Case Research and Writing Group

Established in November 1999, the Case Research and Writing Group (CRG) grew out of the School’s commitment to increase the diversity, impact, and visibility of its international and domestic research efforts. CRG research associates and senior researchers support HBS faculty members in the development of their cases and other course materials such as case supplements, abridgements, background notes, teaching notes, and multimedia products. In addition, the CRG supports other HBS departments and the Global Initiative as requested, and provides RA training services. The CRG is part of the Division of Research and Faculty Development (DRFD).


Since the team’s beginning, CRG RAs have contributed to over 1,500 projects that examine company performance, economic trends and business topics in the U.S. and 75 other countries. In fiscal year 2011, the CRG assisted with 97 cases, 49 case revisions, 59 teaching and discussion notes, 25 case supplements and 29 associated projects (books, working papers, multimedia). Sixty five percent of the cases CRG is involved with are field cases (written from primary sources in collaboration with public and private organizations). The rest are written from published sources. Nearly two-thirds of these cases were developed for the MBA program, with executive education and special program cases accounting for the balance. The CRG works with faculty across all academic units represented at HBS. CRG clients include approximately 75% of the 2011-2012 academic year faculty members.

Overview of Team

The CRG team currently has 13 members. While all CRG RAs are generalists, covering all HBS intellectual disciplines, they come from diverse industry backgrounds. Prior to joining the CRG, RAs have had successful careers in finance, engineering, education, international development, academia, consulting, politics, journalism, green real estate and policy. CRG RAs have a combined 62 years of case writing experience, some of it at other academic institutions. Members of the CRG hold diverse academic credentials. Three RAs hold MBAs, five hold MAs (Liberal Studies, History, Government, Law & Diplomacy), one a JD, one an MPP and one a PhD. Undergraduate concentrations include history, art history, public policy, political science, electrical engineering, government, finance and East-Asian studies. Additionally, members of the CRG are fluent in French, German, Spanish, Norwegian, and Chinese and have considerable experience living and working overseas. The professional and academic background of CRG RAs allows us to take on diverse projects both internationally and domestically. Carin Knoop is the Executive Director of the CRG.

Working at the CRG

Working as an RA at the CRG is a unique and challenging position. CRG RAs primarily write cases based on field interviews and published sources, but also write background/industry notes, teaching notes and contribute to many other types of course material. In contrast to most other HBS RAs who are dedicated to one or a group of faculty members, CRG RAs are paired with faculty members on an individual project basis, and typically work with numerous HBS faculty supporting the diverse intellectual disciplines at HBS. More information about working at HBS and the RA experience is available.

While challenging, the opportunity to contribute to the intellectual capital of HBS is greatly rewarding. Additionally, RA’s are encouraged to take part in the broad range of activities at HBS and the greater Harvard community; and are regularly given the chance to travel as a part their case writing responsibilities. RAs with the CRG have the following qualities:

  • Ability to develop and write HBS cases (with faculty guidance), on a variety of business subjects, usually in print, though sometimes in media such as web-based video. Cases are written using data, field interviews and library research. In addition to writing text RAs also produce charts, graphs, and tables as appropriate.
  • Strong writing and academic research skills, as well as excellent analytical, communications, and interviewing skills.
  • Understanding of current management and business issues.
  • Flexible, adaptable, and able to multitask, focus, and write, quickly and effectively.
  • Desire to work collaboratively and independently at the highest level of academic rigor while establishing strong working relationships and taking direction from one or more project leaders.
  • Comfortable in both academic and business settings, and with interviewing top corporate executives.
  • Proven business writing and case writing experience.
  • Language fluency, regional familiarity or sector expertise.
  • Knowledge of HBS structure, systems, and processes.