About the case study method

“A case study is a research strategy and an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context,” explains PressAcademia. These exploratory analyses look at the underlying principles of a person, group, event, decision, policy or other systems in order to reveal a new understanding of it toward new solutions. 

Law schools have long studied legal cases with judicial precedent in order to understand and decide the outcomes of similar cases. As the business world becomes more complex, more business schools are following suit by embracing case studies: miniaturized versions of real-world management problems or business situations to devise strategies for firms to follow in the future. While they are often based on real events, business cases may also incorporate fictional circumstances in order to fully cover student learning needs. 

Benefits of using case studies

Universal Class says of the advantages of using case studies, “The case method is an excellent way for students to learn new cognitive skills, as well as improve their analysis and evaluation skills.” In working through case studies, business students are actively engaged in the process of abstracting basic principles from complex examples. All the while, they are honing their problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities. They also gain the opportunity to learn through the diverse ideas and perspectives of their classmates and teachers. 

The case study method is also associated with excellent teaching. Poets & Quants says , “As a general rule, schools whose dominant teaching method is case study tend to boast the best teachers in the classroom. The reason: case study teaching requires deep engagement and challenge. Professors who are one-way educators won’t survive long in a case study environment. And the available research that identifies the schools with the best teaching faculties lines up pretty well with the schools that require the most case study teaching.”

Is the case study method right for you?

While business schools are increasingly utilizing case studies, it’s a mistake to assume that they all do so and to the same degree. In a U.S. News & World Report article, MBA admissions consultant Stacy Blackman asserts, “While there are similarities across the top-tier programs, each school has a different teaching style. There's the case method approach; lecture-based instruction; and the experiential learning and team-based focus approach. Some schools concentrate almost entirely on one style, while others employ a mixture.”

Unfortunately, according to Blackman, many prospective business school students overlook teaching style when choosing a school, paying more attention to factors like rankings, career centre offerings, culture and location. “In fact, teaching style is often one of the last things applicants focus on. Although there are many different aspects of a program to consider as you select your target schools, I believe this one should have more weight, as it not only directly affects your enjoyment of your two-year investment, but the quality of knowledge that you walk away with,” she adds. 

If the case study methods sound like a good fit for you and your career goals, Mantissa College’s International Executive Master of Business Administration in collaboration with the Paris Graduate School of Management (PGSM) may be the ideal fit.  

This cutting-edge, accredited IEMBA in Malaysia is structured with the needs of today’s business students in mind. Part-time and full-time tracks are available with two tiers lasting a duration of either 15 or 18 months. The curriculum covers 10 core subjects: organizational behaviour; organisational development and change; management information systems; operations management; marketing; international business management; corporate financial management; strategic management; literature review and data analysis; and a research project. Furthermore, students choose between two specializations -- International Business Management and Strategic & Project Management. When you choose the IEMBA at Mantissa, you will also walk away with a master’s credential from one of the top-ranked business schools in France. 

At Mantissa College, case studies comprise an impressive 50 percent of assessments while the remaining 50 percent is designated for assignments. The takeaway? When it comes to an active, engaging and hands-on business degree, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than this IEMBA. 

Mantissa College’s IEMBA program boasts a dynamic global network of more than 80,000 alumni. One recent alumnus, Harrison Jub, says, “I took the 15-month Master of Business Administration course and in the first week, I was discussing the Real Case Study with groups of working professionals from different fields. And so I was learning from real people with real problems. Thanks to the case study based learning approach I am now capable of taking up more projects because I had been exposed to a wider perspective on handling matters from my learning experience.”

Certainly, evidence attests to the tremendous value of case studies in business education. Between its focus on this learning style and many other desirable attributes, Mantissa College’s International Executive Master of Business Administration offers an invaluable inside edge for aspiring business leaders. Join Mantissa College’s Open Day/Webinar for a 30% waiver on your tuition fees.  

Article written in association with Mantissa College