The Case Method

MBA students listening to lecture by Professor Godoy

At Heller, many of our classes are taught using the case method.  This approach to learning, which presents students with actual business case studies to analyze and consider, has several benefits. By exploring real life dilemmas in organizations, students develop deep insights about how to solve the problems they may face in their careers.  By putting themselves in the shoes of the case protagonists they gain a detailed understanding of the complexity and challenge of situations leaders and managers face in areas as diverse as operations, strategy, marketing, human resources and other areas.  

Case method discussions often ask students to devise and defend a solution to the business problem presented in the case. This enables students to develop and hone an ability to concisely and clearly express a point of view, synthesize complex information and work to convince their classmates (just as they will convince stakeholders in their careers). 

Cases are memorable: long after a case has been discussed, students typically remember key lessons and develop pattern recognition that better equips them to deal with similar or analogous situations that they may face after graduation. Case discussions also put students in the role of teacher as well as learner, which promotes deeper learning.   

Finally, cases are fun. The real time discussions are engaging and energizing and we often pair them with classroom visits from the professionals featured in the cases, who then offer additional context and share their experience.

Why we use the case method in the MBA program