Case Studies: A Pre-Cursor to MBA

Case analysis is to MBA what equations are to an engineer or a stethoscope to a doctor. It is the founding skill to build any analytical skill, develop thought leadership, and be a better manager and leader. The case study methodology serves as a link between theory and practice, thus, preparing students to handle complex situations in the workplace.

A case is a compilation of known facts & information and even perceptions that can matter. It is somewhere in between complete truth and fiction. It is the analysis of the situation and not just the problem which makes it a unique pedagogy.

It enables a simulation wherein the classroom becomes a Boardroom! The case method taps into all the people it brings together, and the knowledge pool is almost three-dimensional in the classroom because every person present there is the sum of their thoughts, talents, experiences, viewpoints, culture, and industry.

I confronted my first management case study during the induction process in the first year when our esteemed faculty, Vaibhav Bhamoriya Sir, took an introductory session on case- based learning. He introduced us to this vicarious method of learning and stressed upon the classic answer to the case-based question as ‘depends’, which we internalized after going through numerous case studies in every course.

Case studies discuss real-life situations that business executives have faced in the past. It helps to deal selectively and intensively with the problems in each field and hones the ability to think and reason rigorously. It is not just about proposing a solution but evaluating it, generating and assessing the alternatives, and integrating them all to re-assess.

This fun intellectual activity is also accompanied by the most dreaded 2Cs- Cold Calls! Being cold-called may give you shivers, but you will warm up to them once you develop the skill of thinking on your feet.

Just like data scientists invest 80% of their time in data cleaning itself than in generating insights, situation analysis, and identifying a clear and crisp problem statement are the most crucial task.

Even though it’s unlikely that the case method will enable us to amend the past, it will provide an exciting opportunity to step into the roles of famous historical decision-makers, to use creativity unrestrictedly in a setting where failure won’t spell the end of one’s career. You can handle complex situations in a well-defined, dynamic work environment by using the real-life data that is provided to you and your own unique combination of experience, knowledge, and brainstorming in teams. It also gives a pre-cursor to crack the prestigious corporate and B-school case study competitions and entrepreneurial ventures.

In the fast-paced, tech-driven business world, what is a success today may be a failure tomorrow and vice versa. Hence, no solution is timeless, and there isn’t a unique solution to a case, as it can be answered from different perspectives and domains.

However, in the end, you must choose a course of action. There is no correct response, but you must acknowledge the complexity of your decision. What if the individuals in that room represented a variety of professions, roles, experiences, and backgrounds? All assessing a similar situation and reaching a decision each day?

That is what the case-study-based pedagogy at IIM Kashipur trains you to do.

Saloni Singhal

Saloni is a final-year MBA candidate at IIM Kashipur. She holds majors in Statistics and likes to play with data and words! You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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