There are different ways in which one can conduct Case Study Discussions/Exercises while teaching Business Management to UG/PG (Under Graduate/Post Graduate) learners. The Case Discussion brings out the Practical Aspects in dealing with a Business Problem. To Conduct Case Discuss/Workshop, one should have the already Published / written Case Study with him; if teaching notes is also available along with it, it would be an Added Advantage. This specific Experiential Insight describes how to conduct Case Discussion/Exercise/Workshop in both Physical and Online Classroom Settings (based on my own experience of conducting case study sessions).
In Physical Classroom setting There are Several Ways in which one Can conduct Case Workshop. They include:
i) Case Discussion: Before Schedule Session of Case Discussion, the professor has to make the case study available to the learners much ahead of time. Case Studies are of two types: Regular Case Study (around 10 to 20 Pages)Short Case Study (less than 4 Pages)
In case of Regular Case Study, the faculty should provide the learners 1 or 2 days before the scheduled session time. The learners have to come to the class after reading the provided Case Study. Usually both Regular Case Study, and Short Case Study, at the end of the case comprises Discussion Questions. The faculty in Physical Classroom setting has to explain the 1st Question in Case; Provide Organizational, Problem Context. He can express the Initial Remarks; and encourage student response. It goes like a Conversation; Once One student provides one point; next student can give his solution. …… and discussion continues. The faculty provides the additional details; sets the direction for the discussion by intervening at right times. Thus, all the Questions in given Case Study will be discussed. The faculty explains the best solutions came out of Discussion; and link those solutions to the Concepts in the Curriculum.
In case of Short Case Study, the Case Study can be distributed in the classroom in the same session; and 10 minutes time can be provided to learners to prepare/go through the case study. After that Case Discussion can be continued.
Example: The Case Discussion on Ola Electric Vehicle Strategy to become the No.1 Player (with respect to Market Share) in EV two-wheeler market in India. What should be the Ola Strategy despite the technological challenges.
ii) Case Exercise: This comprises a small Caselet and learners have to work on the given Questions/Exercises and Provide solutions on A4 size papers. Here, the entire class can be divided into groups of 4 learners. Each group will work on the problem and provide written solution to the problem given in caselet. Here, Usually the caselet will be brief (less than 1 page); however the questions are more of Practice oriented Questions (as in case of management consulting; example follows). Here, initially after distributing the caselet in the classroom to different groups, the faculty has to explain the Organizational Problem and the business context. The questions are provided in the Caselet. Each one-by-one Question has to be answered by the learners. The faculty here should be the facilitator. He should walk though different teams and set the direction, in case of any confusion in learners. He should monitor the learners so that they arrive at a workable/probably different solutions. Finally the faculty can ask one member from each group; to present their solution from their table itself briefly. The professor can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the solution being developed by each team. Finally, he can summarize and tell his point of view and take aways to the learners.
Example: For example, Mahindra and Mahindra would like to enter into 2-wheeler EV segment, for this carry out business plan development.
Here, One Important Thing is if the learners are 1st year or 2nd year UG students, then it is best practice (in order to encourage more participation from learners), the faculty should provide the solution template with necessary title blocks on the sheets. Thus, it would be easy for learners to fill the gaps in the given template and come up with a solution. This encourages more participation from the learners. The faculty much ahead of time has to photocopy several copies of the template he developed and distribute the template to different teams in the classroom.
iii) Case Workshop: This is basically, more practical and real-life scenarios will come out from the Case Workshops.
Example: Share your entrepreneurial experiences (even as a student entrepreneurship/family entrepreneurship); specify success factors; and challenges of the enterprise.
Ask each student in the class having at least one trade/enterprise/family business/startup/student shop experience, ask them to write the type of business, top-2 success factors, top-2 challenges encountered by them in their startup/family business. Whoever involved (at least 25% of the response rate can be expected in this type of exercise) in enterprise, they write it on board. The faculty would summarize all the Success Factors and Challenges of Enterprises. And Link to the concepts in Curriculum.
In addition to the above specified methods of conducting case study session, following exclusive method of case study session is possible in case of online classroom. That is,
iv) Distributed Case Discussion: That is, this type of case study session assumes, there are around 3 sections of learners (Sec-A, Sec-B, Sec-C) in the same online classroom. In this type of Case Discussion, the Faculty should prepare the Case Study; and prepare discussion question comprising 3 different parts. Each part will be carried out by each section of learners. (i.e. Part-1 by Sec-A; Part-2 by Sec-B; Part-3 by Sec-C will be worked out).
Example: Case Questions:
1) Identify the Problem in the Given Caselet (will be carried out of Sec-A students)
2) Provide the Solution to the Problem Identified by Sec-A learners (this will be carried out by Sec-B students)
3) Identify the Best Practices in the Solution being Developed by Sec-B students (this will be carried out by Sec-C students)
Thus, the same Case Study can be run through 3 different Sections of the Class in a sequential fashion in the same session. At the end of the session, the faculty summarizes and shares the learnings.
Thus, Case Discussion/Exercise/Workshop can be carried out in several ways. In each of the methods, the faculty at right time should intervene and set the direction to the discussion. And also, he should link the solutions being developed in the classroom with the concepts in the Curriculum. This is a creative process of solution development for any business problem/case study.
Dr.Goparaju Purna Sudhakar, PhD (Business Administration)