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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

August 07, 2007

Learn About the MBA Case Method Before You Apply

Did you know that approximately 25% (Chicago GSB) to 80% (HBS) of all courses at top Business Schools use the case method?

While Harvard Business School is most known for its use of the case method, other top programs use it typically 30%-50% of the time with the remainder consisting of lecture, experiential learning, simulations, and other methods.

If you are thinking about applying to business school, you should learn about the case method to help determine (1) whether it suits your own learning style and (2) which schools you want to apply to.

If you have decided to apply, you should learn about the case method because you will (1) need to think whether you need to discuss directly or indirectly in their "Why MBA" essay and (2) need to be prepared to discuss why you would benefit from the case method in an interview.
One of the clearest explanations for the case method is, not surprisingly, the HBS website. Every MBA applicant could benefit from watching the case study video which will provide you with a clear 13 minute and 25 second image of what case study is about.

Want to read some case studies?

One great resource for cases studies is caseplace.org, where you can read (890 were available when I checked) cases written by and for top business schools. Many were published by Harvard Business School through Harvard Working Knowledge, Harvard Business Review, and Harvard Business School Publishing. Sources for other cases include Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Knowledge @ Wharton, and MIT Sloan Management Review.

Sponsored by the Aspen Institute, "CasePlace.org is designed for business school faculty" , it "is a free, practical on-line resource for up-to-date case studies, syllabi, and innovative teaching materials on business and sustainability - from corporate governance to sustainable development." Given the sources and purpose of the site, this a wonderful opportunity to read cases on a diverse range subjects.

If caseplace.org is not enough for you than you can also purchase case studies directly from schools such as HBS, Stanford, University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, and the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Management. Actually, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "Some Schools Now Sell Case Studies on Web," online case sales are a major source of revenue for many top schools.
Please keep in mind that the objective is to get enough background to make good decisions about your applications, so don't feel obligated to spend so much time reading cases. Just spend enough time to know what the case method is and how it will impact your application decisions and admissions strategy. Just as in my earlier post about professors, the point here is learn about what you want to do in graduate school.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
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