Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Case Method Learning - Sarah Thomas-Drawbaugh

After reading, “The Case Method” by David Lassman I agree that case method learning is a productive way to engage students and to get them use to analyzing difficult situations. Analyzing cases allows students to uncover multiple layers of their managerial capabilities while simultaneously fostering critical thinking. Additionally, case method learning allows students to develop an analytical framework to draw from when analyzing any critical decision. I believe that case method learning in an academic setting equips students with the necessary skills to make educated business decisions in the future.

In the case, Lassman clearly outlines the distinct advantages to case method learning in the academic setting. The four steps to the case study process are extremely important because they encourage students to understand the information, gather data, form opinions and articulate their opinions in a well informed way. Versus simply making a quick judgment that could have long lasting negative effects for the individuals involved. By executing a judicious review of the cases, students are actually developing a framework which they can leverage when making future business decisions.

Personally, I have been exposed to case method learning multiple times during my time here at the Heinz school. It has been a very constructive process and has allowed me to refine my managerial skills. One of the most important things I learned and is highlighted in the case is that you have to gather data when possible. Data is an extremely powerful tool that you can leverage as you begin to form your opinions and articulate them in a professional or personal environment. Leveraging data to support your stance allows you to build credibility with your peers. They will take your opinions more seriously and rely on you to help analyze a variety of different situations as they arise. I personally experienced this first hand in my work environment.

Tom Smith, who is one of the managers in my office was trying to determine whether or not he should terminate on of his employees for not hitting their sales revenue quota. Tom was getting pressure from his management team to layoff anyone who wasn’t at their number. So before deciding, I worked with Tom to collect as much data as possible on this individuals’ performance and he discovered that he had consistently closed the highest margin deals out of everyone on the team. So even though he had not attained his required revenue quota he was closing more profitable deals than anyone else. As a result, Tom thanked me for helping him uncover this information. Tom was glad that he could help save this individuals job and had the data to build a justification to his management team as to why they should keep this individual on the team.


Ultimately, by leveraging what I learned from case method learning I was able to look at the situation from a more holistic perspective which benefited everyone on the team. Tom, now comes to me with other questions and because of case method learning, I have become a trusted advisor to him.

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