The Case of Cases

One of the most used - and most truthful answers heard during MBA class discussions is ... "it depends." We have been rather actively exposed to HBR cases that case discussion happens everyday - weekends and holidays are for wimps- and we are asked to answer questions on a session to session basis.

I have some complaints against case based study. For once, it is about some arbit company - Ok, not that arbit - in some foreign country which has no bearing to the Indian scenario. When more and more companies are seeing India as their F1 race track - again, info from one case on International HRM : see Sir, I do read the caselets!! :) - it is stupid on Indian B Schools part not to develop a good case base on Indian scenarios.

Another aspect of the case is that there is an information dichotomy here [ not really sure what it means, I am using here to sound MBAish ]. You are viewing the case through the eyes of just 1-4 individuals. In the case of HR/strategy issues, this aspect is very significant as a lot of soft [ more jargon! ] issues also play a role in the final outcome of a series of events. I mean, how many people will confide to a case writer - or his secondary source - that " I agreed to sign the M&A as I wanted to pee and the only way to end the meeting was to agree to sign it." ( and looking at the disastrous M&A [ mergers and acquisitions - hey!!! Let me get my money worth of jargon in here!! ] this might very well be one of the possibilities.

But, the good thing about case based study is the perfect hind sight. You come up with ideas ranging from ok [ minimal jargon ] to fundooo [ 100 % jargon ] to D-U-H??? [ are there words like that in English?? ] only to be told by the prof that the company actually did something very silly [ which means an incremental change or some off the cuff, impulsive thing.. Or just waiting it out.. ] and survived. Or that they actually tried one of the very solid looking solutions and went bankrupt.

I think case based study is the MBA equivalent of legend swapping when soldiers gather around a campfire. It brings into mind what has been done, what is possible, and also the fact that the crazy loon in the class who get a C/C+ in almost all the subjects might very well be your boss tomorrow as all innovations has been brought about by crazy loons - or ab/sub/para/non normal people.

I have to sign off - have to read 2 cases now!!!

NB: Check out my ticket to a frax life: Ant-E-Man & Nick O'Barr


Blogger Jithu :

a case is written by a third person who was not actually present during that particular situation, taught by a prof. who cant attribute to the situation and learned by a student who cant make head and tail out of that situation, ruthless i may sound...

2:06 PM  
Blogger raven :

Throughout 1st year I had a crib against cases... they were discussed in a unidimensional manner. A mar case has to be analysed only in a mar way - no OB Fin or Ops stuff to be brought up in it. And fin cases would be only numbers, no mar / strat / OB fundas. Infact the only subject I liked was OB2 since the proff encouraged mixing learnings from different subjects while analysing the case.

Now, this year, I've a different crib. All case discussions are way too generic - globe level stuff from all streams is thrown around but nothing specific. No xl sheets of financial or mar data. no mar or ops models, no obs discussions. no one sticks to one stream for long enough to dig into it. just touch, smell and move on!! :(

6:42 AM  

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