Case method teaching immerses students into realistic business situations. Cases provide the reality of managerial decision making — which includes incomplete information, time constraints, and conflicting goals — as students learn how to analyze business situations. The case method stimulates students’ thinking and encourages discussion. Not only is it a very relevant and practical way to learn, it’s exciting and fun.
The cases used in class are from Harvard Business School Press. Students are required to purchase the cases at the website (click here) Note: you may need to complete a one-time registration at the website.
The cases will help you understand how companies are using Supply Chains in innovative ways. The instructor will provide a list of questions with each case. The instructor will lead a discussion of these cases in the class. For each case, one group will also be expected to make a presentation of the case in the class.
The work on the cases is mostly completed by groups (6 people in each group) organized in Week 1. Here are the roles and responsibilities of the students and case groups for each case:
Presentation Group: One group each week will prepare a short presentation about the case and case questions and present it to the class
All Other Groups: Required to submit a printout of their answers to the case question to the instructor at the beginning of the class.
Instructions for each Student for Each Case
Although the answers to the case questions posed are to be submitted by the group, each individual student’s individual preparation and participation is critical.
During class, there typically will be discussions of that week’s case and other topics. I may ask for volunteers to answer but also, based on random student selection I may call on each student at least 2x / semester. Students called on to answer should be able to summarize the key issues, opportunities, and challenges from the assigned readings and materials (e.g. the case, blog, etc.).
- Preparation. Each student must read the case. Then work within their team to analyze the case, and then formulate an action plan. Without this, the case discussion will mean little.
- Presence. If the student is not present, she or he cannot learn and, more important, cannot add her or his unique thoughts and insight to the class discussion.
- Promptness. Students who enter the classroom late disrupt the discussion and deprecate the decorum of the process.
- Participation. Each student has the responsibility to share his or her understanding and judgment with the class to advance our knowledge and learning. Students called on to answer should be able to summarize the key issues, opportunities, and challenges from the assigned readings and materials (e.g. the case, blog, etc.).
Instructions for the group making case presentation
- Submit the case study analysis on the Canvas site for this course prior to to class time on the day the case study is to be discussed in class. The file should be in Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt or pptx) format. I will enable this file for your presentation to the class.
- Submit a printout of your presentation slides to instructor at the beginning of the class.
- Late submissions will not receive assignment credit
- Briefly (1-2 slides) discuss the company and the main points of this case.
- Present a slide or two on how the company is doing now (e.g. through some web research – what their latest profit is or how they seem to be doing overall.) If you can include some latest news about their supply chain, that’ll be great.
- If appropriate, prepare a diagram of the complete supply chain (as given in the case). On the diagram, highlight the insourced and outsourced components.
- Prepare 1-2 slides on each of the case questions posed (i.e. from the blog).
- Presentations that engage the class with questions or discussions are highly desirable.
Presentation Style: Points will also be awarded for presentation style. Here are some tips that you may want to note:
- Remember that the slides are not the presentation. Avoid reading verbatim from the slides.
- Make sufficient eye contact with the class. It is not a good idea to read prepared notes directly.
- Make the slides sufficiently interesting. For example, you can include pictures or videos related to the company.
- Formal attire is not required for the presentation.
Case Questions: Instructions for Groups Not Presenting
For each case I will post on the course blog several questions to be answered. One group will present this case in the class. Their answers to the questions will be included in their presentation.
All other groups are required to submit a writeup of their answer to the course Canvas site. All groups are to be prepared to discuss the case in the class.
Here are some tips for writing the case answers:
- Answers should be brief and to the point (10 lines max).
- Answers should be substantiated by proper reasoning from the case or other sources.
- Avoid general statements such as “make customers happy”, “increase profits” etc without proper explanations.
Case Grading Method:
Each case has a maximum of 10 points that can be awarded. 80% of the grade is allocated to the contents of the writeup for the case questions. Answers that are complete (e.g. per question instructions) and touch the themes from the case will receive full credit. 20% of the grade for each case will be awarded for presenting your answers in a clear, readable, and compelling manner.
The following are examples of an answer to a possible case question. The content (ideas) are the same in each example. However, I believe that Example 1 presents them in a clearer, and more readable and compelling manner (e.g. would receive added points).
Keys to Success:
More content available: providers bring sufficiently different content on one site obviating need to visit other sites or use different viewing options.
Free to use: users only need to register to watch much free content.
Popularity: Providers use social network platforms to attract more users / audience
Relationship with Partners: Understand each partner’s business to provide what they desire (profit, audience share, buzz, etc.)
There are several keys to success. Having more content available as well as sufficiently different content on one site obviates need to visit other sites or use different viewing options. Providing viewing free of charge means users only need to register to watch much the content. Providers use social network platforms to attract more users / audience and drive up their popularity. A strong Relationship with Partners is also a key to success. The relationship allows understanding each partners’ business to provide what they desire most (profit, audience share, buzz, etc.).