Over the centuries, higher education has went through numerous developments and the teaching methods also underwent changes in various ways. While traditional means such as one-way lectures may not have changed drastically, modern methods have emerged alongside and proved themselves to be a better fit in certain environments.
In fact, the case method itself isn’t very modern as one would discover in the next part, it has been successfully used in business and management curricula at the graduate level for a long time now. But in more recent times, it’s starting to be widely used in business and management education at the undergraduate level all around the world, slowly shifting towards a pivotal role.
At Nagoya University of Commerce & Business, we believe in innovation and that includes the innovation of education. Our Graduate School of Management, NUCB Business School, has first introduced the case method in 1990 and it was later fully implemented in all of its lectures. Inheriting from this pedagogy and innovating our teaching methods, our Global BBA program was started with lectures fully conducted in participant-centered learning style, using the case method and the field method.
As this article from Harvard Law School states, Christopher Colombus Langdell invented the case method in legal education towards the end of the 19th century. This article from BizEd AACSB International reveals this approach was then adopted and pioneered by Harvard Business School in the 1920s and ever since, it has become widely popular around the world, to the point that “Business students around the world read 15 million to 20 million case studies each year.”
How does it work?
A case, depicting the real-life experience, challenges and issues of an organization, is a factual story that lacks a proper ending but is completed with background information and various data that leaves place to numerous analysis of the problems and troubles being faced at the time when the decisions are required.
Through the case method, we aim to allow the students to experience the position of decision-makers, by pitting them against actual dilemma in the management of any organization.
Opposite to a more traditional teaching method, students engage actively in discussions and debate various points of views in the class while being led by the professor. They get to analyze issues from various perspectives and ultimately lead the whole class to potentially numerous and different solutions because there is almost never a single answer to the present obstacles. Such discussions are an excellent opportunity for the students to display and develop further their abilities to think and analyze logically and critically, to communicate effectively and to make important but difficult decisions; which are all proof of leadership. And in this rapidly globalizing world where more and more employees are expected to take on the role of a leader whenever necessary instead of merely following orders, they must be able to demonstrate the qualities mentioned above.
Hence, some of our learning goals through this teaching method is to develop future business leaders capable of communicating effectively, making ethical decisions while being aware of the increasing diversity in this connected world. This aligns with our mission to educate innovative and ethical leaders who possess a ‘Frontier Spirit’ and to create knowledge that advances business and society.
As a method proved time and time again through history of higher education in business and management, across borders, the case method stands on the podium and it works in perfect synergy with our mission.
Click here to read more on how the case method along with other factors lead to better soft skills which are highly appreciated by employers, and how its teachings are implemented at our university.