Making an Impact


IBS Hyderabad

I’m looking forward very much to presenting online to the International Case Study Conference at IBS Hyderabad, on Saturday 7 October.

My presentation is on the impact of cases outside the classroom. Teaching cases contribute to:

  • the impact of business schools
  • contacts between schools and regional, national and international business
  • enhanced student employability
  • recruitment, branding and development opportunities for companies participating in case writing

Increasingly schools and universities are being measured for their impact on regional and national infrastructures: how much they bring to the local economy, local development and local people, in addition to their traditional focus on student learning.

The Indian government, for example, has ambitious plans for the development of 20 domestic ‘institutions of eminence’ to reduce the flow of students out of India by raising the quality of its domestic universities. This may have repercussions for other economies where Indian students make up a significant proportion of all new enrolments.

EFMD in partnership with FNEGE (the French National Foundation for Management Education) offers the BSIS (Business School Impact System) as a service to its members. The system is designed to measure the extent of a school’s impact upon its local business, political and cultural environments.

I’m sure that case studies have a measurable impact and should contribute to any assessment of both the quality of education and the interaction and development of relations, income and outlook of the school’s regional environment.



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How to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist?

cq5dam.web.1280.1280The above phrase is now every educational conference’s favourite cliché. But the fact that it’s a staple in any game of conference bingo doesn’t mean we can ignore it.

The 3-9 August edition of THE carries several features and a news story on teaching, and how best to prepare students for employment.

Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney (pictured, left), talks about how the rise of artificial intelligence has stimulated the university to restructure its undergraduate degree to include an extended problem-solving project.

The piece (read in full) also quotes Mike Sharples, Professor in Educational Technology at The Open University, as saying that developing graduate attributes such as critical thinking, creativity, global awareness and networking skills are key tasks for universities.

Seems like a job for the case method to me.

In more news, David Matthews reports that President Macron (pictured, below) is making use of a cohort of deputies, with scientific and academic backgrounds, to initiate change in how policy is developed and implemented, in an approach that will be familiar to anyone who has experienced case discussion.

President macronHere’s a thought for governments around the world. Are you burdened with apparently insoluble problems? Why not commission a case author to write about it and facilitate a case discussion?

Elsewhere in THE, Jack Grove looks at the measurement of student learning under the UK’s subject level TEF pilot (view full article). Much of the debate centres on whether metrics based on class size and the number of hours taught can really be a good measure of student learning. I can’t see where learning based around case discussion fits into all of this.

All of which is by way of leading me to my final choice from a particularly rich edition of THE – David Matthews’s examination of fuzzy logic and whether success at university correlates with future success in gaining professional qualifications (read more).

download.pngThe article starts with the outcome of an investigation undertaken by the accountancy firm, EY, into its own employees. EY found that success at undergraduate level is a much less effective indicator than it supposed, and as a result has initiated selection based on its own tests rather than on degree attainment. And EY is not alone. Other firms are adopting a similar approach in light of their own experience.

And yet the attributes firms say they are looking for in graduates remain as they always have: logical thinking, ability to understand the root cause of a problem, rapid comprehension of new concepts, self motivation, a confident and professional manner and a strong work ethic.

So if these companies find that a university education doesn’t develop these attributes in graduates, what can?

This is where the case method can certainly step in.

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