This web site is specifically designed for instructors who use or want to consider using The Stanford Bank Game (SBG) as an educational tool. You’ll find extensive information about the simulation - participant decision output reports, manuals, other supporting materials, and pricing information.
For more information, send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include SBG in the Subject Line to help avoid spam filters
Human Resources West, Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94107
email: email@example.com (include SBG in your subject line)
phone: 1 415-550-7600
The Stanford Bank Game (formerly known as the Stanford Bank Management Simulator or SBMS) began as a personal computer program that simulates the operations of a commercial bank, based on the decisions of simulated management teams. The simulation is designed for use as a training tool to provide current and future managers of financial institutions a working knowledge of key financial interrelationships. The simulation is not an exact replica – allowing precise what-if scenarios and consequences; the simulation is a close approximation.
Student-Participants make short-term operating decisions and, at the same time, consider the implications of these decisions for long-run growth and profitability. While the relationships in this program are idealized and do not necessarily reflect the particular operations of any actual bank or class of banks, participants work with a fairly complex and realistic model and are challenged to make optimal decisions within this framework.
The basic operational unit of the game is an individual bank. The basic time unit is the calendar quarter (no seasonal patterns exist). In each quarter of the game, the simulation computes the earnings and operating results for each bank by processing the decisions of participating simulated bank teams; the simulation reports the financial positions of the banks at the start of a quarter, indicates some economic and competitive data in the marketing environment, and reports out on the status and conditions of the simulated financial institutions based upon bank teams’ decisions.
At the end of each quarter, the program generates several reports: The Instructor's Report summarizes the performance of each bank; individual bank team reports for each bank show that particular bank's financial position and the composition of its loan and investment portfolios as well as comparative information on all banks. The ending financial position of each bank in each quarter becomes that bank's new starting financial position for the following period. Participants manage several areas of the financial institution, such as securities, liabilities, loans, services, capital to maximize institutional profitability.
Simulations are powerful educational tools that have been used very successfully in banking schools, banks, and graduate programs for several years. The SBG output reports of the starting position of team banks are complex case studies. Each set of quarterly management decisions can be seen as the participants' solutions to the case studies. With each turn/decision, the output reports, in the form of financial statements, act as both an evaluation of the participants' decisions and as whole new case studies. New problems are products of the prior decisions and participants are challenged to find ways to improve performance each quarter.
The Stanford Bank Game is a self-contained package which consists of the following:
1. Student Manual: requires about 10 hours of study time. Optional case studies are available.
2. Instructor's Manual: contains information about the Instructor's Report and some of the inner workings and assumptions of the simulation.
3. Program: consists of an installer file and an executable to run the simulation. SBG is a Windows-based application; Windows XP and later operating systems are acceptable; and, we encourage browser updates.
SBG 12 is a more flexible instructional tool. Here are 4 key changes in Version 12:
1) comma separated values file format (CSV);
2) updated installer;
3) hedging feature change;
4) no license required /pricing.
Changes made to the SBG model are minor; users of SBG Version 11 can move to Version 12 easily.
CSV file: SBGs output reports contain a wealth of data and information. Manipulating and entering this information was daunting for the instructor who wanted to create templated spreadsheets for student-participants. SBG 12 produces a CSV file for each bank; the file can be emailed to students; the file can be more easily copied into a spreadsheet. The CSV file contains all of the information in the decision output reports - over 2000 pieces of accounting, economic, and competitive data. Once copied into a spreadsheet, instructors can create/write templates that utilize these data to create focused information or to create the format of information that bankers and regulators use today. Instructors can change both the type and form of the information students work with during the simulation by using student templates that instructors customize. This opens new instructional possibilities.
Updated Installer: Along with other program files, the Version 12 installer installs a trial/test version of SBG – a partially operational game to allow instructors to familiarize themselves with the game and its mechanics. The test game runs one quarter - 2.2 (year 2, quarter 2) of the simulation. Quarters 1.4 and 2.1 are hardcoded into the model; 2.2 is the first quarter that is enter-able. SBG 12 is a 32 bit program and the installer is an executable program. After your initial download of the installer, HRW can email a fully-functioning executable file of the SBG program, provided your e-mail server does not block attachments. Many institutions now block incoming email attachments and executable files (EXEs). HRW has found that Yahoo and only a few others do not block EXEs. HRW asks that you open a Yahoo account to receive the operative EXE file.
Hedging Feature Change: The hedging feature was redesigned so that the instructor can allow or not allow a hedging decision; the instructor can choose to automate the hedge. At the student decision level, this change simplifies the mechanics of how students determine the number of contracts to sell - if hedging is allowed, students can adjust the automated calculation by a percentage (versus an amount/number as in Version 11). Instructors can use this feature to either delay or eliminate hedging. FASB 133 was implemented - mostly cosmetic as Version 11 included and accomplished this outside the regular income statement.
No License Required / Pricing: Unless there is a need for the actual, physical software, there will no longer be a license requirement for SBG. All pricing is based on per student-participant use of the software – that is, a usage/royalty fee. Authorized Instructors can download copies and samples without need of a copyright release.
Simulations have been used as popular and powerful educational technology tools since the 1960s. In the 1970s a Stanford University professor saw that a simulated model of a bank had educational value to experienced bankers as well as students trying to learn the fundamental financial dynamics of banking. Alex Robichek, a chaired Banking Professor at Stanford, was one of the first to exploit this new educational technology. His vision is the foundation of what Human Resources West offers now.
Human Resources West (HRW) has licensed The Stanford Bank Game to over 200 universities, banking schools, financial institutions, and related entities.
In much the same way that “realistic” flight simulators benefit novice and experienced pilots, SBG benefits novice and experienced bankers and others associated with financial institutions. And, with a simulation, participants tend to learn a great deal more than with a traditional classroom approach alone. Participants retain information longer because of the hands-on experience and because the simulation is closer to real experience – with less attendant risk.
Participants may need several decision periods to become familiar with their simulated banks and the educational materials; after all, the simulation compresses complex and multiple experiences into an abbreviated time period. As participants grasp the intricacies of managing their simulated banks, they begin to understand issues and problems of profitability. Through its detailed reporting and immediate feedback, SBG supports and extends many of the instructor’s goals for measurable learning and greater interaction with concepts and materials presented.
SBG is a complex model and it is also an exciting game. The distinction between these is often blurred - especially for participants in a simulation. Participants are almost always enthusiastic and typically have a lot of fun; yet, they cannot realize the full educational value offered without expert guidance. In our experience, how much participants glean is largely a question of how SBG is structured and presented in the educational setting.
Key aspects of SBG that distinguish it from other bank simulations are: its data richness, the focus on intra-team and inter-team engagement, and its potentially competitive climate. As a consequence, SBG is realistic for experienced bankers and students of banking.
With SBG, participants first need to be shown how to go about managing the different areas of their banks - securities, liabilities, loans, capital - and how to integrate all of these to maximize overall profitability. Participants also need specific directions and guidance on how to convert the raw information from the output reports into the type of information required for quality managerial decisions. When this is accomplished quickly, teams truly begin to manage their simulated banks more profitably and successfully.
Our focus at HRW has been on providing banking education and “realistic” experiences that help clarify the big picture. Sometimes, this is a matter of demystifying various areas and focusing on how certain decisions influence other areas; even experienced bankers have found SBG valuable in this way. Starting with SBGs Version 8, HRW has kept its focus on ways to demystify banking for a diverse audience of student-participants. Even adjunct firms that work closely with financial institutions have deployed SBG to help their personnel become more effective.
Today, there are two editions of SBG Version 12 - US and International English in broad use. Parts of SBG and supporting materials have been translated by clients for use in non-English-speaking settings. In all cases, the SBG engine and model are the same; the terminology is different. This flexibility makes SBG attractive to other types of financial institutions as well.
Occasionally, references are made to Bankrisk or BanRisk; Bankrisk and BanRisk were earlier naming conventions for the SBG model combined with all of the course materials; it was primarily offered to commercial clients. We’ve simplified. Today, SBG is a complete package that combines the programmed model and all supporting materials; SBG is available to all client types.
With SBG, participants can better understand:
- the importance of integrating strategic decisions
- how the key areas of a bank interact
- how the economy and the competition affect financial strategies
- how the regulatory environment affects management decisions and imposes constraints on the bank
After the course, participants are better able to:
- make decisions that are good for the whole bank, not just their area of expertise
- plan concretely, based on analysis of market opportunities and risks
- appreciate the importance of complying with operating guidelines
- provide more informed and useful data to management
- make decisions under competitive pressure
- work in groups to reach stated goals.
The iterative and cyclical nature of the simulation (study, analysis, decision) is ideal for structuring SBG in a wide variety of presentation formats. How to present SBG is a question of instructor and participant requirements. Both distance learning and classroom delivery are being used successfully by instructors.
Most everyone loves a good game. Flight simulators are popular as games, so are bank simulations. Still, participants in SBG are going to spend a lot of time "playing" the game and quality guidance will always produce a much better learning experience for the time invested.
Because many institutions block emailed attachments and certain file types for security reasons, SBG does not automatically e-mail reports and attachments and certain file types.
What is academic versus commercial? Increasingly, there are blurred lines between academic and quasi-academic activities as all institutions struggle with cost issues. For HRW, academic, accredited degree usage occurs when individual students pay tuition and program costs; we define all other usage as non-profit or commercial. Non-profit pricing is available. For some International institutions, the distinction between academic versus commercial fees is narrowed and is based on the type of education as well as who pays for the education -- individuals or some other entity (directly or indirectly).
With SBG, students/participants pay a per person usage fee – a royalty.
Student-Participant materials may be used by authorized institutions and authorized instructors. Authorized users are asked to show full attribution when these materials are distributed. A formal copyright release is available if such a document is required.Authorized users are notified when the support for a version of SBG ends. The current supported SBG version is Version 12. With SBG 12, a license is no longer required. Exception: A license will be required if HRW provides a physical delivery of SBG software (i.e., CDs, DVDs).
Academic Undergraduate use is $45.00 per student.
Academic Graduate level use is $75.00 per student.
Nonprofit Commercial use is $150 per student.
For-profit Commercial use is $250 per student.
To enroll / register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with SBG in the subject line.
For first time clients, please include the following in the email:
· Name of your institution or entity
· Phone number of your entity/institution/department in the email (so that HRW can verify your status and authorization to act)
· Your name, title, and direct contact phone number
· Short description of planned use and audience/participant type
· Short descriptor of type of course (generic banking/finance; specialty finance/banking; governmental/regulatory)
· Expected frequency of use
Alert! Version 12 installer is large. Before downloading this installer to a managed PC network, get clearance and/or assistance from your technical support group; sometimes there are network security concerns to be addressed. Downloading to a stand-alone PC usually does not require assistance. After a successful install and test, HRW will email to authorized users the fully-functioning version. The fully functioning version is an executable file (EXE); we will ask you for an email account and address that does not block attachments – such as Yahoo. Increasingly, as a security control, institutions block incoming attachments and EXEs.
Sample Excel and PowerPoint files. This Excel file contains 19 templates that were created for use with the Version 12 comma-separated values (CSV) / spreadsheet file. The PowerPoint file is a sample of a structured presentation linked to the Excel file. All templates need to be checked and updated to your needs prior to use with student-participants. The intent of the samples is to show what can be done using the CSV capability within SBG 12. Please review them and customize them to your specifications. Other and later templates may be available through the generosity of other instructors.
List of Instructor Materials Available Supplemental Materials
|Basic Materials||Supplemental Materials|
|Initial Installation (trial EXE) and files||CSV file output (part of SBG program)|
|Fully Functioning EXE (sent separately by HRW)||Case Studies|
|Instructor Manual||Sources and Uses Form|
|Student/Participant Manual (US and International)||Sample Excel and PowerPoint file/templates|
|Decision Input Form||2011 Excel file/templates|
|Decision Output Reports Quarter 1.4 and 2.1|
All pricing is based on per student-participant usage (a royalty). This is the only fee that will be charged for standard use. There are no fees for the supporting materials.
No License Required: Unless there is a need for the actual, physical software, there will no longer be a license requirement for SBG. Authorized Instructors can download and copy supporting materials without need of a copyright release.Academic Undergraduate use is $45.00 per student.
The student materials for SBG are zip files in pdf format. Instructors select the student materials to be used; instructors provide copies for their students.
SBG lends itself to distant learning formats. This is can be attractive to reduce delivery and logistics costs. The European Bank Training Network through Warsaw Institute of Banking (wib.org.pl) has offered SBG as EuroBanrisk in successful distant learning formats for several years.
Three Typical Supports for Students using The Stanford Bank Game (SBG), US or International editions.
1) Executive Edition Manual (approximately 100 pages). This manual includes detailed analyses of the two background reports - quarters 1.4 and 2.1. These two Decision Output Reports for Quarters 1.4 and 2.1 help students make the Quarter 2.2 decision, the starting game position for every SBG game. The manual shows how to do a Sources and Uses forecast. Participants typically read through / complete this manual in 10-15 hours.
2) The Executive Edition Case Studies (approximately 200 pages). Case Studies are more effective with MBA level students and experienced bankers. They contain general and detailed information and expand on topics found in student manual. Originally developed by and for working bankers, some cases analyze profitability; some generate managerial data that is needed for further analysis or forecasting. Instructors decide how, when, and if case studies will be used and how they are to be distributed.
Apart from providing students with methodology, case studies help students organize and distribute the workload in the game. By being more efficient, teams accomplish more. When students feel they are in control of their banks, there is a significant shift in the educational focus of the simulation experience. In fact this is when the simulation truly begins to simulate real world bank management.3) Sample Excel Spreadsheets / CSV files. This feature can replace or supplement case studies. Several templates are included that work with the CSV file and then can be linked to presentation applications such as PowerPoint. Early templates were generously offered by Dr. West at the University of Wisconsin. Instructors should check for template accuracy and appropriateness before using or modifying a template. HRW will provide copies of other templates – with attribution – when and if others make them available for general use.
SBG reports and educational materials can be translated into most Microsoft supported languages. Institutions may translate any of the participant manuals. HRW asks that you provide us with a final copy of the translated and transformed materials as a Microsoft Word file for our reference.
HRW takes no responsibility for the accuracy of these transformed/translated materials; banking terminology is complex and nuanced; we recognize that translations/transformations may not be exact or technically precise.
No matter the language, SBGs underlying rules engine, model, and programming remain the same; SBG is dollar-denominated; only the terminology changes.
The programming and test fee for translations is $500.
To create a translation, HRW provides a special file that contains the current language used in the decision input form and the decision output reports. You, the client institution, will fill in the replacement terminology of you require. You must have Microsoft Windows operating in the appropriate language and script; that is, an Arabic translation cannot be created on a PC running Microsoft Windows in English. You send the completed file with the replacement terms to HRW to create and complete the customized edition for your use.
English language users can modify the current terminology in the same fashion for other suitable financial education; examples include focused financial area (credit and risk management, securities); and cooperatives, credit unions, and building societies.
1. How do I Get Version 11 Manuals or materials?
HRW no longer supports earlier SBG versions. HRW does not charge to upgrade to Version 12. Version 12 changes are minimal; games play the same way as Version 11.
2. How should I use SBG?
SBG is popular with participants and students under most conditions and delivery methods – distant learning, seminar, classroom. Examples, posted under the Instructors Materials above, show how SBG has been structured as a capstone financial-focused course, in a lab/practicum format, and as measured learning competition. Europeans have made SBG both an in-country financial institutions training and competition and a multi-country event. The supporting materials and case studies may help you decide how to integrate SBG into your program.
3. How does Version 12 compare to Version 11?
SBG XII will not require Instructors to change the way SBG is presented or managed. There are very small changes in the numbers in the 1.4 and 2.1 decision output reports that may require updates to your teaching notes. Version 12 provides eight economies - four are basic students and four are more complex. Other small changes focused on SBGs code and infrastructure.
a) The mechanics of the hedge are different – now a percentage in Version 12. Hedging can be automated so instructors can opt to remove this as a student decision.
b) Many SBG users felt that the current level of complexity should not be increased significantly. It seems that as SBG began to grow in complexity – mirroring the real world, there was a loss in basic educational value. Two objectives of Version 12 were to simplify features and to increase instructional options. One result was the CSV file; it contains all the decision output data and can be easily copied into a spreadsheet; this allows an instructor to “remake" the simulation into a different tool and product to cover almost any aspect of modern day financial institutions management - by creating specific-use student templates.
c) The single approach to capital adequacy that is generically aligned with international risk based guidelines remains. SBG still calculates required capital and then expresses capital adequacy as a percentage of the required amount. At present, you can create a Basel template though the game does not offer the layers of complexity that is part of the Basel approach. SBG users felt the Basel topic could still be addressed via their teaching notes and lectures; they wanted to maintain SBGs value as a baseline teaching tool.
d) Securities in the game are marked to market each quarter. Increasingly, regulators require additional capital for interest rate risk and this is reflected in the game. As an instructor option, students can buy/sell futures to help offset changes in the value of securities. Speculative purchases or sales are penalized by additions to capital requirements.
e) Two year fixed rate syndicated loans are part of SBG; students decide how much to purchase each quarter.
f) The real estate portfolio is a floating rate portfolio in both the US and International English editions.
g) Financial Institutions use economic and financial models for management. SBG includes beta, weighted average cost of capital, and corporate return information in the decision output reports.
h) The stock pricing feature still combines financial and regulatory features to provide a single measure of overall success. The futures hedging feature combined with marking securities to market in the balance sheet meant modifying stock price to use operating earnings adjusted by net changes to non-operating and retained earnings. SBG looks for sustainable increases to stockholder value and penalizes decreases.