October 17, 2007

Sleep Deprivation and How it Wrecks the Case Method

The Asian Institute of Management is known to utilize the Case Method pioneered by the Harvard Business School. Here's a snippet of how HBS describes this method:

The case method creates a classroom in which students succeed not by simply absorbing facts and theories, but also by exercising the skills of leadership and teamwork in the face of real problems.
Sounds exciting, huh? Here's a Harvard article that elaborates more on the Case Method.

The AIM version of the Case Method is very dynamic and very different from the traditional learning frameworks I've gone through. However, I've come to the realization that the foil to the Case Method is sleep deprivation, en masse.

It happened a two days ago in our Economics class. We had our dreaded Marketing Management (MM) market research project presentation that day and the whole MBA first years were working practically till 5 to 6 o'clock in the morning to finalize and perfect the presentations. The presentations were scheduled between 9:30am and 12:30pm and our Economics class under Prof. Patt Lontoc was scheduled at 2:30pm. So you could just imagine the sleep and rest time most of us had.

So when it came to the class itself, 40% of our class were absent and the people who showed up (myself included) acted as if everyone had a lobotomy. Prof. Patt was doing her darned best to keep things interesting and flowing, but our class was shooting blanks. The vaunted dynamism of the Case Method was clearly left out of the room.

It was clear that the lack of rest time and sleep affected other classes and I think Big projects like the one for MM should have a designated day solely for presenting. Make no mistake, I like the case method. But I think our class scheduling needs work.