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Pattern Recognition... the title of another excellent book that I never got around to reading, but has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

The "case method" is an integral part of b-school education. You either love it, hate it or tolerate it, but you definitely can't escape it. The idea is by looking at business problem (typically described in narrative form with supporting data and exhibits at the end, and normally supplied by these guys) and discussing/analyzing it, you learn a particular topic. If the professor uses it well and I've put the time into thinking about the problem, I think it's a powerful way to learn the topic, as well as how the knowledge is relevant in a real-world setting.

Another argument in support of the case method is that since the universe of business problems ,especially when you boil it down to the basics, is fairly small you will learn to see patterns and be able to arrive at the solution. Now while I've seen similar patterns in the cases I've done, I'd never quite had that "aha..this is exactly like..." effect..until last week.

After my very first reading of the case, I intuitively had a sense of what the answer would be. The two cases were in completely different industries and, at first glance, there should have been no similarities whatsoever, but both basically were about companies that were having to make a decision that would lead to a shift in market power and the correct decision for both of them to make (at least according to us) was the same.

It's a pity real life is going to be so much more complicated.:)


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