Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Dell operations method to doing Case Studies

As P2 is becoming more and more intense we are all discovering exceptional skills in adapting to time constraints. There is a perpetuated belief that 80% of people tend to keep up with pace in P1, 30% in P2, and 20% in P3 during core courses. It can be true, no doubt about that, as people don't quite realise the treaterous nature of P2 classes. You have your concentration off for 5 mins during class, and must endure the rest of it trying to figure out why the Professor is drawing some strange hockey sticks looking curves on the board.

Talking about hockey sticks, and to show how focused I was during Corporate Finance Policy class, star Professor Maenhout held a very insightful class yesterday. He brilliantly demonstrated to awed students how limited liability corporation (the basic model of Capitalism) can be seen as an option to go bankrupt at strike "Debt Value", given by Debt holders to Share holders, in exchange for a Default Premium. That is where the funnily looking hockey sticks and triangles were useful. Anyway, great takeaways for a very interesting class.

P2 and P3 are also notorious for Case studies galore. There is one case per class to prepare for discussion (2.5 classes per day, on average), and many readings behind. In face of adversity, groups have come up with inventive tactics.

- The Dell process management (our group): we meet up for the most part of the case to discuss, then we split up work. We also have this "3 we go" policy, whereby 3 people is enough to get the case going.

- The Japanese Imitation and Innovation strategy: people who find past year cases and reformat it (not our group!).

- the Airbus assembly line: people work independently on their parts, and someone assemble.

- the Conglomerate strategy: one person specialising in one course, in the name of the group.

- The Swiss watch artisan method: people who do the case with all group members from start to finish. Very polished, but very long. Ideal in an endless day timeframe.

So far, my group is doing ok.

Next post: How to manage an INSEAD National Week. Lessons learned and shared.

Beaujolais Nouveau Pics, some nice ones. Thanks to the FW!

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