A distinctive element of the Darden Experience is the case method of instruction, which brings the complexities of business to life. Through a combination of individual preparation, learning team meetings, classroom discussions and reflection, students are challenged to debate and learn from all perspectives, generate fresh ideas and solve problems.
Under the skillful direction of a faculty member, students strengthen their communication, business and leadership skills by learning to make difficult decisions with limited information and significant uncertainty.
In many ways, the case method is like a mosaic, with each case study building on the next. Each case on marketing, strategy, operations and finance informs the next, and a large and well-informed picture of business ultimately emerges.
Four-Step Learning Process
Darden’s learning approach is based on our four-step learning process, which allows for complete understanding, integration and application of the materials.
- Read and consider each case on your own. You identify problems, define alternatives, analyze data, make decisions and outline a course of action.
- Share your ideas with your learning team — a group of five or six of your peer managers with whom you’ll study prior to class.
- Discuss the case during an online class meeting or in a class during one of the international residencies. In both settings, you explore input from everyone in your class.
- Reflect on how your initial ideas changed as a result of the input from your learning team, class and professors. And, based on the opportunities you find, apply these concepts at work.
Case Method Videos
Student Perspective on the Case Method
Tahmina Nurova, an international banking and finance expert and GEMBA student, discusses how Darden's case method is an effective approach to master new business methods and techniques:
Benefits of the Case Method
Professor S. Venkataraman talks about the benefits of using the case method in the Global MBA for Executives program.
How Darden Teaches Quantitative Skills Through the Case Method
Professor Robert Harris discusses how Darden's executive-format MBA programs teach quantitative skills through the case method:
Professor Ken Eades talks about why the Darden School sees the case method as the best way to learn: