Can we add real value to our teaching through a strategic employment of the role-played study exercise? This article examines the question with concentration on the integration of role-play studies into the undergraduate business curriculum. The article aims to provide a better understanding of what role-playing means (of equal value to the non-subject specialist) and to evaluate the pay-offs and pit-falls of this 'active' approach to teaching and learning. A key outcome is the establishment of advice and guidance on how to run successful exercises. The author contends that those with limited or zero management experience can benefit significantly from a unique perspective on management challenges and from simulating aspects of human interaction and decision-making in organisational settings. Employed within a business curriculum, role-plays are promoted as a bona fide teaching option and as a way to prepare participants for the real world. Bringing issues and concepts off the pages of student textbooks, role-plays can, under certain conditions, let students learn, practice, succeed and fail, all in a supportive environment.