UHH Student Wins International Biz Game

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A 23-year old student at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s College of Business and Economics recently finished first in his industry in the international version of the Business Strategy Game.

The BSG is a popular simulation used in undergraduate and MBA programs by thousands of students at campuses in 51 countries.

Mark Tokuuke of Hilo was invited to take part in the competition following the winning performance of his “company” in a high-level Strategic Management class in the College of Business and Economics at UH-Hilo.

That brought an invitation to participate in the Best-Strategy Invitational, a global competition among high-performing BSG companies from around the world. Players were assigned to operate a fictitious athletic footwear company that produces and markets both branded and private-label footwear, competing in the global market with up to 12 companies in a single industry grouping.


The players must accurately assess market conditions, respond to the actions of competitors, determine a long-term direction and strategy for the company, forecast sales volumes and make market-related decisions.

Tokuuke, a 2008 Hilo High grad, scored high in each category but excelled in bonus points for making accurate market predictions, which put him over the top against teams from California, Nevada, Malaysia, Canada, Greece, Mexico, and Nigeria. He finished first in his industry by earning a perfect score of 100 in performance plus six bonus points for accurate forecasting.

“I was better at predicting than any of my competitors,” he said.


Tokuuke’s competitors included students from MBA-level programs whose skills were more advanced than his — or so he thought. “It’s nice to do good above your in-class level,” he said.

“I tended to be more cautious. My competitors were all crazy.”

Dr. Emmeline de Pillis, UH-Hilo professor of management, was impressed by Tokuuke’s performance and what it says for the College of Business and Economics.


“The strategy class is where the student has the opportunity to use everything they’ve been exposed to up to this point, and Mark was really able to show what he’s learned in the program,” de Pillis said.

“(He) approached the game very systematically. He put in the time to understand the algorithms, anticipated the likely moves of his competitors and consistently planned and executed his strategy.”

Tokuuke credits his success to his parents. Joni Tokuuke, a Hilo Public Library employee, instilled in him a love for books at an early age and his father, retired auto mechanic Ralph Tokuuke, bought him his first video game. They became his primary interests and helped him develop strong concentration, study and comprehension skills, he said.

Owner of a cumulative 3.56 GPA, Tokuuke expects to be graduated from UH-Hilo in Spring 2014, when he plans to pursue a certification in public accounting, and “a little investing on the side,” he said.

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