One of the most important skills MBA students will learn is how to think strategically and make smart business decisions. And one tool that business schools use to train MBA students in these skills is case studies or case analysis.
Case studies outline real-life business situations wherein business executives are faced with difficult decisions or situations.
For example, what if a business has a software product scheduled to launch in one month, but the product still has a lot of bugs. Should the company launch the product on schedule? Or should they delay the launch at the risk of disappointing shareholders or allowing a competitor to launch a similar product first and eat up market share?
Case studies like these allow students to improve strategic thinking skills, hone analytical abilities and develop persuasive speaking expertise.
Want to rock your next case study? Here’s how to write a case analysis in a few simple steps.
Analyzing The Case Study
Before you prepare your case study write-up, you need to analyze the case study and come up with possible solutions.
Read the case study carefully and take notes
Start by reading the case study and pay attention to important details. Take notes on any key problems that the business needs to address and highlight important facts that may be useful later.
Analyze the situation
Next, analyze the business situation and identify the key problems that the organization is facing.
What are the factors causing problems for the organization? How will these problems affect the organization and its people?
Create a detailed analysis of the problem so that you know exactly what issues to address with your solution.
Brainstorm and research possible case study solutions
Once you’ve completed your analysis, brainstorm and research possible solutions. List out every possible solution you can think of as well as the pros and cons of each solution.
During the brainstorming phase, feel free to think outside the box. All ideas are fair game at this point.
Do some research to find outside data, studies, and ideas to back up each solution.
Choose the best solution
Finally, select the best solution to the business’s problem. Think about questions other people might ask or objections they may have to your solution. Prepare analysis and intelligent counter-arguments so that you can make a strong case for the solution that you’ve chosen.
Writing Your Case Analysis
Now that you’ve selected a solution, here’s how to write a case study analysis. The format that you use may depend on your school’s requirements, but here’s a general format that you can follow if guidelines aren’t provided.
In the introduction section of your case study, list out the core problems uncovered in your analysis. The introduction can include a thesis statement that summarizes your analysis in a sentence or two.
Background and analysis
Write a section to delve deeper into the company’s background and your analysis of the situation. List all important facts and data as well as any other information that a reader will need to fully understand the situation.
A well-written background section should show the reader that you’ve done thorough research on the topic.
Brainstorm possible solutions
In the next section, share all the possible solutions that you brainstormed and list the pros and cons of each solution. Use detailed analysis and show any data that supports each solution.
Discuss the strong and weak points of each solution. Use reasoning and analysis to outline why certain solutions might be better than others.
Select the best solution
Make a recommendation to solve the company’s problem and talk about why you selected this solution over the other possible solutions. Go into detail about why you rejected the other solutions.
Think about how other people might object to your solution and preemptively prepare arguments against those objections. Make your solution seem like the best way to solve the problem by providing an analysis and data to back up your claims.
If you have additional recommendations or suggestions beyond your proposed solution, list them in a recommendations section. Think about actions that other people in the organization can take to resolve the issue and discuss resources required and possible timelines.
Bonus Step: Review and Get feedback
As a bonus step, review your case study solution and try to get feedback on your solution from outside parties. Other business students who aren’t involved with your case study, personal friends and even forums could be good places to gather unbiased feedback.
Other people may come up with ideas or objections that you haven’t thought of yet. Having other people analyze your solution can be a great way to improve your position or even come up with a stronger solution.