Case Study Teaching Approach by B Schools and its Advantages

The management education has been constantly evolving and in the past years the avenues have opened for the best B schools in India to get creative. This involves employing some very creative and experiential methods of learning which make the students tread the learning curve in an accelerated pace. It is quite different from traditional classroom learning which relies heavily on lectures and which does not involve the students by providing only one-way communication. To effectively maximize the learning that is taking place in a classroom, the modern faculty members resemble very less like the traditional professors with a lot of knowledge but rigid teaching methods. The modern faculties in contrast work through facilitation of a thought process for the students to apply their intellect and create a shared understanding amongst students.

To achieve this, the modern-day faculties of leading business schools in India use methods such as guided discussions, project works, problem analysis and case studies. This prepares them for real world challenges that are waiting for them once they cross over and take assignments in the corporate. The students develop the methods of applying the theories and principles that they have learnt in the classroom and understand the impact that they make in various situations. To achieve this in a classroom, using case studies has become a very popular and useful method of instruction for both, faculties and students alike.

What is a Case study?

A case study is just like a scenario or example that forms part of a narrative and invites the readers to analyze the situation or take decisions. The available information is limited to the one provided in the case study and requires the students to carry out the analysis based on this information. Some of the fundamental properties of case studies are as follows:

  • Cases involve decision making scenarios or problems which are required to be solved. They may also involve a review of policies or procedures.
  • Most case studies are based on real life scenarios to create a sense of relevance to the education of the students. These become effective tools by providing a platform to develop application of their learning.
  • Case studies method was originated in the business and since the cases are based on real-life, they make the abstract concepts learnt in classroom come alive.
  • The case study requires discussions among the students in large or small groups; therefore, collaborative learning takes place.
  • The social nature of case studies enables the student group to explore the different and sometimes opposing views of a case, and work towards a solution working with the information provided in the case.
  • Cases are an effective tool for the students to develop an objective and analytical bend of mind and therefore they make an excellent tool for helping the students grow intellectually and clarifying the fundamentals of a subject.
  • Many times, the cases present diverse views with no single right answers. This provides an excellent stage for considering morally or ethically ambiguous angles of a subject and help the student appreciate the different parties of the case.

Why use case studies?

Apart from the obvious, there are some added benefits of using the case method and that is why it is used in the leading business schools in India. Here are few benefits of using the case method:

  • Higher learning engagement than traditional form of learning. It generates a lot of interest among the students and gets them more involved in the learning.
  • It is active and leads to introspection within the students. The result of the case study provides a student with instant validation to their learning.
  • The doubts and unresolved queries that the student have, can come to surface and the students may be motivated to find their own answers by taking part in the case study and follow up discussion.
  • Mirrors the real world, by running simulations and scenarios from the real corporate world. The case studies help the students build their prospective and develop the rational way of operating in the real world.
  • Includes group work and therefore builds skills such as conflict management, assertiveness, communication, collaboration and decision-making ability and skills.

Integrating in curriculum

To include the case studies in the curriculum the faculties are usually inclined to use case studies as a method of reinforcement or evaluation post a module, as a quick reiteration of the lesson that has been learnt. The faculties also need to develop their own case studies which deal with the matter at hand or lesson. A great alternative to this is to find a relevant existing case study that helps the faculty drive home the point.

An excellent resource for this purpose is the ICFAI Business School Case Development Centre which is Asia Pacific’s largest repository of case studies and teaching notes with the count reaching up to 5500. These include the most selling cases, specifically designed to be applied in the MBA/PGDM/PGPM program and has real world scenarios. They also have structured assignments at IBSCDC, which is a very innovative product.

Case studies can help the students grasp the subject matter with ease in a short and concise manner without losing the essence of the session. They build interactivity and energy in the classrooms of the top management colleges in India. That is the biggest reason of employing case based learning while preparing the students of today to become excellent management professionals of tomorrow.

Top National Management Exams in India

Management education in India has come up as a highly sought-after path to create a valuable and bright career for the youth. Every year, there are millions of management graduates who pass out of the MBA, PGDM or PGPM courses, and join the hunt for a high paying job in India or abroad. The starting salaries of the business graduates passing out of top b schools in India have been very high compared to many other professional courses in India. This is the reason that the entrance examinations for these courses are extremely competitive and difficult to master. A little bit of awareness can help the aspirants for these exams and tests in a big way by helping them explore all the options that can set them on the right path.

While most students who have the expectation of cracking a management entrance examination, only concentrate on CAT, they also need to be aware of other tests such as XAT, IBSAT, GMAT and others which can open-up new avenues for them. This article lists out the common tests that can help you get admission into the leading business schools in India of the student’s choice.

CAT (Common Admission Test)

  • For the most students who are preparing for the management entrance the CAT is the first one that comes to their mind and it is the most popular management entrance test in India.
  • There is no shortage of CAT accepting colleges in India and that accounts for the popularity of CAT.
  • It is attempted by many students and gives the students to get admitted to the prestigious IIMs as well as about 100 business schools.
  • In the current format the CAT is a computer based test with multiple choice questions divided across various sections and conducted in technological partnership with TCS.
  • The CAT aspirants are required to secure at least 50% CGPA scores during their graduation and students from any AICTE or recognized university can appear for the test.
  • Students in the final year of their graduation can also apply and take the test.
  • The CAT has three sections, called Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Verbal and Reading Comprehension and 100 MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions).
  • In the recent years non-MCQ had also become part of the test and while the MCQs warrant negative marking the negative marking is not applicable for the non-MCQ questions
  • The difficulty level of this test is considered high and the students need to decide whether this would be a viable option for them to take

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)

  • XAT is the entrance test for the XLRI.
  • Like CAT, for XAT, the aspirants are required to secure at least 50% CGPA scores during their graduation from any disciple and students from any AICTE or recognized university can appear for the test.
  • While XAT earlier used to consist of both subjective as well as objective questions, there are changes in this format and it is expected to only have objective questions in coming years
  • The XAT has four sections Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge
  • For every right question the aspirant gains one mark and for every wrong answer the student loses .25 marks through negative marking
  • 3 hours long the XAT is considered the toughest of management entrance exams in India

IBSAT

  • IBSAT is a computer based management aptitude test by The ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education
  • Requires minimum 15 years of education (10+2+3) or (10+2+4) to qualify
  • IBSAT requires 2 hours with sections such as quantitative techniques, data interpretation, data adequacy, vocabulary, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension.
  • The test has 140 MCQ based objective questions with 1 mark awarded to each correct answer.
  • The best part about this is that there is no negative marking that the student should worry about

SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)

  • SNAP is a national level entrance examination primarily for entrance in the 15 institutes governed by Symbiosis International University.
  • SNAP is two hours long in test duration with 130 questions (as opposed to 150 in earlier years) and based on computer instead of paper based test.
  • There are 110 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and 20 special non-multiple-choice questions.
  • In regards with scores, each MCQ grants the candidate 1 mark for every correct answer and deducts 0.25 marks for incorrect mark. The scores of both positive and negative marks are doubled for non-MCQ i.e. 2 marks for correct answers and deduction of 0.50 marks for incorrect answers.
  • Apart from Symbiosis, many other premier business education institutions such as ICFAI Business School use SNAP scores as a qualifier for admission in their management education programs

GMAT

  • 5-hour long GMAT is widely accepted in many top business schools, including ICFAI Business School
  • The test has 80 questions to be completed under five sections; Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal Section
  • GMAT is unlike traditional entrance exams since it is a computer adaptive test, which means that with each correct answer the candidate would be posed a more difficult but higher value question
  • An incorrect answer would push the candidate to an easier question with lesser marks, however it does not have any negative marking
  • Aspirants can choose the order of sections for questions to appear for better control and flexibility

Passing the entrance exam of a prestigious business school can be a solid step towards building a robust career. It must also be noted that may top business schools in India also accept the score of more than one management entrance test such as ICFAI business school accepts GMAT/NMAT by GMAC/CAT scores (from 2016 onwards). These candidates are exempted from IBSAT as a qualifying examination. To have a great management career one must first decide the right business school. To get to the right business school one must choose the right test. Matching your caliber to the right test and the right `institute that fulfills your needs can save you time and energy.

Is only mock test enough to prepare for CAT or other management exams?

As the popular saying goes “The Rome was not built in a day’ and the same is true for an entrance exam for any MBA/PGDM/PGPM course. Cracking one of these exams takes months of careful planning and preparation and could be your entry ticket to a bright prospective career going forward. Today the management courses that are offered in the country are among the best in the world, and top b-schools in India such as ICFAI Business School also attract talent from all over the world.

With all the lucrative opportunities that await the students once they enter the magical land of management schools, comes also the unique challenges. One of the biggest among these challenges is getting admission in a b-school, since they are very stringent with their admission procedures to ensure the quality of their education.

Admission in a Business School

The b-schools regulate this process through admission tests such as CAT, XAT, GMAT, IBSAT and many more. The difficulty does not lie with the amount of the syllabus that is covered by the tests, but with developing the applicability of the knowledge that has been learnt.

A little guidance in the direction of how to prepare well for these tests can go a long way in making a difference in the student’s preparations and confidence level.

Mock tests measure your preparation level

Almost anyone who has ever been through one of the mock tests can vouch for the value they provide in your overall preparation. The mock test is a simulated test with real questions asked in the management entrance exam of your choice, complete with answers and scoring.

Attempting the mock test is undoubtedly a smart decision since it can tell a lot about your preparation and where you stand compared to the other students. This is especially useful since just passing the entrance exam is never the goal of most aspirants. To get admitted to the management course of your choice, you must score better than other aspirants of the test and score in the highest percentile.

The other benefit of the mock test is to find out which area of the test are you scoring well at and where do you need to put in the effort to score higher.

Visiting the fundamentals

While the mock tests are incredibly important, it is not the sure shot way to prepare for these real entrance examinations. The tests have a limited number of questions asked from a vast syllabus and by only attempting mock tests you may run the risk of leaving out a part of the syllabus which may come up as a question during the D-day.

The other reason not to depend solely on the mock test, but focusing on the fundamentals is because they work on your subject knowledge and get your scores higher in mock test and the real thing. Although the curriculum covered by the tests is usually of school level only, as you start preparing you may realize that your education may have left gaps in your understanding and some fundamentals on a few subjects are not clear. Revisiting the fundamentals and working to get better at them will also make you feel more confident.

Practice sample questions

Although the mock tests do a good job of looking at not only how well are you attempting a few sections and questions they also elaborate on how much time are you spending on each section. Balancing the time that you spend on various sections of the test is one of the key factors in your success. To get better at individual sections of the tests, it is recommended that the aspirants attempt the sample questions. This helps the students in understanding the trend of questions and gives them more time so that they can find more effective ways of tackling difficult problems.

Understand exam structure

The most basic yet often overlooked step to this process is understanding the pattern for the CAT and other management exams that the student wishes to attempt. This helps the students understand the nitty gritty of exam and sets the expectation about the questions that they are likely to encounter. Most of the entrance examinations have similar exam patterns with common sections such as Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning, Numeric Ability, Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation.

Although these sections may be present in two entrance exams, they both may differ in the number of questions and the distribution of marks that each section has. Another big variable is the scoring pattern with or without the scope of negative marking. These factors may make the student differ their strategy for each entrance exam.

Prepare from reference books and study material

There is an excellent selection of reference books that has been available to all management exam aspirants along with a plethora of study material. A reputed coaching center that specializes in management entrance exams can be an excellent source of study material and reference books.

Those who wish to attempt the entrance exams through self-study and do not wish to enter a coaching institute also have a lot of options available in the market. The students can get their hands on sample papers and well-established books to guide them.

Form a study group

A lot of students who have successfully cracked an entrance exam for leading business schools in India such as ICFAI Business School have highlighted the important part that a study group or circle has played in their preparation. The study group keeps each other motivated and a lot of preparation takes place through peer discussions. This furthermore helps in preparation of later stages such as group discussions and interviews.

The students can follow these steps to effectively tackle the many challenges that they face while preparing for CAT or other management exams. It will not only boost their confidence but also keep them on schedule for the examination.