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Case studies were first used in training at Harvard (USA), and since then, Harvard has largely shaped the format of case studies worldwide. Training at Harvard Business School (Harvard Business School, HBS) is almost entirely built on the analysis of cases, and the school library collected the largest collection of cases in the world. A classic Harvard case is a large case (20-25 pages of text plus 8-10 pages of illustrations and applications), where there is a main character and his story. The peculiarity of the application of the case-method in HBS is the search for the only correct solution.
In the School of Management. John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS) cases are used for training civil servants, and their topics are related to issues of public policy and leadership. The protagonist of the case, as a rule, is in the public service or is an official person of a non-profit organization. HKS cases may cover topics such as the “Renaissance of Rwanda after the Genocide”, “Hurricane Katrina”, etc. Discussion of cases in HKS is more scientific and conceptual in nature, while in business schools, the case method is a solution to some specific problems with developing an action plan.
In medical education, an example of using the case-study method is provided by training at the Harvard Medical School. Traditionally, future doctors were allowed to work with patients from the third year, and the first two years they were given only theoretical education with a huge amount of material for memorization. Students studied biology, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and other disciplines. In 1985, the dean of the school, Daniel Tosteson (Daniel Tosteson) offered to use cases to reduce the information load on students and introduce elements of active learning into the program.
Work with medical cases differed from the decision of business cases in its format. Some business schools created online essay writer services to help students cope with that. Students worked in small groups, for 6-8 people, and received the material directly in the class, and did not get acquainted with it in advance. The case consisted of 5-6 parts, which were consistently dealt with in several classes. As a rule, the first part described the patient’s initial condition and symptoms, the second contained the results of the initial examination, the following parts were devoted to the results of the tests, the diagnosis of the specialists assigned to treatment, the patient’s response to this treatment, and further progress of treatment.
During the discussion, students were not required to offer ready-made solutions. The goal was to raise further questions, put forward hypotheses, identify gaps in knowledge, and eventually create a plan for self-study of materials on the topic with which students were sent to the library for several days. After that the teacher offered for discussion the following part of the case. Thus, with the introduction of cases in training, students already at the initial courses plunged into the world of medical practice instead of purely theoretical training.
In the European tradition of business education, a slightly different format of education was initially established. The first MBA programs in France, Switzerland, the UK and other countries lasted an average of 12 months (instead of two-year programs, as was the case in the US) and were designed for students who already had practical experience in business management.
This pragmatic orientation and proximity to the world of real business has found its most complete expression in the Manchester Business School (MBS) and, accordingly, the so-called Manchester School case study. In contrast to the Harvard cases, the Manchester cases are one and a half to two times shorter and they lack the right solution, which is developed in the course of open discussions. In addition, the Manchester School of Business is trying to bring its cases even closer to reality: it practices short-term internships for students (project teaching method), where they are faced with the task of coping with the specific difficulties that the company is currently experiencing. Due to the practice, training in MBS lasts a little more – 18 months. On average, the lecture accounts for 30% of the entire study time, the decision of cases takes 25%, and participation in working projects – 45%.