How the case method can help you in your lecturing career

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As Kermit sang so memorably on The Muppet Show ‘It’s not easy being green’.

At this time of year thousands of first year lecturers in business schools and universities will know how true that is.

For those not just fresh to lecturing but new to the academic environment as new entrants from business, the adjustment is doubly daunting.

What to say by way of encouragement and advice?

Lean on your experience

I’d say, in the midst of change trust in one’s own experience and knowledge. What do I know that my students need? For entrants from business, that surely means up to date and relevant experience of being tested in the workplace.

Getting the most out of the case method

Close up edge of colorful magazine stackingI’d say that adopting cases is a very effective way of sharing that business experience, taking it confidently into the classroom while still feeling one’s way into the more unfamiliar expectations and demands of academic life.

Start by choosing a case that reflects and is close to your own experience, take it into your own classroom and you’ll be amazed at how confidently you can guide students on a journey through the case and make it live for them.

Selecting the right case

How? Well, choose a case with a good, well written and detailed teaching note and you’ll get a pocket guide to how to teach it, how it links to management theory, and insights into previous student behaviours in classrooms like yours. It won’t just put you one step or more ahead of your students; if you’re smart you’ll also let it guide your own development and reading as you explore the theory behind the story.

An experienced Sports and Health Sciences lecturer, the University of Exeter’s Gavin Buckingham blogs about his own experience from when he was an early career academic, and has recently written an insightful piece for THE on tips for new lecturers.

Good luck, and remember you are the fresh perspective needed for student experience to remain relevant.

You can search over 60,000 cases on all areas of management and business at 


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Reflections from AOM


Richard visited the famous Wrigley Field to watch a dramatic Cubs win

Now that the AOM annual conference, this year in Chicago, is over and there has been time to reflect, here are my very impressionistic thoughts on the conference.

Cases were prominent

The case method had a much more prominent profile this year than at some previous meetings. I hope this reflects a growing recognition of the impact that cases have in the classroom, in imbedding schools more deeply within their local business communities, and as a factor of impactful scholarship.

More than the usual number of exhibitors were promoting case collections and both the main conference programme and the dedicated Teaching and Learning Conference had many sessions dedicated to aspects of the case method.

Multimedia has come of age


Martin Rodriguez (left) and Greg Merkley (right)

I was delighted to host our own professional development workshop in which presenters Martin Rodriquez (IE Business School) and Greg Merkley (Kellogg School) shared their experience of the challenges and rewards of creating multimedia cases.

Theresa Taylor-Coates (Limestone College) also led a PDW as a ‘taught’ session focusing on teaching multimedia, and shared her experience of how students responded in her classroom.

Writing a teaching case can be recognised as impactful scholarship

Sponsored by the MED, OB, STR and TTC divisions, in Developing Teaching Ideas into Impactful Intellectual Contributions a panel of academics and publishers explored how to translate rigorous research into learning activities, and create impactful intellectual contributions from their classroom activities.

I was delighted to speak on teaching cases and the impact they make along the cycle as it moves through research and creation, to the classroom, distribution, imbedding the school more firmly within its local or regional business sector, accreditation, and opportunities for further research.

Not all cases are alike.  Diversity is assumed.

It was encouraging to see the range of approaches to case writing and teaching displayed in sessions, particularly within the Teaching and Learning Conference.

I enjoyed the several led by the Wilfrid Laurier University team of Karen MacMillan, Karin Schnarr and Meredith Woodwark, which explored student case writing, live cases, and bestselling cases.  These were lively and stimulating sessions, exploring ways of creating new cases that not everyone could have bought into only a few years ago.

Teaching and Learning Conference

The Teaching and Learning Conference, held within the greater AOM conference, is a one-day event with a specific focus on the classroom.

This year’s was awash with enthusiasm and energy.  The sessions I attended were standing room only and the buzz in the building over lunch and coffee breaks was palpable. This conference within a conference has really hit its stride, and case-focused sessions were prominent.

Dark Side Case Competition

Sponsored by the CMS division of the Academy, this case competition is an established part of the conference.

It provides cases with an ethical or critical edge a platform, and demonstrates just how effective a case approach is in generating critical thought among students. It gives lie to the criticism sometimes voiced in the press that business schools merely contribute to the growth of a heartless, globalised capitalism.

This year’s finalists were of a very high standard and the judges must have had a difficult time in reaching a decision.

The winning case? Ashley Madison Hacking and the Ethics of Hacktivism by Debapratim Purayastha, Syeda Maseeha Qumer and Vinod Babu Koti, all of ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad.


Chicago is a wonderful city

Memorable moments from the Windy City? The Chicago Architectural Society guided boat tour of the city’s architectural highlights, Wrigley Field and the Cubs coming back from being 1-3 down to win 4-3 on the last hit of the game, jazz at the Jazz Showcase, and unbelievably deep, deep pan pizza!


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