Case Method Proposed for MBA Teaching

Wallace Brett Donham (on right)

The Case Method for MBA instruction effectively began when the second dean of Harvard Business School, Wallace Brett Donham (pictured on right), published a memo to the faculty in 1920. As a way to bring focus and practicality to business studies, Donham proposed adapting the case law method commonly used in legal studies.

With this initiative, the style of MBA instruction shifted towards examining real-world business problems and exploring how to go about solving them. Students would learn how to approach the job of a being a business manager rather than dwelling on abstract business theory. The Case Method was eventually applied to the Harvard program in 1924 and, over time, spread to become standard for many MBA programs around the world.

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