March 5, 2012
Business schools still teach traditional cases, but students are introducing timelier conversations.
Eastman Kodak Co., the imaging and photography company that filed for bankruptcy in January, has been posing for close-ups at business schools across the country, where professors and students are eulogizing Kodak and trying to figure out what went wrong.
It's not exactly new for business school courses to examine a case study almost in real time, but the conversations about Kodak and other recent newsmakers—such as Facebook and Groupon—are taking on new intensity and tend to be increasingly driven by students, business school professors and students say.
Mark Zupan, dean of the University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business, has been observing fewer "totally canned or prepackaged cases" and more classroom discussions about current events. ...
At the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, Andrea Kullhem, an M.B.A. student and president of the Marketing Club, has also noticed current events surfacing frequently in her classes. The recent bankruptcy of AMR Corp., which owns American Airlines, and JC Penny's new corporate pricing strategy are two subjects that have come up in class recently, Kullhem says.
"Current events are a way to enhance our discussion, as well as build our knowledge base with current business practices; not to mention that potential employers expect for us to be up to date on current events," she says. ...