Case method B-school, pedagogy


The Harvard website ( has the following to say on the Case Method: “To create leaders, Harvard Business School creates the context in which leaders are formed: real-life challenges, wrapped in complicated and sometimes insufficient information. Each challenge confronts our students with a rich web of consequences-and a demand for a prompt, responsible plan of action. These challenges are our cases. Through the case method, every Harvard Business School classroom becomes a crucible for participant-centred learning. A crucible in which students not only assume responsibility for their education, but exercise the fundamentals of leadership that they will practice the rest of their lives. The case method is rooted in Harvard Business School's original vision. Edwin Gay, first Dean of HBS, called it the "problem method" and foresaw its value in creating leaders able to adjust as necessary to ever-changing business climates. From its inception a century ago, the School established two important pedagogical principles. First, it would use cases as teaching vehicles and not rely on lectures and readings. Second, it would engage the students in the learning process by getting them to teach themselves and each other. Today, although we also make use of lectures, simulations, fieldwork, and other forms of teaching as appropriate, more than 80 percent of HBS classes are built on the case method.

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