Problem solving

Reflection on Learnings at Lagos Business School (LBS) II – Clear and Rational Thought

Oluwakemi Ayoade Written by Kemmy · 1 min read >

The classroom experience exceeds my expectations. It was an experimental learning process, that is, we learned by engaging our knowledge and minds as if it were reality. It seems like a management meeting where critical business issues are identified and discussed to proffer solutions. Analysis of Business Problem is a course that helps to improve critical thinking, and analytical skills, and guides on ways to reduce cognitive biases when making business decisions. Decision-making is driven by the quality of information available. Our thinking was challenged by having to read several cases within short periods and expected to solve problems systematically.

The systematic way to go about solving a business problem is to define what the decision problems are, come up with objectives, decide what alternatives are available, develop criteria that will be used in analysing each of the available alternatives, then take a decision based on the best outcome.

The most important part of solving a business problem is to understand and define what the problem and business objectives are. If the decision problem is not well defined, the objectives set, and decisions taken will be inaccurate.

Another area of challenge for most students is developing relevant criteria. Here, the common mistake made was to have a long list of criteria that relatively have a similar meaning and students’ inability to measure properly set criteria against alternatives. For instance, in the case of ‘’Micoderm – Prevention, and treatment of diaper dermatitis’’, though the decision problem was stated correctly by most students, the objective was interpreted wrongly by many. Within the contest, it was wrongly interpreted to be an objective of profitability in place of stemming losses. Hence, the set criteria were modified to fit the new objective. This scenario explains how the wrong interpretation of business objectives may cause wrong business decisions. What, why, when, how, where, and who questions help to understand the nature of business problems within the context. Also, critical thinking is required.

The intriguing thing is that there is no one best answer as students come up with different views to solving one business case problem. The faculty do not share the documented solution with the class, rather, she guides students’ thought through the right process, helping to analyse the inadequacy of our suggested solution, and giving hints on thoughts that can assist in better interpretations.

The most beneficial aspect of this course is the application of knowledge gained from another course, which ranges from data analysis and application of probability theories in complex situations, financial analysis of a company’s performance and projections, and good communication skills to relate the outcome of analysis done.

Part of the school’s learning process is to divide the class into various groups that include students of different disciplines and careers. This grouping allows students to hear different views of others which is essential for the holistic analysis of each case. The group discussion helps to make classroom sessions more interactive and encourages networking.

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