Case-study teaching aids student learning
Case studies are a time-honoured approach for teaching key business concepts and strategies in MBA programmes. While most business schools use a combination of teaching approaches, the Richard Ivey School of Business claims to be one of only four business schools in the world to teach exclusively using the case-study method.
“Our case-study method draws on real-world business experience and provides an interactive education experience. This equips Ivey graduates with the skills and capabilities to tackle the real-world leadership challenges in today’s complex business environment,” says Dr Janet De Silva, dean of Ivey Asia.
When teaching crisis management, the school gives students the same information – and misinformation – that an actual CEO facing a crisis is given. Students are taken through a step-by-step process of analysing the issues and proposing solutions on managing the crisis, which are then discussed by the class.
One example is the “Maple Leaf Foods Case Study, Inc. (A): The Listeriosis Crisis”, which was developed by the school’s Professor Jeffrey Gandz. The CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, a public company employing 23,000 people in more than 50 locations, had just been advised that a deadly outbreak of listeriosis was linked to products shipped from a Maple Leaf Foods plant. Several fatalities, and many severe illnesses, were linked to the contamination.
“Students receive a lead-in discussion for the case from an Ivey professor to set the stage and context,” De Silva says. “They then split up into groups to determine how the CEO should respond. They present their recommendations and the class debates and assesses them.”
The professor uses actual media coverage to show how the public and journalists reacted to the crisis. Students are also shown videos of actual news interviews with the CEO, as well as adverts and public-service announcements broadcast at the time.