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Evaluate your understanding of and ability to use each of the steps in the Note on Case Analysis Construction

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Thoroughly read the case, including the exhibits and footnotes. Identify the general idea of the case and what problems might need to be solved, but do not try to identify solutions.

2. Identify the protagonist. This should be a specific individual or entity in the case with both and interest in and authority to act in a way that can solve the problem. It is important that you view the analysis of the case through their eyes and not your own. Without a lot of experience, this can be difficult but you can try to find a way to empathize by thinking about their role, span of control, or personal motivation. If they are a CEO, for example, they are likely thinking about leadership, corporate strategy, governance, and high-level financial concerns. Likewise, if they are a functional manager they are likely focused on operational efficiency, marketing, financial performance targets, project valuation and interpersonal behavior. When viewed empathetically, the protagonist is never going to self-identify as the problem that needs to be solved, even if they are aware of their contribution to it.

3. Re-read the case, thinking about things from the perspective of the protagonist. Try to identify and subordinate or ignore data and facts that are not relevant to them.

4. Identify the problem the protagonist needs to fix, from their perspective. This problem needs to be actionable as opposed to simply identifying whether something should be done or not. In doing so, write the problem in the form of a single direct question that needs to be answered. For example, “How should Mr. Smith change the purchasing rules to minimize the risk of being captive to a single supplier?” is the direct and actionable question that would come from the problem that Mr. Smith’s company faces risk by buying from single suppliers because they are the lowest cost. If your problem question can be answered with a “yes”, “no”, or a list of things, then you have not identified an actionable problem. You can avoid this by starting your problem with “How will…..” or “How should…..”

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