| by Jason Warburg

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Yuwei Shi and Sandra Dow
Professors Yuwei Shi and Sandra Dow co-authored a paper advocating for the raw case method of learning that won the Academy of Management’s award for Best Paper in Management Education and Development.

A paper co-authored by Middlebury Institute professors Yuwei Shi and Sandra Dow advocating for the “raw case method of learning” recently won the Academy of Management’s Best Paper in Management Education and Development.

“Raw case studies not only provide rich context to engage students and experts for effective cognitive apprenticeship, but also allow for ample opportunities for scientific and functional learning,” wrote Shi and Dow in the paper, titled “Management Education at the Interface: Raw Data, Real Projects, and On-demand Lectures.” Professor Shi was present to receive the award at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month.

“Over the past few years we have made raw case studies a central feature of the Institute’s distinctive approach to management education, with excellent results,” commented Shi. “Raw cases give students the opportunity to grapple with real-world management issues that are shaping the business and social environment around them in real time. It’s a tremendous learning tool and our students have thrived in the various case competitions they’ve entered.” Indeed, a team of Institute students coached by Professors Dow and Shi won the international Business for a Better World Case Competition in Davos, Switzerland this past January, while another student team took second place in The Economist’s 2016 Which MBA? Case competition.

The Institute’s distinctive pedagogy, which extends across all of its degree programs, focuses on offering students immersive, experiential learning opportunities that allow them to apply concepts from the classroom directly to real-world issues and scenarios, often working with real clients and achieving real and meaningful results.

“My experience with the raw case method highlighted the value of teamwork and collaboration in accomplishing shared goals,” says Ben Grimmig MBA ’17, part of the team that won the Davos case competition earlier this year—an experience Grimmig says taught him a lot. “The case we were given in the Corporate Knights Case Competition didn’t come with a road map; there were countless potential solutions, and even more possible methods to arrive at those solutions. My experience with the case competition helped me feel better equipped to deal with ambiguity and tackle this sort of challenge.”

Citing the “transformative” nature of the student experience working raw cases, Shi and Dow’s paper concludes that “[r]aw case studies are a useful vehicle for professors to build an immersive management landscape, create dramatic arcs to integrate real business functions and disciplines with gripping narratives, and enable students to create and rely on their own evolving insights and wisdoms.”

An abstract of the paper is available online on the Academy of Management website.

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Jason Warburg

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