Knowledge and skills development. During our MBA program at ESMT we develop our leadership, analytical and presentation skills, enhance our business knowledge and critical thinking through different activities which include:
Case studies are a widely used method incorporated into all ESMT courses. Cases are real situations taken from business world. They involve a real problem which a CEO or another manager in the company faced.
For example, which marketing strategy to choose or how to finance the company or how to solve the conflicts among different employees in the organization. In order to solve the problem in the case, each of us (I and my classmates) should read and analyze the information related to the problem. The information usually includes some data about the company, its history, the industry where the company operates, its competitors, and any other relevant information.
After initial reading and individual analysis we discuss our views with the whole class during our study sessions. The teacher coordinates and directs our discussion. After a comprehensive analysis of the case, the teacher shows us the real decision (which may not be the best) which the company took at the timeand the result of the decision.
Case studies help us develop our critical thinking by putting us in the shoes of the managers and forcing us to make decisions with limited information. Discussions with our peers help us to see the problem from different perspectives and enhance our views. Usually for each study session we are required to read and analyze not only the cases, but also the relevant theories from study books and other materials. So, case studies are means to apply our knowledge gained through theories.
Business simulations are activities which involve continuous decision making. Usually a special online platform is used, where we (MBAs) are supposed to take a managerial role or a role of a buyer or a seller (depending on a business simulation), and then during several time periods (for example, 12 months) make decisions about our future strategies. The software is designed in a way that after a set of decisions for a period is submitted, we see the results of our decisions on a market. Then, we should analyze the results and make decisions for the next period until the end of the simulation.
During the whole simulation we have certain goals which we try to reach with thorough analysis of the data and reasonable decisions. There can be several goals, for example profit and market share maximization, customer satisfaction, sales maximization etc. Some business simulations involve group decision making, when we as a team (4 or 5 people) were acting as the management of the company and had to take team decisions for all the different aspects of the company, such as marketing, production, finance, human resources and administration. Those business simulations help us not only to develop our decision making and critical thinking, but also the ability to work in a team and to manage our interpersonal relations and also the management of the company within time constraints.
This two part series will be continued two weeks from today in my next article which discusses other ways MBAs develop their knowledge and skills!
About Sona Rostomyan
Sona Rostomyan is a full-time MBA student at ESMT who was nominated as one of the Kofi Annan Fellows this year. Prior to joining ESMT as an MBA student, she started her career at one of the most rapidly growing banks in Armenia (Ameriabank CJSC) working first in the customer service department and then in the back office. She has more than 4 years experience in the banking industry (including customer transactions formalization, and account management). She enjoys solving mathematical puzzles, reading books and has a passion for photography.