During my orientation in LBS, we were taught speed reading, little did I know that the entire courses I will be taking will be case-based, which requires one to develop fast reading skills. Reflecting on the case method of learning, what quickly comes to mind is an analysis of business problems, a first-semester course, where complex situations are critically analysed to provide actionable solutions. After going through the course outline for each course, it was clear to me that this is the method adopted for teaching in the entirety of the program.
What is the case method approach to teaching
It is an instructional method where students learn by analyzing a (business) case and proposing solutions. The case details a business situation and is written with specific learning goals, such as illustrating certain business concepts or techniques. The case method can be implemented in various ways: individual or group exercise; static (based only on information in the case) or dynamic (students gather and use additional information.
Different types of cases
The Formal case
It describes a simulated or real-life situation faced by management and deals with a specific problem experienced by one company or an entire industry, it often involves complex data and can cover 15 or 20 pages. A single best solution may or may not exist, there is a need to apply theories one has learned to arrive at what is considered the best answer. It is worth knowing that no answer fits it all.
The case theory
This is mostly written as a chronological history of a decision made by management for which the outcome and analysis of the decision are presented
The Critical Incident
This type of case gives little background information usually 2 to 3 pages, it presents a situation where the impact is greater on interpersonal relationships than on the organization, the opening paragraph often throws the reader into the middle of a dilemma leaving many plausible solutions that can be developed.
There are three levels of examining the case as mentioned below,
Case Method Class Flow
Preparatory individual study
Each student analyses a case from the perspective of the business people in the case and prepares specific proposals to deal with the issue described.
In order to facilitate a better awareness of the key issues, students gather in small groups to discuss their individual analyses and prepare for the class.
With the leadership of the faculty, all students participate in a class-wide discussion to exchange views on the case and their proposals.
In conclusion ,It is important to note that the case method requires the ability to listen to colleagues’ ideas to develop personal critical analytical skills as well as overcome the fear of writing and speaking.
Developing the skill of carefully reading a case is essential, the goal is to read as much as possible before attempting to prefer a solution to the problem to be analysed. Familiarisation with the layout, exhibits, key businesses, and individuals. lookout for major ideas, and issues that will assist to analyse the case.
While reading the case, one should endeavour to scan highlights and notes to refresh the information in the mind and identify the names and facts pertinent to the case.