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CASE WRITING SKILLS


AND FRAMEWORKS
Raghav Overview
Pokharel
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Learning Objectives

Course Overview

Administration
What is a business case?
A business case is a detailed account of
a real-life business situation, describing
the dilemma of the "protagonist"a real
person with a real job who is confronted
with a real problem.
What is a business case?
The resulting case presents the story
exactly as the protagonist saw it,
including ambiguous evidence, shifting
variables, imperfect knowledge, no
obvious right answers, and a ticking
clock that impatiently demands action
Cases are narratives, situations, select
data samplings, or statements that
present unresolved or provocative
issues, situations, or questions.
Why Case Method?
Case method is a powerful student-
centered teaching strategy that can
impart students with critical thinking,
communication, and interpersonal skills.
The art of managing uncertainty"a
process in which the instructor serves as
"planner, host, moderator, devil's
advocate, fellow-student, and judge," all
in search of solutions to real-world
problems and challenges.

Chris Christensen
10 sets of questions that can better prepare you for the writing:

1. How does the case fit into my teaching?


2. What are my teaching objectives?
3. What key discussion questions do I want
to bring into the classroom?
4. Who will my audience be? How difficult
should my case be?
5. How fresh is my case topic? Do similar
cases already exist?
Waste Venture
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Waste venture, a British company is


considering making investing in Solid
Waste Management in Nepal. From the
preliminary investigation they
conducted, the following alternatives
were identified:
Investment Compost Organic
Machine Rs. 30,000 Rs. 50,000/year
in land
Operations Rs. 3,00,000 Rs. 2,40,000

Should we invest?
Questioning
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How can we increase our


profits?
Learning to Think Business
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Get to the so what? ideas in a case


(i.e. Profitability is down because
revenues have declined but so what?)
Understanding the interrelations of
players
Key Business Concepts
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Profitability
Revenues
Costs
Industry attractiveness / Market issues
Total size of the market in dollars
Number of competitors
Minimum Efficient Scale
Market conditions (shrinking/growing/stagnant)
and associated implications

Dr. Paul N. Friga


Key Business Concepts
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Mergers and acquisitions


Financials of the deal
Will it be profitable?
Product-line synergies
Market reaction
Culture issues
Marketing Pricing Placement
(distribution channels) Product
Promotion
Dr. Paul N. Friga
Key Business Concepts
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Product introduction
Potential market for product
Do consumers want it?
Overall profitability of the product
Cost to introduce product
Expected revenues
Competitor reaction
Can they copy it?
Do they already have competing products?
Does the new product fit your company and current product
line?
Does it make sense for your company to introduce the
product?

Dr. Paul N. Friga


Key Business Concepts
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Other concepts that show deeper business insights


Labor issues Implications of unionized labor and
compensation (salary, benefits, etc.)
Long-term contracts
Revenue streams
Costs Fixed vs. Variable Direct vs. Indirect
Supply and demand issues and their effects on
pricing
Culture and morale issues
Operational issues
Case Preparation
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Break case problems into distinct


segments to create a structured
roadmap
Use trees to set up analyses
The case question serves as the root and
the problem components serve as the
branches
CaseProblem
question
#1
Be sure that your problem
components are MECE
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Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive


Being MECE means separating your problem
into distinct, non-overlapping issues while
making sure that no issues relevant to your
problem have been overlooked.
Mutually exclusive: No overlaps are
present between issues to be investigated
Collectively exhaustive: All potential high-
level issue areas have been covered by the
first-level branches of the tree
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Dr. Paul N. Friga


The standard components of a
case
Opening
Industry and organization background
Case story
Closing
Opening and background
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In 2016, Nestl India Limited (NIL) , launched


nearly 35 products within a span of just six months,
probably the maximum number of launches in a
single window for the company. From 2015 onward,
the companys top management had been focusing
on reconstructing the Swiss companys Indian unit
by expanding the companys portfolio. This was
being done primarily to reduce the companys
dependence on Maggi Noodles post the fiasco in
2015, when Maggi was banned in several states of
the country, after it was found that the noodles had
lead content beyond the permissible limit.

Dr. Paul N. Friga


Before proceeding
Learn the ins and outs of the company
History
Locations
Business areas of specialty
Reputation (i.e. what the firm is known for)
Company culture
Research the firms competitors to find
points of differentiation
General probes
Why?
Could you say a little more about that?
Could you walk us through your logic/thought
process?
What leads you to that conclusion?
How did you come up with that number/estimate?
Do we have any evidence to support that?
How did you interpret that
exhibit/quote/data/information?
Why is that important?
What are the implications?
Detailed Description of the
Business Need
A detailed description of the business
opportunity is composed of the following
five core elements:
Problem/opportunity statement
Prioritized requirements (high level)
Assumptions
Constraints
Dependencies
Priorities
Core: Must have requirements
Desirable: Consider on a cost-benefit
basis requirements
Optional: Might accept if exceptionally
low in cost requirements
Structure based method
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Problem-solving process begins not with


facts but with structure.
Structure can refer to particular problem-
solving frameworks or more generally to
defining the boundaries of a problem
and then breaking it down into its
component elements.
A framework helps you prioritize your
options.
The First Four Steps
Summarize the question
Verify the objectives
Ask clarifying questions
Lay out your structure
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The first question that might pop into


your head upon hearing this is, Where
do your profits come from?
The board answers: From our three core
business units: sales, auxiliary services
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In most cases, a complex problem can


be reduced to a group of smaller,
simpler problems that can be solved
individually.
Exercise:
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Look at your organization. Can you lay


out your sources of profit in a MECE logic
tree? How about the process by which
you generate products or deliver
services?
Level II: Hypothesis
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Use of issue tree


Seven tips for successful
interviews
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Have the interviewees boss set up the


meeting.
Interview in pairs.
Listen, dont lead.
Paraphrase, paraphrase, paraphrase.
Use the indirect approach.
Dont ask for too much.
Adopt the Columbo tactic.
As the interviewer
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Be sensitive to the fears of the


interviewee.
Establish a connection with the
interviewee in order to get those few bits
of information you seek.
Take time to explain the positive impact
the information may make and the
primary objectives of your time together
Treat interviews with utmost respect
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When it comes to the actual interview,


the beginning matters. It sets the tone
for the rest of your time with the
interviewee.
Learn to avoid sensitive issues at the
beginning.
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When team members should know that


their solution will be
Fact-based
Rigidly structured
Hypothesis-driven
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FACTS ARE FRIENDLY


Facts are the bricks with which you will
lay a path to your solution and build
pillars to support it. Dont fear the facts.
Our plan for Day 1...
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Learning Objectives

Course Overview

Administration

Dr. Paul N. Friga


Our plan for Day 1...
37

Learning Objectives

Course Overview

Administration

Dr. Paul N. Friga