The challenge of being a case teacher in business school.

Teaching a case study nowadays do not provide adequate return on investment. For a new field case (one that is on real companies written based on field research) , it takes 10 to 12 hours of preparation and a few hours on learning about industry context. A lot of physical and cognitive effort is needed to extract and organise the analysis, and a lot of emotional labour is involved in remaining calm and not getting upset and frustrated. 

After every thing, look at the exprience . There are students who have not read the case, so they sit wondering what is happening. There are the smart alecks who ask profound metaphysical questions like see an example "In business why should margins be proportionate to price";  There are those who are desperate for class participation who want to have airtime at any cost and contribute a point which might have been relevant 45 minutes back. There are those who have an existential dilemma about a typographical error in the case and refuse to proceed unless it is resolved to their satisfaction. 

After all the excitement, there are those who leave the class with the big question, so what is the take away, so what is the correct answer, and where is the secret recipe for success?

The instructor stumbles out, in a stupor, some how makes it to the room and fall asleep. Later in the night, will have nightmare about all that instances when the class suddenly fell strangely silent with no helpful responses to take the analysis in the planned direction.

Compare this to a lecture, text book authors provide the slides, instructor manuals provide the examples, every minute can be scripted and the lecture can proceed even if every one sleeps. There is no problem if the students are not prepared, if they  do not respond.  Own sound coming through the speakers give a nice sense of power. Above all , at the end of the session, satisfaction can be measured in slides per minute and words per minute. Some how if all the pesky questions can be ignored and the enterprising doubting Thomas could be brow beaten, lectures are a teacher's heavenly job. 

I have not given up yet, at least some students are there in every batch for whom the effort is worthwhile. 

PS. This is teacher's one sided perspective. At times, there are students who are well prepared and the instructor may be simply killing time. 


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