Digital Marketing program graduate Preston Schleihs. Schleihs competed in the MarketPlace Live simulation competition this spring as part of his Digital Marketing capstone class, placing in the top ten percent worldwide.
June 6, 2024

Mid-State Digital Marketing student ranks in top ten percent globally

June 6, 2024

Recent Mid-State Digital Marketing graduate Preston Schleihs has placed in the top 10 percent in the worldwide simulation competition by Marketplace® Simulations, which is used by colleges and universities to assess competence in marketing strategy.

Mid-State’s Digital Marketing students participated in the global competition as part of his Marketing Management capstone course this May. The competition included three levels of simulation, with Mid-State’s students enrolling individually in the Marketing Strategy Advanced level, the highest in the marketing category. Schleih’s results in the simulation mark the second time Mid-State’s Digital Marketing students have placed in the top ten percent in the world, with two students achieving the ranking in 2021.

According to Mid-State Marketing and Business Instructor Debby Wallner, the Marketplace simulation is played in the College’s Digital Marketing program capstone course to evaluate the student’s ability to apply the concepts of the program. Achieving a ranking in the top ten percent demonstrates perseverance, agility, problem-solving skills, analytical reasoning and a sound understanding of key business concepts. It also reflects extraordinary business acumen and work ethic. 

“By the end of the simulation, students are so engaged in the competition they forget they are enrolled in a class,” Wallner said.

“I was definitely surprised and elated to learn about my results in the Marketplace simulation,” said Schleihs. “I was aiming to be top of my class, and felt confident I would do pretty well, but was not expecting top ten percent in the world.”

The Marketplace Live simulation asks each team to successfully execute a complete business strategy in an evolving market using evidence-based decision making as they “run” an international 3D bike company for two years, competing against other teams as they use marketing strategy and tactics to make decisions and target five different markets. Students must synthesize data from various departments of the simulated company, use savvy resource-leveraging and demonstrate mastery of the integration and application of concepts from different facets of business. They also learn how to promote and price their bikes along with expanding sales offices internationally and forecasting sales to staff those offices.

For Schleihs one area that stood out was feeling confident in his ability to interpret data through the marketing lens and how to ask the right questions to put that data into a useful context. “The experience was fun and really reaffirmed that all the hands-on work we did in the Digital Marketing program helped me retain what I’d learned and know how to apply it.”

“Preston’s achievement in the global rankings is impressive, and it showcases his ability to compete on a global scale and succeed in the job market,” Wallner said. “It’s so satisfying to see his hard work gain this level of recognition.”

Schleihs graduated from Mid-State’s Digital Marketing program this spring and plans to transfer to the Marketing bachelor’s degree program at UW-Stevens Point this fall.

Marketplace® is a family of more than 30 marketing and business simulations, some available in 9 different languages, used by students and business professionals around the world.

To learn more about Mid-State’s Digital Marketing program, visit