Harvards Case Method MBA System

Is Harvard Business School, one of the top MBA programs anywhere, on your wish list for MBA program admission? If so, you need to consider their teaching method and decide if it fits your learning style and preferences. If you prefer lectures, are the really independent type, don’t like group projects and prefer to approach case studies as practical applications of already learned theories, you might not like Harvard’s Case Method MBA program.

According to the Harvard Business School web site  , here’s how the Case Method works:

♦ The instructor presents the students with a real-life business scenario, along with necessary information, requiring analysis, choices and decisions. The student assumes the role of the decision maker.

♦ The student examines the case, takes into account causes and considers alternative approaches in coming up with recommendations.

♦ After reading and reflecting on the case, students form and meet in teams prior to class for discussions and “warm up.” In the group setting, the students talk about their views and alternatives and collaborate on their findings and recommendations.

♦ When class begins, the instructor poses probing questions, calling on individual students to present their case analysis. Everyone needs to be ready to defend their analysis and recommendations, because students do not know in advance whom the instructor will choose. Students do about 85 percent of the talking in class as the instructor makes periodic observations and asks probing questions.

♦ Class participation is vital and in this learning model half of the grade is based on the quality of their participation and contributions in class.

The biggest advantage, according to the Harvard promo is that “classroom interaction is enriched by ninety classmates from diverse industries, functions, countries, and experiences.”  They claim that when class is finished, “you’ll be amazed at what you learn from exchanging ideas with your classmates.”

Is Case Method right for you? Here’s what you need to consider:

♦ You’ll need to study and process a large amount of reading material and digest around three 20-page cases a week.

♦ You’ll need to get used to doing your studying, classroom preps and interacting in a group setting. If you’re more of a “loner,” this might not be for you.

♦ You’ll need to overcome any reluctance to speaking in front of a group and get used to accepting public criticism.

Harvard Business School developed the case method, which other schools around the world have adopted. There are still many business schools that have stayed with the lecture method, alternating with case studies providing some courses that do one or the other or a combination of both.