, it requires few assumptions. As a result, analysts use it to solve a wide variety of complex real-life problems. It is very effective. For example, a quick look at the clients of the Simul8 corporation ( reveals a long and impressive list of organisations who apply simulation. Students who successfully complete Mang2002 acquire the practical skills needed to conduct a successful simulation project from scratch, and have a theoretical understanding that is essential for the effective use of this powerful decision-aiding tool. Specifically, students will acquire theoretical understanding of and develop practical modelling skills in using three types of simulation: (i) Monte Carlo simulation using the @risk program in MS Excel spreadsheets to model complex but static problems for which changes over time are not important such as inventory control, forecasting and decision analysis; (ii) Discrete Event Simulation using the Simul8 application to model the operational behaviour of systems with complex queues such as hospitals, airports and supermarkets; and (iii) System dynamics using the Stella application to model long-term, strategic problems such as the long term effects of government policy decisions on the health care system.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Simulation is arguably the most widely used Management Science technique and has a vast range of applications. This module provides you with a basic understanding of what is meant by simulation and of three key approaches: • Monte Carlo simulation using spreadsheets; • Discrete event simulation; • System dynamics.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the reasons for using the different types of simulation and have insight into the domains in which it can usefully be applied;
  • how different simulation approaches relate to each other and to the broader concept of modelling and problem solving in Management Science.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use your analytic skills in problem solving;
  • Communicate technical ideas to non-specialist managers.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use three different types of commercial simulation software: @Risk, Simul8 and Stella.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • solve Monte Carlo and discrete event simulation problems using @Risk and Simul8, respectively;
  • formulate system dynamics problems to solve qualitatively or quantitatively to understand how they are used and how they behave;
  • experiment using the three different simulation approaches.


• Monte Carlo Simulation. • Why simulation is so widely used. Dealing with risk, variability and uncertainty. Random numbers and sampling. Interpreting the results. • Discrete Event Simulation (DES) • Introduction to DES. Approaches to modelling. Developing simulation models using commercial software. Visual interactive modelling. • System Dynamics • Deterministic simulation approach used for modelling systems with feedback. Examples include the flow of information in an organisation.

Special Features

The computer packages @risk, simul8 and Stella are used in the course of the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• 20 lectures. • 6 problem classes. • 4 computer workshops. • Independent computer work and study.

Wider reading or practice30
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Completion of assessment task48
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Oakshott, L. (1997). Business Modelling and Simulation. 

Simul8. Software

Stella. Software

@risk. Software

Pidd, M. (2004). Computer Simulation in Management Science. 

Robinson, S. (2003). Simulation: The Practice of Model Development and Use. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 40%
Examination  (2 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

MANG2006Principles and Practice of Management Science
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