The Case Method, By Bill Gray
Bill Gray has served as Co-CEO of Ogilvy Group North America and sat on the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide board. He received his Master of Business Administration from the Darden School of Business.
The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia offers a pedagogically distinctive program. Many schools utilize traditional methods of classroom management, which means a professor stands at the front of the class, gives his or her lecture, and fields questions. The Darden School’s philosophy has departed from his model for its own model called the “case method.”
With the case method, the professor bases each lecture on an abstract topic—accounting identities or marketing strategy, for instance—professors then base their classes on unique, real life business scenarios. Students are given the opportunity to analyze these scenarios and offer solutions. Students then discuss their proposed solutions with a learning team and receive feedback on their ideas.
This practical philosophy towards education prepares graduate students for the demands of the business world in a much more direct way, which is something that more traditional programs would do well to emulate.