When I did my MBA many moons ago I had to comply with the fashion of the Business Case Study. If it was a Harvard one, surely it came in blessed with the pedigree. I had a hard time with the fashion. I never understood the point. It detracted and distracted from teaching. The worst professors seemed to have more case studies. The worst was the ‘Part B’ or whatever it was called, when, alas, after endless brainstorming playing VPs of large corporations, the Part B actually told you what happened in reality. A bit of ‘the nominations are’ and ‘the winner is’. I could not find one single of these case studies relevant. Also, any journalist could have done a better job. And they don’t call it Reality Case or something like that… But I was not a standard MBA student. Stressed, with a big VP job, doing the MBA in ‘the spare time’ and other small domestic difficulties, I did not have great respect for the Case X of the German Car Industry (which for some reason seemed a recurrent theme that year!) Let me qualify. I did learn a lot about the German Car Industry. My final exam was a case about a small family owned farm in Italy. Neither of them told me a bit about day to day business reality. My Sunday newspaper won the competition by a long way.
In their completely uncommendable “Managing and Organizations: An Introduction to Theory and Practice” (which I had the misfortune to have to use as an M&O textbook for junior college students in China with poor command of English), Clegg, Kornberger and Pitsis aver “Like many other management academics, we have seen classes of MBA students seduced and delighted by corporate heroes, only to find those lionized for what they do today sometimes become tomorrow’s corporate villains. We should not be afraid to challenge conventional wisdom.”
Plenty of money to be had in the management training area, e.g. MBA provision, where MBA is frequently seen as the end rather than a stepping stone, a means to an end.