MBA Case Method

The case method is widely used in most Business Schools around the world, and is recognized as being a powerful technique for learning most business disciplines. Some schools use it extensively (like Harvard and Virginia) while others combine it with traditional lectures and other teaching techniques (like simulations, field work and so on). If you want to know more about cases, here are a few resources.

The B-School Case Study Gets a Digital Makeover...

New York University management professor Glenn Okun throws a 500-page, spiral-bound book of Xeroxed course materials onto his desk. The thick tome contains nearly 20 business case studies and represents just half the reading his students will plow through this fall—fairly typical of MBA courses. “Leafing through one of these is like leafing through the equivalent of the Manhattan Yellow Pages,” he says. Next, Okun unsheathes the alternative: an iPad (AAPL) edition of the same course materials—a feature NYU introduced last year. In each digital case study, students can highlight material in fluorescent colors and take notes. A tap on the screen allows them to skip to an exhibit at the end of a document, and then follow the menu back to where they left off reading—with no virtual or actual page-leafing required. All the features work offline. “Now,” Okun asks, “which would you prefer?” Case studies are the lifeblood of a business school’s curriculum. Each describes a company or economic scenario that actually happened. Students decide what they would have done had they been making decisions. As case studies migrate to tablet form, they have the potential to undergo some of the greatest transformations in the way students interact with the material since the case method was introduced at Harvard Business School in 1924. Over the ensuing 87 years, the case study has undergone some changes but remains much as it was at its inception—a straightforward narrative of business success or failure. Tablet technology may make the case study more of an interactive experience. HBS, Ivey Converting Cases to Tablet Harvard Business School, the largest publisher of case studies in North America, is in the process of converting 3,500 of its files to tablet-enhanced formats during this school...