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# HBS Case Discussions

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Current Student
Joined: 29 Jan 2005
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HBS Case Discussions [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2007, 22:56
Does anybody else think this might be a good subforum topic to get up and running? It's always nice to have additional persectives on cases before meeting with our teams/sections/classmates.

HBS cases seem to be used by many schools out there, so why not have a common place to discuss them?

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SVP
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 2302

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

Schools: Darden

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24 Oct 2007, 06:35
We're actually told not to use any outside sources. I feel like I spend enough time on the cases.

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Current Student
Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 440

Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 0

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24 Oct 2007, 14:59
I think it might be a good forum to have. Maybe GMATClub could set up more of a knowledge management system for the cases, so we can post what we have done and also research other points of view on the cases. I think if done correctly this could be a great resource and would also be a great added resource to learn from.

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VP
Joined: 24 Sep 2006
Posts: 1359

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 0

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24 Oct 2007, 15:04
I've already had about 60 case-based classes and may be able to share some tactics that have worked for me, but:

a) What works for me does not necessarily work for everyone else.
b) I'm not allowed to discuss specific cases.

On tactics:
There're several methods out there that people have used to make case-reading faster. Some people propose: read the intro, read the end, skim through the middle and the Exhibits and then go back as required to work on the assignment. Others propose that you first read the case from beginning to end in 15-20 minutes, take a few extra minutes to think about the questions being asked and then go back and forth from case to personal notes as required to support your approach. Other proposals include: ignoring exhibits (really dangerous as there's always useful data in there), limiting the time you spend on each case to a maximum of 2 hours no matter what, focusing (i.e. spending more time on some cases and less on others based on interests or other criteria).

As you see there's a lot of opinions on the matter and no one-size-fits-all solution. I suggest you figure out what works for you by practicing. After 20-30 cases you're very likely to have figured out your best method.

L.

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 0

Current Student
Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 5207

Kudos [?]: 434 [0], given: 0

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24 Oct 2007, 20:12
Actually, I was just proposing that we have discussions about some of the better know cases: Microsoft's amortizing feasibile technology over two years, Harnischfeger's corporate recovery strategy, Enron, etc..

I just thought it might be beneficial to elicit a few extra "global perspectives" before breaking down the cases in class.

Call me paranoid or what have you, but four weeks into the program and I'm still terrified as hell to walk into a class and get cold called unprepared.

If you guys don't feel comfortable discussing cases here, does anybody know of another forum where it's done?

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VP
Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 1403

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26 Oct 2007, 23:48
GMATT73 wrote:
Actually, I was just proposing that we have discussions about some of the better know cases: Microsoft's amortizing feasibile technology over two years, Harnischfeger's corporate recovery strategy, Enron, etc..

I just thought it might be beneficial to elicit a few extra "global perspectives" before breaking down the cases in class.

Call me paranoid or what have you, but four weeks into the program and I'm still terrified as hell to walk into a class and get cold called unprepared.

If you guys don't feel comfortable discussing cases here, does anybody know of another forum where it's done?

I am visiting this forum after quite some time! Glad to see that it is quite active. We at Kellogg have been specifically told not to discuss the cases outside (and I can understand why).

Essentially:
1. The cases are supposed to be practice for you to learn how to use the frameworks and theories taughts to solve business problems. Discussing it outside dilutes the challenge and effectively u hurt urself.

2. Similarly, if u discuss with others, he/she will loose out.

But this would be a great place 2 post case frameworks and discuss them!

Kudos [?]: 30 [0], given: 0

GMAT Club Legend
Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Posts: 5926

Kudos [?]: 2192 [0], given: 7

Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009
GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45
WE: Business Development (Consumer Products)

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27 Oct 2007, 17:05
I love cases.

Kudos [?]: 2192 [0], given: 7

CEO
Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Posts: 3281

Kudos [?]: 476 [0], given: 0

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09 Nov 2007, 20:58
This is a great idea for both current students and candidates!

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Current Student
Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 5207

Kudos [?]: 434 [0], given: 0

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13 Nov 2007, 03:44
Anybody read the "100 year war, Coke vs. Pepsi?"

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Current Student
Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 260

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 0

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24 Nov 2007, 10:50
How about "Optical Distortion"? It's an HBS case about a company that wants to put contact lenses in chickens. Seriously. One of the greatest cases of all time.

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 0

SVP
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 2302

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

Schools: Darden

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24 Nov 2007, 12:17
We actually had that one as part of our final exam for marketing last quarter. It was a pretty involved case, really separated the wheat from the chaff.

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SVP
Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 1855

Kudos [?]: 208 [0], given: 2

Schools: The Duke MBA, Class of 2009

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25 Nov 2007, 18:15
We have classes where we're not supposed to go outside of the case and some where we can. I've found that in some cases, it's really helpful to hash it out with friends -- but only when allowed! And as you can imagine, we're all very uptight about honor code issues this year.

My method:

If there are questions, read those first. (Our marketing class doesn't give questions - we have to just surmise what those might be.)

If the case is long, check out the first and last parts, to see if the problem is stated.

Read the case. Highlight important numbers/facts. If you have specific questions to answer, make a separate sheet and jot down relevant info so you don't have to dig later. As you run into exhibit references, pause and just glance over the exhibit. I used to skip them, but found that the exhibits meant less to me if I looked at them after reading the entire case. I suppose because the info in the exhibit was then out of context.

This is all fairly involved, but saves me time later. I'm also a fast reader, so doing a careful reading doesn't take me much time.

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VP
Joined: 24 Sep 2006
Posts: 1359

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 0

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25 Nov 2007, 19:46
naturallight wrote:
How about "Optical Distortion"? It's an HBS case about a company that wants to put contact lenses in chickens. Seriously. One of the greatest cases of all time.

This was one the first few Marketing cases and we loved it.
That's all I'm allowed to discuss about the case outside class, though.

Additional question: how many cases/week do you have? And how many days to prepare for each do you have? Around here it's 2 - 3 / day, but I heard stories of other schools spending about 1 week on each case (of course they had other stuff going on outside the cases).

L.

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 0

SVP
Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 1855

Kudos [?]: 208 [0], given: 2

Schools: The Duke MBA, Class of 2009

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26 Nov 2007, 19:05
lepium wrote:
naturallight wrote:
How about "Optical Distortion"? It's an HBS case about a company that wants to put contact lenses in chickens. Seriously. One of the greatest cases of all time.

This was one the first few Marketing cases and we loved it.
That's all I'm allowed to discuss about the case outside class, though.

Additional question: how many cases/week do you have? And how many days to prepare for each do you have? Around here it's 2 - 3 / day, but I heard stories of other schools spending about 1 week on each case (of course they had other stuff going on outside the cases).

L.

We have two courses this term that are case-intensive: marketing and strategy. (Finance doesn't really have any, and neither does communications.) Strategy meets on Tuesdays and Fridays, and we do a case each class. Mktg is on Monday and Thursday, and we also do a case each class. So that's 4 per week.

Kudos [?]: 208 [0], given: 2

SVP
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 2302

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

Schools: Darden

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26 Nov 2007, 21:17
The party line here is 3 cases every day. I think Darden earned it's reputation as a tough place because (according to alums I've talked to) they did in fact have 3 cases every single day, including Saturday.

It's not really like that now. We have 2-3 cases per day, but we've also had some simulations (including a 2-day marketing simulation that counted for 5 classes), and a few other things where didn't have case preparation. Sounds pretty similar to what Lepium has.

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

SVP
Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 1855

Kudos [?]: 208 [0], given: 2

Schools: The Duke MBA, Class of 2009

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26 Nov 2007, 21:27
What is learning finance or econ or acctg or stats like in the case world? We had a few cases in all of those classes, but they weren't "real" cases -- more like long story problems. A little song-and-dance narrative to please the poets like me and then a bunch of data to deal with.

I can't imagine doing real cases and doing the stuff I mentioned above.

Kudos [?]: 208 [0], given: 2

SVP
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 2302

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

Schools: Darden

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27 Nov 2007, 21:46
I actually like case discussions for finance and econ; I think it's a good way to illustrate certain points and makes important issues more memorable. For example, we had an econ case about hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. It was really a good way to learn the underlying economic principles.

Our statics course is called decision analysis and the case method was a great way to illustrate a very common mistake in building decision models.

I agree that the case method is usually not a good choice for financial accounting. That's definitely a class where I wish they would just tell us what is going on.

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

VP
Joined: 24 Sep 2006
Posts: 1359

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 0

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27 Nov 2007, 23:10
pelihu wrote:
The party line here is 3 cases every day. I think Darden earned it's reputation as a tough place because (according to alums I've talked to) they did in fact have 3 cases every single day, including Saturday.

Same here, I keep hearing this stories about how it used to be 3 cases every day + a weekly paper covering the whole week every week some years back. Now it's 3 cases x 3 days/week and 2 cases x 2 days/week + the occasional mandatory project / film / speaker panel outside this time.

I think in the old days students either socialized / networked / recruited less or slept less. I don't think the latter would be viable since people are not sleeping that much these days, anyway, but I could be wrong.

L.

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Current Student
Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 5207

Kudos [?]: 434 [0], given: 0

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17 Dec 2007, 22:09
pelihu wrote:
The party line here is 3 cases every day. I think Darden earned it's reputation as a tough place because (according to alums I've talked to) they did in fact have 3 cases every single day, including Saturday.

It's not really like that now. We have 2-3 cases per day, but we've also had some simulations (including a 2-day marketing simulation that counted for 5 classes), and a few other things where didn't have case preparation. Sounds pretty similar to what Lepium has.

We had two cases a day here, one each for econ, strategy, management and accounting. Most were HBS written, with a few from Ivey and the occasional custom faculty versions. I can't imagine cramming in another one daily, plus an additional three on Saturday. That's about 75~100 pages of academic material per day (not including supplemental text reading), right?

Does Darden employ the case method for statistics too?

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SVP
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 2302

Kudos [?]: 481 [0], given: 0

Schools: Darden

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18 Dec 2007, 22:25
GMATT73 wrote:

We had two cases a day here, one each for econ, strategy, management and accounting. Most were HBS written, with a few from Ivey and the occasional custom faculty versions. I can't imagine cramming in another one daily, plus an additional three on Saturday. That's about 75~100 pages of academic material per day (not including supplemental text reading), right?

Does Darden employ the case method for statistics too?

We don't have a normal statistics course. We have something called decision analysis which involves some statistics, and it is taught with 100% case method. One good thing about the challenging curriculum is that we seem to get a lot of respect from recruiters that we are hard working and learn a lot. Granted, we meet with a lot of Darden alums but it seems to help.

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18 Dec 2007, 22:25

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# HBS Case Discussions

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