The Case Method, by Maximilian B. Torres, Ph.D.
The Catholic University of America

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The Case Method, by Maximilian B. Torres, Ph.D.

A word about the case method: in it you learn from simulated experience through exposure to actual organizational situations. The process begins with a narrative that poses a problem or raises a question, more likely several. The classroom is your simulator, your gymnasium for practicing decision-making. It is a safe place to learn about enterprise, management and yourself where you won’t lose money or harm anyone.

Make decisions as if the problem was yours by taking on the concerns of the case’s various actors and characters. Rather than learn from what they did, learn from what you’d do in their shoes.

My classroom role is to ask questions, create debates, challenge, cajole, and gently provoke you. Generally, it is to help you to think, feel the weight of the problem(s) and examine your assumptions.

The aims are to develop your business knowledge, self-knowledge and problem-solving abilities. The case method is ideal for producing decision-makers who get things done the right way. It is especially helpful for surfacing and clarifying your own beliefs, assumptions (usually implicitly held) and actual values—the ones that lie at the root of your decision-making, that is, of what you do rather than say.

In the end, you will develop prudence and thus become more valuable to any organization that hires you. Most importantly, you will also be better prepared to live life well.

Preparation is critical. Read the material and, if possible, discuss it with others before class. Be ready to identify problems, propose alternative solutions, judge between them and make choices. The onus is on you.

There is no, one “right” answer to a matter of prudential judgment. There are only more-or-less reasonable ones. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or make mistakes. A baseball player who is afraid to swing and miss would never get a hit. You’ll have more fun swinging away, and learn more, too.

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