I am grateful to William Ellet and his book The Case Study Handbook: How to Read, Discuss, and Write Persuasively About Cases by William Ellet, published by Harvard Business Review Press. An important part of the content below is derived from this book. I have tried to mould the knowledge of the book into Indian case study competitions approach. Planning template for three types of solutions is directly taken from this book.
Understanding Case Studies
You may have faced a major change in pedagogy when you enter a business school. It is from a conventional theoretical discussion to case-based discussion. Another major change is a quest to strengthen your curriculum vitae. For that, you participate in external competitions to showcase your competence.
We’ll discuss the approach to participate in case study competitions here. Though we all are familiar with the case study method, we seldom apply it appropriately with relevance.
We learn through cases in daily lectures. But, the case in a competition is different. In a classroom, the whole class collaborates on crafting a solution. There is an expert to moderate the discussions and to give directions. In a competition, you are expected to analyse the case on your own with help from your team members, compose solutions, and communicate effectively to the judges. It takes time to develop your approach towards the case. You should simply participate in more case studies and develop your own method.
We will be provided just an abstract approach for cases; you should read and understand it first and start analysing. Gradually, you will develop your own method from this abstract direction.
Try to do as much as you can so that you are able to device the best method that suits you. With practice, eventually, you will be able to derive the method that suits the best.
What is a Case?
It is a taming and an indeterminate text. It has no right or wrong solutions. Just like real life problems, it may have multiple possible solutions. You must suggest the best alternative and back it up with appropriate and tangible reasons.
In lengthy cases, they do not state problems explicitly. You must identify them. But, mostly, in case study competitions, cases are far less lengthy and state the questions explicitly.
Implicit questions stated in a lengthy case may lead the readers to answer questions from any point of view; but, it is not possible to ask implicit questions in competitions, as the participants need to be evaluated on predetermined criteria. Therefore, to lead the participants in a specific direction, they state the problems explicitly.
General Case Study Competition Structure
Figure 1 Competition Process
Evaluation criteria for finals
Understanding the case
Skill demonstrated in conceptualizing and analysing the case
Use of pertinent literature, assessment frameworks and best practices
Practicality and applicability of ideas
Ability to defend a position or strategy
Courtesy: Dipan Mewada