Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Case Method explained 
Yesterday my Finance prof, formerly of MIT, explained the case method in an interesting manner. He used the analogy of teaching someone to swim. In the lecture method they teach you the mechanics of swimming, the theory behind it, and the physics involved, but you never actually get in the pool until you graduate. In the case method, OTOH, the professor pushes you in the pool on day 1 but is there to make sure you don't drown.

Several visiting students I've spoken with have asked me whether the case method works for subjects like finance and accounting. Suprisingly enough it works great in accounting, and not so surprisingly it's a train wreck in finance. The reason is that while accounting is all about which rule to apply, when, and why; finance is more about applying tools to come up with answers. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that my section landed a great finance prof, I think I would dread the class.

Speaking of great professors, I am really amazed at the luck of my section. I spoke a while back about how all of our professors were great except our mediocre marketing prof. She has really rallied and is now considered one of our favorites, and so we are in the enviable position of having 5 professors that we really enjoy and really learn from. I don't think many other sections are in the same boat.

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