When Jim Wolfensohn became World Bank President, he decided to send managers to a tailor-made executive education program, and so it was that I spent some of the most exciting weeks of my professional life. The program was taught by faculty of Harvard Business School, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and IESE. Most of it consisted of cases.
I had not participated in a case class, and it was an amazing revelation. By now I have forgotten most of what I read when I was a student, let alone lectures. Cases are a totally different matter. I remember many of them vividly. The difference?
I sat through traditional classes; I lived cases, morphing from "being” the Director of New York City’s Juvenile Justice System, to rescuing a lumber company from bankruptcy. The quasi-experiential character of case teaching makes it a powerful learning tool.
Over the years, GBSN has responded to growing demand by developing world business schools for faculty development in case pedagogy. Our programs are two-pronged: case writing and case teaching – opinions are divided which should come first. Last year’s Case Month focused on case writing. This September, GBSN will focus the Case Month on teaching.
I am excited about this: case teaching is a very difficult and extremely rewarding art. Some of the most compelling case teachers are not only superb "drama managers” and memorable actors, they clearly spend a great many hours preparing for each class. Luckily, several of these outstanding teachers will participate in our Case Month, some of whom have been passionately engaged with GBSN for many years.
I invite you most cordially to be part of this month-long experience.Guy Pfeffermann is the founder and CEO of the Global Business School Network.