The classroom experience at HBS is different from what many students are accustomed to at their home school. All HBS courses primarily use the case method of instruction. The cases describe actual management situations in a variety of companies and organizations. You must analyze the situation and be prepared to recommend a course of action and defend it in class discussion.

In contrast to lecture courses, you cannot benefit from attending the class without having prepared the assignment. You cannot read the case, skip the class, and expect to learn. Class participation is an important factor in your grade. Thorough daily preparation, regular attendance, and class participation are all essential for taking a course at HBS.

Tips for Succeeding in the HBS Classroom

Please plan to attend our HBS Classroom and Case Method Workshop to learn about the case method. The Spring 2024 session will take place on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 from 3:30-4:30pm in Hawes Hall 202, or may be accessed remotely here.

General Tips:

  1. Advance preparation is essential. Read the case in advance, answer the assignment questions, and show up ready to participate.
  2. Participation is spread out among all students each week to allow everyone to have a chance to speak equitably over the course of the term. Do not worry about speaking every day. It is better to listen to the varying thoughts and ideas as much as possible than to try to say something in every class. Speaking every 2-3 classes is the norm.
  3. Attendance is required at every class session. If you will miss class you must submit your absence using the HBS absence notification tool.
  4. Do not raise your hand if someone else is speaking as it draws attention away from the speaker.
  5. Arrive to class on time and plan to stay through to the end until class has finished.

If you are unfamiliar with the case method, please take some time to watch Inside the HBS Case Method.

View Video

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