MBA participants take part in a special training course on cracking cases during their summer break.

In the last week of our summer holiday, about one third of us MBA participants are taking part in a special summer training course on cracking cases. I think it is like a delicate dessert of a dinner, making our summer wonderful and meaningful.

“Life as a Case – How do I cope?”

The training course is led by our IMD MBA Alumnus, Arjen Iwema. In the first session, he told us that even though not all of us will become consultants in our future career, it is beneficial to learn how to crack a case because we also need to crack cases in our life.

After Arjen led us through cracking a case together, I realized that whether we could crack a case or not depends heavily on how we analyze the issue. No matter whether it is a business case or a real-life problem, taking a step back is significant before looking for solutions immediately. If we do not think deeply, we may consider some “symptoms” as the real problems that we need to solve, only to find that the issues keep coming out in different formats, leaving the real problem unsolved. So it is worth taking some time to analyze the root cause and “plant” an issue tree. Once issues have been broken down in a systematic way, we are on the right track to solve the problem.

“A black belt is a white belt, who never stopped training.”

In the training course, we formed groups to practice case interviews and receive precious feedback from coaches and peers. What’s more, we had sessions called “Black Belt Presence” focusing on our presentation and communication, based on physical theatre techniques led by Katharina Weithaler.

We all know that non-verbal mannerisms deliver a lot of information even before we speak, but we may even not notice or pay enough attention to our own body language. This is not only important in interviews, but also significant in our daily interaction with others. I appreciate the insightful observation from impromptu presentation practice and role play we had and have listed improvement points for further practice.

We are on the third day of the training and there is a lot more to expect. Just as Katharina said, we are all “white belt” with a beginner’s mind, and with non-stop training, the sweat will make us “black belt” finally.

Let’s keep calm and crack the case!

Lingman Peng

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