The case study method is a style of learning used in many MBA courses which focuses on the student as a decision-maker. Instead of faculty-led lectures, the case study method encourages interaction and class discussion in order to develop solutions to a set case study, which are written by faculty experts at top business schools, often working with businesses to ensure that they reflect the problems that occur in business.
The Perks of Using Business Case Studies. Real-life business leadership skills. The value of the case study method is that it simulates a real environment and helps to prepare the student for real-life business situations in their future careers; the ability to make quick decisions that are sound and good for the company is what employers are looking for.
This confidence is vital within the business as colleagues and business partners do not always have the same beliefs and it will be necessary to defend your thinking – this is developed through the debating process in which students defend their solutions to each case and try and persuade each other to back their ideas.
Better than lectures. One of the most underrated things about the case study method is that it’s fun. To be able to track your development of thought during a case and reach a final solution is ultimately an exhilarating feeling. The majority of business case studies presented have a narrative arc that students can relate to and appreciate as a real thing – to solve a real human problem brings a feeling of achievement and therefore the method motivates students to involve themselves on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level in each case.
An all-encompassing business outlook. Out of the 20 case studies given over the 15 months MBA at Mantissa College, 33% of them are international, meaning candidates gain a global perspective which opens a greater number of career paths after graduation. Each case is designed to build on the knowledge of previous cases leading to students who are capable of applying their learning in any situation.
The Problems of Using Business Case Studies. Students run the entire operation. Preparation is crucial for business case studies to work; if an individual has not prepared fully then the benefits of the method are lost. This requirement for prior research forces each student to take responsibility for their own learning, but simultaneously it begs the question; what exactly are they paying for? According to Harvard Business School faculty, students on their MBA course do approximately 85% of the talking. This is great news for those who can talk the talk and who love to compete for airtime, but for those who are slightly less gregarious – yes, business schools enrol types like this too – the method is flawed. Not all those in business leadership are brilliant public speakers – it helps, but it is not as essential as, say, empathy or rationality. And this may lead to a skewed hierarchy of classmates who believe that the most loquacious will go the furthest.
Too many cases, not enough time. To do 20 case studies given over the 15 months MBA at Mantissa College, which is about 80 weeks’ worth of classes, equates to approximately eight case studies a week. This evidently does not give much time for in-depth analysis and so relies on the seminar leader to make sure the important aspects of each case are reached promptly. And although this is efficient, it prohibits students from working out these aspects for themselves as they will have to become accustomed to in the real business world.
Cases are also a rather inefficient way of teaching basic business skills which are quantifiable and have a certifiable answer. To teach technical subjects in a case would be a waste of valuable time.
Mantissa College’s MBA program boasts a dynamic global network of more than 80,000 alumni. One recent alumnus, Harrison Jub, says, “I took the 15-month Master of Business Administration course and in the first week, I was discussing the Real Case Study with groups of working professionals from different fields. And so I was learning from real people with real problems. Thanks to the case study based learning approach I am now capable of taking up more projects because I had been exposed to a wider perspective on handling matters from my learning experience.”
Certainly, evidence attests to the tremendous value of case studies in business education. Between its focus on this learning style and many other desirable attributes, Mantissa College’s Master of Business Administration offers an invaluable inside edge for aspiring business leaders.