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Enhance Your


Enhance Your


Geetika Shah Senior Associate Director Centre for Learning and Management Prac ce Indian School of Business

Philip C. Zerrillo Professor of Marke ng Thammasat University Thailand & Former Deputy Dean Indian School of Business

Enhance Your B-School Learning Ace the Case Geetika Shah and Philip C. Zerrillo Published by Wiley India Pvt. Ltd., 4436/7, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Printed at: Yash Printographic First Edition ISBN: 978-93-5424-677-7 ISBN: 978-93-5424-678-4 (ebk) Copyright © 2021 by Wiley India Pvt. Ltd. Cover Image: © Shutterstock All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or scanning without the written permission of the publisher. Limits of Liability: While the publisher and the author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, Wiley and the author make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book, and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. There are no warranties which extend beyond the descriptions contained in this paragraph. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. Disclaimer: The contents of this book have been checked for accuracy. Since deviations cannot be precluded entirely, Wiley or its author cannot guarantee full agreement. As the book is intended for educational purpose, Wiley or its author shall not be responsible for any errors, omissions or damages arising out of the use of the information contained in the book. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the Publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks or trade names of their respective holders. Wiley is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. Other Wiley Editorial Offices: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Pappellaee 3, D-69469 Weinheim, Germany John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, 42 McDougall Street, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 1 Fusionpolis Walk #07-01 Solaris, South Tower Singapore 138628 John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd, 22 Worcester Road, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, M9W ILI Edition: 2021 www.wileyindia.com

For the constant encouragement and belief in me that made this book possible: To my father, for always showing me the way with his deep wisdom, knowledge, and intellect; to my mother, for always motivating me to be the best version of me; to my husband, Sudhanshu, for being the most candid, trusted sounding board for me; and to my daughter, Anvi, my North Star, for shining bright in my life and inspiring me each day. —Geetika Shah A book like this is never a personal project but rather an output of many moments and motivations. I would like to dedicate this book to the people that made it possible. To my mother and father, Mary Ellen and Edward G Zerrillo; my wife Karen Zerrillo, for her forty years of support; and my two sons, Philip Jr and Michael, who gave me focus and purpose in my life. —Philip C. Zerrillo


Preface In management education, the case study methodology has proven to be a widely successful pedagogical tool. Enhance Your B-School Learning: Ace the Case is centered on the use of cases as an academic instrument. This book is targeted at students trying to get the most out of their business school journey. The case study method has been a cornerstone of business school pedagogy since the dawn of business education. While some students who join an MBA programme may have already experienced a case during some part of their education, there are usually many more who encounter this pedagogical tool for the first time in the B-school classroom. The first-timer can find the process of learning through this tool somewhat unstructured and challenging. This book has been conceived and written with the intent to assist students in rapidly going up the learning curve of case-based courses. Planned as an easy-to-read guide, and equipped with sample cases, templates, and several useful tips, this book provides direction on how students can read, prepare, and conduct case study analysis, such that they are well-prepared to apply the same in their sessions and maximize their learning. Both the authors share their insights on how cases are conceived, written, and measured for instructional value. Having written over 100 cases between them, the authors share their insights on case structure and case information. From the student’s perspective, they share a system for organizing one’s thoughts with key points for compiling case information, effective summarization, and making useful class contributions.


The authors have conducted more than 60 case writing and case teaching seminars for faculty worldwide. The insights they share with faculty are outlined in this book in an effort to provide students with a glimpse into the teacher’s intentions and expectations.

Organization of the Book Chapter 1: Introduction to Cases – In this chapter, you will learn what we mean by a “teaching” case as used in business schools. You will understand the importance of the case method, why faculty teach with cases and how they select and assign cases for a course. Chapter 2: The Case Process – To be truly effective, the case process requires you, your peers, and the instructor to participate. In this chapter, we will help you understand your role as a participant in the classroom. We will also discuss the generally accepted structure for cases to help you prepare better and participate actively in group meetings and the classroom. Chapter 3: Steps in Case Analysis – In this chapter, we describe a simple, yet effective means to comprehend all the information in a given case and make sense of the material presented. The greater your clarity of the problem, the easier it is for you to perform the right analysis. You will also understand the role you undertake as you analyze the case. Chapter 4: Inside the Classroom – The learning environment in the typical case classroom is highly personal and requires you to be prepared, involved, and likable. In this chapter, we discuss various aspects of the in-class experience and share important pointers on class discussion etiquette.



Chapter 5: Writing a Case Analysis – The case write-up is an opportunity to present your decisions, logic, and analyses in a very thorough manner. In addition to being well-structured, your analysis and write-up needs to be well supported and interesting. In this chapter, we provide a sample format along with useful tips that would help you write a succinct and well-presented case analysis. Chapter 6: How You Can Learn with Cases? – Learning through the case method is about being interactive, spontaneous, and responsible. To make the most of it, through this chapter, we highlight the importance of being prepared and fully engaged in the process, resulting in greater insights, depth of understanding, and experience.  

Geetika Shah Philip C. Zerrillo


About the Authors Geetika Shah is a Senior Associate Director at the Centre for Learning and Management Practice, Indian School of Business (ISB). Geetika has over 15 years of experience working with academic and pedagogical content. She has written and published numerous cases, some of which have been award winners at global case competitions. As a facilitator, she has delivered several training workshops and webinars on case writing, case teaching and case analysis for faculty and student audiences from around the world. With her content development and management expertise, she has been effectively leading a team of writers and editors to create, publish, and scale high quality content. As an editor, she manages the publication of ISB Management ReThink, a business school quarterly that features a forward-looking take on management practice and thinking. An MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, Geetika’s previous work experience includes stints with ad agency, J Walter Thompson, and software companies, D E Shaw and ADP.

About the Aurhors

Philip C. Zerrillo is Professor of Marketing at Thammasat University Thailand and the former Deputy Dean at the Indian School of Business. He has over 30 years of case teaching experience across 5 continents in 16 different countries. Dr. Zerrillo is an award-winning teacher and former Dean who has consulted on the establishment and development of case writing centres around the world. Over the past decade he has conducted numerous seminars in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Middle East, India, Australia, Myanmar, Brunei, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea, and Singapore to help faculty write cases and moreover to instruct them with a pedagogical flair. In addition to helping instructors make more out of their classroom experience, Dr. Zerrillo has been designing degree programmes across the world for the past quarter of a century. His student tips ensure successful class participation and guidance on writing top papers and being a star classroom contributor.


Acknowledgements We would like to thank the many colleagues, staff, faculty, and students that we have worked with along the way to creating this book. Their ideas, thoughts, feedback, and insights have been invaluable in shaping this book. We would like to extend our special thanks to our past and current colleagues at the Centre for Learning and Management Practice at the Indian School of Business (ISB) – Arun Pereira, Meena Saxena, Saumya Sindhwani, Arun Khan, Srikanth Velichaeti and the team; the Centre for Management Practice at the Singapore Management University (SMU) – Havovi Joshi, Sheetal Bhardwaj, Lipika Bhatacharrya, Adina Wong, Chan Chi Wei and Irene Soh; and the Institute for International Management Development (IMD).

Geetika Shah Philip C. Zerrillo

Contents Prefacevii About the Authorsxi Acknowledgementsxiii

Chapter 1  Introduction to Cases


1.1 Introduction 1.2 “Teaching” Case as Used in Business Schools 1.2.1 What Is a Case? 1.2.2 So Then, What Is a Case? 1.3 Why Teach with Cases? 1.3.1 Philosophy Behind the Case Method 1.3.2 Goal of the Case Method 1.4 How Faculty Select and Assign Cases?  1.5 Broad Considerations 1.6 Summary

2 4 7 8 12 12 13 15 17 22

Chapter 2  The Case Process


2.1 Introduction 2.2 What Are You Expected to Do with a Case? 2.2.1 Key Components in a Case 2.3 The Role of the Student 2.3.1 Individual Preparation 2.3.2 Your Study Group Discussion 2.4 Summary

24 25 29 36 36 39 43

Chapter 3  Steps in Case Analysis


3.1 Introduction 3.2 Role to Be Played 3.3 Situation Analysis  3.4 Defining the Problem 3.5 Performing Analysis 3.5.1 Identify or Generate Alternatives 3.5.2 Evaluation of Alternatives 3.6 Recommendation and Action Plan 3.7 Quantitative Analysis 3.8 Summary

50 52 53 54 56 56 58 60 62 63

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