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# Preparing for Case Study Method in Class

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Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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08 Aug 2011, 19:46
Anyone have suggestions on the best way to prep? I am coming from a nonbusiness background and I am a career changer so I am new to this all.
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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2011, 01:47
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1. read the case quickly the first time through - no note taking - to get a sense of the problem, the industry and what information the case holds. Check out the exhibits and read any supporting notes/articles provided.
2. with a broader perspective on the case situation read the case again, in detail. Make notes and make links a among the details in the case.
3. become the decision maker and develop a stand on the issue and ask yourself some questions, such as: who are the protagonists, who must take action, what is at stake. Ask questions about the business: what is the business model, what are the products/services, what is the structure of the industry, what competitors are there
4. define the problem/issue and analyse the data given
5. take a stand/point of view and have the analysis to back it up
6. support your conclusions but be open to new insights

hope this helps
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Hayley Goldsmith
ecch - the case for learning
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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2011, 17:19
Not to sound cynical, but be prepared to be VERY frustrated.

RF
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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2011, 07:23
refurb wrote:
Not to sound cynical, but be prepared to be VERY frustrated.

RF

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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2011, 15:55
hayleyecch wrote:
refurb wrote:
Not to sound cynical, but be prepared to be VERY frustrated.

RF

I actually take this back. Be prepared to very frustrated with discussions of strategy cases. I think accounting or operations cases are fine, they actually help you understand the application of the theories you are learning.

The strategy cases I found to be very unrealistic. It's an effort to distill a complex business problem down to one or two "lessons". You really have to suspend disbelief in order to get through them.

I can remember sitting in class and having a fellow student bring up a really interesting point about a cases, but then the prof quickly dismissing it because it didn't fit with the "solution" to the case. I think they are useful for demonstrating how a framework can be applied, but beyond that I found them to be a very inefficient use of class time.

RF
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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2011, 20:16
refurb wrote:

I actually take this back. Be prepared to very frustrated with discussions of strategy cases. I think accounting or operations cases are fine, they actually help you understand the application of the theories you are learning.

The strategy cases I found to be very unrealistic. It's an effort to distill a complex business problem down to one or two "lessons". You really have to suspend disbelief in order to get through them.

I can remember sitting in class and having a fellow student bring up a really interesting point about a cases, but then the prof quickly dismissing it because it didn't fit with the "solution" to the case. I think they are useful for demonstrating how a framework can be applied, but beyond that I found them to be a very inefficient use of class time.

RF

Sorry to hear about your experience RF. In the few weeks that I've been doing case method, our professors absolutely have no preconceived "answer" that they are steering us to and we've all had ample opportunity to push back on all the discussions. While the preparation is pretty intense, it's worth it as the discussions have been really robust and we've been learning a great deal. Watching a skilled professor lead a case discussion is a beautiful thing.
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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2011, 23:41
eskimoroll wrote:
refurb wrote:

I actually take this back. Be prepared to very frustrated with discussions of strategy cases. I think accounting or operations cases are fine, they actually help you understand the application of the theories you are learning.

The strategy cases I found to be very unrealistic. It's an effort to distill a complex business problem down to one or two "lessons". You really have to suspend disbelief in order to get through them.

I can remember sitting in class and having a fellow student bring up a really interesting point about a cases, but then the prof quickly dismissing it because it didn't fit with the "solution" to the case. I think they are useful for demonstrating how a framework can be applied, but beyond that I found them to be a very inefficient use of class time.

RF

Sorry to hear about your experience RF. In the few weeks that I've been doing case method, our professors absolutely have no preconceived "answer" that they are steering us to and we've all had ample opportunity to push back on all the discussions. While the preparation is pretty intense, it's worth it as the discussions have been really robust and we've been learning a great deal. Watching a skilled professor lead a case discussion is a beautiful thing.

Well you just described the other problem with cases. Since there is no right answer, you end up leaving class wondering exactly what the point was.

We would have case discussions about a specific business problem and the professor would elicit comments from the class. The conversation often got so sideways that, although the comments made were interesting, it had ZERO resemblance to reality.

For example (not a real example, but it's not far off):

Prof: "This company is lacking cash flow, what can they do to solve that?"
Student: "Well they could tear the building down then drill for oil and then use the revenue to purchase widgets from China."
Me:

In the real world, you don't sit around and pontificate about every single possibility because you have MOST of the information it takes to make a decision.

There is an outstanding strategy class at Tuck called "Entrepreneurship and Innovation Strategy". The reason the course was so great was because spent the ENTIRE semester learning about ONE framework and applying it to cases where all the info you needed was available. The first time I made a comment in class and prof said "You really think that's true?" my heart skipped a beat. He had spent YEARS researching this particular topic, so there were no "maybe this will work". It was a great learning opportunity.

Sorry for the rant, but I find a lot of cases to be marginal at best, at least in terms of teaching strategy. There is no way you can examine a business problem in 1.5 hour and actually learn something other than the obvious.

RF
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Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2011, 17:40
I'm with Eskimoroll here (in more ways than one).

When we started out the year, the cases frequently headed sideways as everyone in class is chomping at the bit to get their piece in. But as the classroom evolved over time and we began to truly understand the case method, things changed drastically. People try to make comments that add value to the discussion, and if someone derails the conversation, others will politely disagree. if that hasn't happened on its own, the professor will give the class a lost look, and then ask, "does anyone have a different take on this?".

A well run class is a thing of beauty. That said, a case run by an inexperienced professor can be a train wreck.

BTW, one professor actually asks at the end of class, "Class... what are your takeaways", and goes around the room soliciting responses.
Re: Preparing for Case Study Method in Class   [#permalink] 15 Dec 2011, 17:40
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