An office, a team and a country to save from bankruptcy. This is the stimulating premise behind FINEXIT, the innovative ‘alternative’ training initiative that Fundación MAPFRE launched in collaboration with the Tomillo Foundation and designed to specifically target vocational training students in Spain.
TEXT: RAMÓN OLIVER IMAGES: ISTOCK
Strategy, teamwork, problem solving or working under pressure are just some of the skills and competencies developed in FINEXIT. The goal of this gamification initiative is to help participants acquire and develop financial and insurance know-how, while training them to solve problems and overcome challenges that recreate realworld situations in these specific fields.
“Various international bodies agree on the importance of introducing financial education right from the earliest stages of education. In Spain, for example, the Spanish National Securities and Exchange Commission (the “CNMV”) and the Bank of Spain have been promoting the Financial Education Plan since 2008. Fundación MAPFRE has been collaborating in this plan, whose prime objective is to foster financial literacy among the general public, since 2012,” stresses Adrián Gutiérrez, from its Insurance and Social Protection Area.
The initiative employs gamification techniques and fully experiential methodologies to provide students with a safe, stimulating environment in which to deploy and develop their capabilities. As Adrián Gutiérrez states, gamification is an educational tool that is here to stay. “We must commit ourselves to new ways of teaching, adapted to suit both the new times and the new students. The profile of students nowadays is very different from that of a few decades ago, and the educational system simply has to adapt. Students now expect different things.”
In the case of FINEXIT, the program turns to one of the most popular formats in recent times: the escape room. Only, in this escape room, the aim is not to get out as soon as possible, but rather to solve the problem posed by the game’s creators. “We chose this format because financial knowledge is difficult to impart in the classroom, and gamification is a resource that, when used well, not only serves to teach, but does so in a fun way, thus facilitating comprehension of the subject matter,” the Fundación MAPFRE expert points out.
The game has different levels of difficulty. An initial level, designed for any Vocational Training cycle; a second level for young people who are taking a medium-level Administration and Management course; and a third, more advanced level for students taking a Higher Diploma course in Administration and Finance. “At the most difficult level, there are complicated tests that call for rather more advanced financial knowledge. At the basic level, what participants find most difficult is putting together the clues needed to resolve the puzzle and accomplish the task,” Gutiérrez remarks.
In an entertaining, fully experiential manner, FINEXIT introduces youngsters to the complex workings of the financial markets and the analysis of economic information. As for the specific concepts these young people learn to deal with in the course of the game, these include exchange rates and foreign currency transactions, financial risks and how to manage them, means of payment, investment studies, profitability, fiscal calendar, VAT payments, contracts, types of insurance policies and their coverage, and how to report an insurance loss incident.
The goal for the players is to prevent an international plot intent on transferring all the assets of a company to BitCoinBank, an online banking institution in the dark web. To do this, they need to discover the IBAN (International Bank Account No.) to which the transfer is to be made and the codes to enter the BitCoinBank application. They will have to decipher this information from a series of documents they will come across during the course of the game.
There are both face-to-face and virtual versions of this game. The former takes place in the classroom and students have a briefcase that contains all the information needed to solve the puzzle. In the latter, they access a virtual office where the documents containing the clues they must decipher to pass the test are located. In both formats, the players are divided into teams and compete against each other to achieve the goal in the shortest possible time. All under the supervision of a game master, a truly “key player in the game”, Adrián Gutiérrez reminds us. This person “is responsible for helping students along when they get stuck in a test and keeping them motivated throughout the game,” he explains.
According to this professional from Fundación MAPFRE’s Insurance & Social Protection Area, the program has been a huge success. “The most common thing participants say is that the hour flies by without them realizing it, and that they have fun while learning more about financial and insurance questions,” he adds.
FINEXIT employs gamification techniques and fully experiential methodologies to provide students with a safe, stimulating environment in which to deploy and develop their capabilities
Given the COVID-19 restrictions, the game was only released in virtual format. The students were therefore able to enhance their digital capabilities – normally widely put to use, in any case – in financial work environments. However, as soon as the health situation permits, Fundación MAPFRE’s intention is to combine the online and classroom versions so as to facilitate interaction with the students. In addition, Fundación MAPFRE is already working on plans to launch the project in countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
An international conspiracy has managed to infiltrate one of the country’s largest corporations with the sinister goal of totally decapitalizing it. To achieve this, these unscrupulous white-collar thieves aim to convert the company’s assets into Bitcoins and transfer them to an encrypted account that is impossible to trace. Should they succeed, the consequences will be terrible, not just for the hollowed-out enterprise, but for society as a whole. The stock market, the economy and, as a result, the savings, employment and well-being of millions of people will be compromised. Worst of all, the wrongdoers are really close to achieving their goal. They only need to confirm the operation.
Players have approximately one hour to thwart the plans of these criminals. To do so, they must prove capable of interpreting email messages from a suspicious female known as Tricia, the applications on her cell phone, and the various documents she keeps in her office.
Promoting financial and insurance education among young people
The FINEXIT program is an integral part of Fundación MAPFRE’s initiatives to inculcate the education of financial and insurance questions from an early age. To this end, Fundación MAPFRE offers educational institutions both the escape room and other teaching resources to enable teachers to impart financial education in the classroom. PlayPension, the game that aims to foster the culture of insurance and savings among students from the age of 16, or bugaMAP, the workshop in which, by way of a simulator and with the help of an insurance expert, college students have the chance to run an insurance company and make decisions about strategic variables in its overall management, are other Fundación MAPFRE programs in the same vein.