Knowing how to analyze business problems, reconcile different perspectives, decide on a course of action and persuade others are critical to excel as a manager.
The case method – IESE’s main teaching method – helps students to develop these skills by bringing real-life business problems into the classroom, training them to think and decide like managers.
Whether analyzing challenges faced by a construction company, amusement park, ceramic manufacturer or struggling airline, the case method asks students to don the hat of the manager: How can we boost flagging sales? How can the company expand its revenue streams in this new competitive environment? What are the optimal incentive policies in an industry with high turnover?
In contrast to lecture-based teaching methods, here the students do most of the talking. The professor facilitates and guides the discussion, asking questions and eliciting participation from the entire class to enrich the discussion with contrasting viewpoints, different industry experiences and cultural backgrounds.
How it works:
1. Students prepare the case on their own by analyzing these key questions: What is the major problem? What are the alternative courses of action? What would you do if you were the manager in question?
2. Before going to class, students meet with their team to discuss and compare their analysis and contrast viewpoints.
3. The discussion is taken to the larger classroom context with the professor facilitating a comprehensive discussion of the case.
4. Working together, the class develops an analysis, evaluates different courses of action and determines key learning points.
The case might address a recent dilemma or a challenge faced two decades ago. However, the questions highlighted in each case are relevant and universal. After participating in hundreds of case discussions, students leave IESE better prepared to take on the challenges they will face as managers, decision-makers and global leaders.