The benefits of case studies for MBA students are indisputable: it is the training of analytical skills, the manager’s ability to use financial and marketing tools, build multi-pass combinations and make non-standard management decisions.
Some tasks are solved easily and with pleasure, but there are those over which you have to break your head. Here are some examples of such cases. There are five types of cases:
- Cases with calculations;
- Cases that teach to think about the future;
- Cases from complex industries (for example, IT or engineering);
- Cases about managers who are in an unfamiliar situation;
- Cases from other professional areas.
Not to say that these cases are “the most difficult”, complex cases in business schools are everywhere, and not all of them are about Pepsi and General Motors. The less popular company is, the more interesting it is to dig into its processes. Of course, some MBA case studies are much more suitable for case study writing services with experts, but most of them can be solved by a young professional with the help of enough efforts.
Here is an example:
The owner of the agricultural holding company retired and handed over management to his son-in-law, who led the young management team. After 4 years, a successful company was on the verge of bankruptcy due to heavy loan debts. New managers took loans for various projects aimed at the development of the enterprise. However, many of these projects are not brought to the result. When the situation became critical, the owner returned to the company. What should he do in this situation?
Approaches to the solution
The main thing in solving such cases is not to grab the choice that lies on the surface, but to try to predict the course of events as a result of making this or that decision. Of course, in the first example, it would be the easiest way for the owner to drive out an incompetent son-in-law. But what kind of relationship can he build with his daughter? And will he be able to successfully manage the company if he is unhappy, since his daughter will be less likely to communicate with him and he will not be able to see his grandchildren when he wishes? And is it really only the son-in-law that is to blame?
Or maybe the owner should not immediately leave the company, but first it was necessary to train his successor and help him for some time? Therefore, in order to preserve family relationships, it is not necessary to chop off the shoulder, but you should find a more optimal solution. For example, take as a deputy assistant with experience in crisis management, and for your son-in-law to find suitable work in a team or unobtrusively send you on a long-term leave until the situation stabilizes.
Firstly, it should be a logical story built from modern business practice. Such a story has a plot (a brief description of the situation), intrigue (problem and task), and solutions. It also can finish with limitations to the chosen solutions.
Secondly, the problems and tasks should be formulated specifically and clearly.
Thirdly, the case should contain figures and facts that would allow a fairly accurate representation of the business context in which the tasks arose that need to be understood. Say, it’s not enough just to say that company X needs advice on how to increase sales in a falling market. It is important to briefly describe the starting conditions in which it is located.
- What product releases, who are its customers?
- What processes are going on in the industry market, what are they connected with?
- What is the place of the company among competitors, what are its advantages?
- What sales methods has it used so far, and what results has it received?
- What product flaws, business models, company management systems can complicate the path to the goal?
In any case, the input data should be enough to prepare a solution.
Ideally push off from the real situation in a real company. And it is not necessary to disclose what is called a trade secret or NDA. There are plenty of ways to get around this sharp corner: change the name of the company and the city in which it operates; replace one product with another addressed to the same audience; proportionally decrease or increase performance. The main thing is that the business story is, as they say, vivid and realistic.