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.