Classroom discussion is only one setting for Darden’s case method of teaching. We also learn from individual preparation, learning team meetings, and post-class reflection. For me, the majority of ‘technical’ learning takes place during individual preparation. In this post I’ll outline some of my observations on the learning process at Darden. If you are looking for some specific information on how the case method is implemented at Darden, you may want to check out my earlier Case Method post.
The business elements taught at Darden naturally break down into two groups, as follows:
Technical skills – this includes elements such as creating an income statement, performing a discounted cash flow valuation, or analyzing the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Most people first think of the case method in terms of technical skills and wonder how these skills can be effectively taught with class discussion. Generally, most technical learning takes place before class and we use our discussion time to review the material and learn from our mistakes. (see my Case Method post for an example)
Business background - this includes the broad knowledge and the general skills required for effective management. Examples include teamwork skills, industry knowledge, communication skills, and concepts like business acumen.
Both of these groups are taught throughout the Darden program. Naturally, some settings are better suited for building specific competencies. Below is my analysis of how Darden students learn these elements:
|Setting||Technical skills||Business background|
|Learning teams & group work||
In addition to learning from the formal curriculum, I have developed my business background through involvement in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities at Darden.