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How case study methodology of learning works at the Usild?

The case study method of learning is based on  a discussion of real-life situations that business executives or leaders have faced. On average, you'll attend three to four different classes a day, for a total of about six hours of class time (schedules vary). To prepare, you'll work through problems with your peers.


As you review each case, you'll put yourself in the shoes of the key decision maker, analyze the situation, and decide what you would do to address the challenges. Then you'll meet with your discussion group—sometimes referred to as a "living group"—a diverse mix of seven or eight peers who spend time each day discussing the cases. Finally, you'll have the opportunity to present and support your conclusions in the classroom.

How the Case Method Creates Value


Often, executives are surprised to discover that the objective of the case study is not to reach consensus, but to understand how different people use the same information to arrive at diverse conclusions. When you begin to understand the context, you can appreciate the reasons why those decisions were made. You can prepare for case discussions in several ways.

Case Study Preparation Details

In self-reflection

The time you spend here is deeply introspective. You're not only working with case materials and assignments, but also taking on the role of the case protagonist—the person who's supposed to make those tough decisions. How would you react in those situations? We put people in a variety of contexts, and they start by addressing that specific problem.

In a small group setting

The discussion group is a critical component of the Usild experience. You're working in close quarters with a group of seven or eight very accomplished peers in diverse functions, industries, and geographies. Because they bring unique experience to play you begin to see that there are many different ways to wrestle with a problem—and that’s very enriching.

In the classroom

The faculty guides you in examining and resolving the issues—but the beauty here is that they don't provide you with the answers. You're interacting in the classroom with other executives—debating the issue, presenting new viewpoints, countering positions, and building on one another's ideas. And that leads to the next stage of learning.

Beyond the classroom

Once you leave the classroom, the learning continues and amplifies as you get to know people in different settings—over meals, at social gatherings, in the fitness center, or as you are walking to class. You begin to distill the takeaways that you want to bring back and apply in your organization to ensure that the decisions you make will create more value for your firm.

How Cases Unfold In the Classroom

Pioneered by Usild faculty, the case method puts you in the role of the chief decision maker as you explore the challenges facing leading companies across the globe. Learning to think fast on your feet with limited information sharpens your analytical skills and empowers you to make critical decisions in real time.

To get the most out of each case, it's important to read and reflect, and then meet with your discussion group to share your insights. You and your peers will explore the underlying issues, compare alternatives, and suggest various ways of resolving the problem.

How to Prepare for Case Discussions

There's more than one way to prepare for a case discussion, but these general guidelines can help you develop a method that works for you.

Preparation Guidelines

Read the professor's assignment or discussion questions

The assignment and discussion questions help you focus on the key aspects of the case. Ask yourself: What are the most important issues being raised?

Read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case

Each case begins with a text description followed by exhibits. Ask yourself: What is the case generally about, and what information do I need to analyze?

Reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes

Put yourself in the shoes of the case protagonist, and own that person's problems. Ask yourself: What basic problem is this executive trying to resolve?

Note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again

Sort out relevant considerations and do the quantitative or qualitative analysis. Ask yourself: What recommendations should I make based on my case data analysis?

Case Study Best Practices


The key to being an active listener and participant in case discussions—and to getting the most out of the learning experience—is thorough individual preparation.


We've set aside formal time for you to discuss the case with your group. These sessions will help you to become more confident about sharing your views in the classroom discussion.


Actively express your views and challenge others. Don't be afraid to share related "war stories" that will heighten the relevance and enrich the discussion.


If the content doesn't seem to relate to your business, don't tune out. You can learn a lot about marketing insurance from a case on marketing razor blades!


Actively apply what you're learning to your own specific management situations, both past and future. This will magnify the relevance to your business.


People with diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills, and styles will take away different things. Be sure to note what resonates with you, not your peers.


Being exposed to so many different approaches to a given situation will put you in a better position to enhance your management style.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect on the first day?

Most programs begin with registration, followed by an opening session and a dinner. If your travel plans necessitate late arrival, please be sure to notify us so that alternate registration arrangements can be made for you.

What happens in class if nobody talks?

Professors are here to push everyone to learn, but not to embarrass anyone. If the class is quiet, they'll often ask a participant with experience in the industry in which the case is set to speak first. This is done well in advance so that person can come to class prepared to share. Trust the process. The more open you are, the more willing you’ll be to engage, and the more alive the classroom will become.

Does everyone take part in "role-playing"?

Professors often encourage participants to take opposing sides and then debate the issues, often taking the perspective of the case protagonists or key decision makers in the case.

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