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Interview with Fatima Hamdulay & Himanshu Vidhani: Joint First Place Winners of the 2016-17 Emerald AABS Case Competition

Publish date:2017-07-17

Image: Dr Edward Mungai, Helen Alexander, Prof Mills Soko & Steve Lodge

Emerald and AABS were delighted to announce the winners of the 2016-2017 Emerald/AABS Case Study Competition during the 12th Connect annual conference. The joint first place winners were Fatima Hamdulay and Himanshu Vidhani of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business for their case study on The Evolution of Thinking at K-Way - Where to Next? Prof Mills Soko (pictured) received the award in their absence.

What were your motivations for participating in this competition?

A combination of factors - our school has done well in the competition over the last few years, so there was added motivation to continue to contribute and do well in the competition. Beyond that, the story of K-Way was compelling at many levels and I felt it a good idea for it to be known more widely.

What did it mean to you to win this competition?

It was a real honour to have participated and been selected as joint winner.  It's not always an easy road to prepare a high quality teaching case and I did push Himanshu a little bit to make sure we had something that was fit for use in class and that we could possibly enter into the competition. The stamp of approval from an independent board of judges was vindication for the hard work.

How will winning this competition help you in the future?

Primarily, it’s a great form of encouragement to continue developing relevant cases.

Many faculty and researchers are not motivated to write cases due to the limited rewards. What motivates you to write cases?

I have been using cases for teaching since the very beginning of my time as an educator. Even as a student I have found them a wonderful vehicle for learning.  In my field of teaching, there is just a dearth of relevant local cases, and students thirst for relevant local content to contrast with the more classic North American and European cases, of which there are many.  I collaborate with my students to write cases, in the first instance, to develop material which I can use on my courses and so improve and enrich the learning outcomes we set for ourselves.

What advice would you give to writers who wish to start writing cases?

I think formal instruction in case writing is a great help and frame within which to work.  In addition, using cases in the classroom will help you understand what makes for a good case from the user's perspective. It also makes writing the teaching note a little easier.

Writing the teaching note is generally a daunting task. How did you find your experience of writing the teaching note?

Himanshu will probably say that he struggled with this part :).  I actually revised it significantly. It was not all that troublesome – I knew why I wanted him to write the case and what I wanted to teach with it, although I have to admit that what I envisaged when we conceived of the project did morph as we learnt more about the K-Way story and Himanshu developed the teaching case. Having clear learning objectives helps with writing the teaching note, as does the experience in using cases, (and therefore looking at other people’s teaching notes and understanding what is useful and what is not), is a big aid in developing a teaching note.

What are your plans for the future?

In the short term, use the K-Way case in class. This is planned for a few weeks time and I am looking forward to it.  I am also actively looking at my curriculum on various courses and looking for opportunities to develop cases that fill the holes with respect to local content. In particular, also looking at industries outside of manufacturing and stretching it to services and the public sector, for which there is a big need.

What one piece of advice would you give somebody who is interested in entering the 2017/2018 competition?

Just do it.  As many times as needed, whilst paying attention to what the requirements are and constantly trying to meet them. I think the process of entering itself helps with any future case endeavours and will help you understand how to develop a good case. To repeat, actually using cases for teaching helps a lot in understanding what the make-up of a good case is and formal instruction in case writing is never a bad idea.

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