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Keeping it local: Incorporating a local case study in the business curriculum

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this article is to evaluate the inclusion of team case analyses and presentations in undergraduate finance courses that usually focus on analyzing provided financial statement data. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In this paper the authors argue the early use of a local company case can illustrate key course concepts while offering students or participants in an academic or vocational training program a preview of the pedagogical techniques of case analysis. It is also argued that the use of a local company case can be extended to other business courses to improve students' interest and understanding. A survey of student perceptions was conducted at the end of the semester. Findings ‐ Overall, students preferred working on a local company case rather than a textbook case. Most felt the local company case helped them understand the theories and concepts of financial statement analysis from the course and prepared them for future case analysis. The student respondents also perceive a better understanding of the strategic issues facing the industry and of the use of, and interpretation of, financial ratios after completing the case. While the exploratory analysis did indicate student preferences for use of a local company case, further study and analysis is needed to move beyond perceptions of satisfaction to determine the actual improvement in learning of the key course concepts Research limitations/implications ‐ Future research should study the benefit of using a local company case throughout the business degree and study how it allows students to apply principles learned early in their curriculum to strategic analysis and decision making in capstone courses. Research could determine if students will build upon their previous knowledge of the company and business concepts in much the same way as business managers gain business and industry knowledge as they advance through their career. In addition, the benefit of using a local company continuation case through the upper division courses in the business curriculum should be investigated. Originality/value ‐ This article highlights the steps involved in preparing a local company case for classroom use and presents an analysis of student perceptions of satisfaction with a case-enriched course and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the case. The article also discusses ways to create a similar local company case for other business disciplines.

Keywords: Case studies; Curricula; Finance; Undergraduates

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400910810880551

Publication date: May 30, 2008

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