Constantly Seeing the Case Studies Right In Front of Your Eyes
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 / Bookmark & Share
By Emily Jasper, MBA '12
As a graduate student, a number of my classes utilize the case method. We review written stories of what went wrong in an organization, and we’re challenged to think of the alternate solutions. It’s a safe way to go about the trial-and-error process of decision making.
What might get lost in a classroom, however, is the application piece. You’re probably thinking, But wait? Isn’t working on the case the application? To certain people, that might be enough.
It’s not enough for us, though.
As part of the MBA Association and National Association of Women MBAs here at Tech, we frequently go on corporate visits. I once called the process “getting your own case studies.” If there was any way you could get on the floor of a company to see how everything happened, no matter what industry you worked in, you were going to be better for it. That’s the philosophy we’re taking around here.
Most recently, we coupled corporate visits to Elizabeth Arden and Maple Leaf Bakery. For the first-year students, this was the opportunity to see their Operations Management class in action. Every single student will have reference points for how a global distribution center realigns to changes in technology, customer preferences, and global expansion.
The world might be shifting towards business-through-service, but if you think about it, we still consume products. Elizabeth Arden may be a familiar cosmetic brand, but did you know that they’re also behind major fragrance lines like White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor, Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture, and Obsession by Calvin Klein? They’re working in a more diverse market than you might have originally thought.
Think of that sandwich you ate from Quiznos today, where did the bread come from? There are companies out there like Maple Leaf that are providing materials to service firms like Quiznos. You don’t have to wait for an episode of The Food Network’s Unwrapped to see how it happens, either. There could be a facility down the street baking bread right now.
Having the opportunity to see the ins-and-outs of companies allows us to be better at business. It can be hard when you’re in the working world to lift your head up and see cases happening right in front of you. It can be difficult to imagine that there is still manufacturing in this country when everything seems to have moved to the internet. What makes you great at business, however, is more than just the education in the classroom. It’s the knowledge you’re getting from the resources available at your fingertips. We’re getting to see business at its best.
originally published February 2011