5 minutes with... Narentheren Kaliappen

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In the April Issue of Connect, Narentheren Kaliappen of Universiti Utara Malaysia talks about his passion for writing and teaching with cases, the importance of the educator facilitating the case discussion in the classroom, plus much more.

Narentheren Kaliappen

Narentheren, what is it you like about writing case studies and teaching with the case method?

Bringing real-world scenarios into my classroom is my passion. Delving into the intricacies of each case, from interviewing the protagonist to dissecting the decisions made, adds layers of authenticity. Teaching with our own crafted cases is like holding a treasure trove of knowledge. We're not just bound by what's on paper; we can explore beyond, enriching the class experience. I firmly believe that being a passionate case writer translates into being an effective teacher, infusing vitality into classroom discussions.

How does the case method come alive in the classroom?

Central to the vitality of the case method is the role of the facilitator. A skilled facilitator can weave magic in the classroom, armed with a meticulously prepared teaching note. Cases with a sense of urgency propel students into problem-solving mode, fostering quick thinking and decision-making skills. I prefer cases that challenge students to make tough decisions or tackle complex problems head-on. Inviting the protagonist to the classroom or organising forums adds another layer of richness. In today's world inundated with information, the right case nurtures creativity, analytical competency, curiosity, resilience, and engagement - the essential skills for navigating the complexities of the modern age.

What’s your favourite case, and why?

I fondly remember the late Debapratim Purkayastha, my mentor in case writing. His case on IKEA's International Marketing Strategy in China is a gem for teaching international marketing. My students always light up when we delve into it. 

Additionally, easyJet: The Web's Favourite Airline by Nirmalya Kumar and Brian Rogers is another favourite of mine for teaching international strategic management. 

And then there's my own case on Flex Penang: Creating Inclusive Communication for Hearing Impaired Employees, which holds a deeply personal significance. It taught me invaluable lessons about fostering inclusivity and care for people with disabilities within the framework of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The insights gained from interviewing the protagonist continue to inspire me.

If you could be transported into another profession for one week, which would you choose, and why?

Acting has always held a special allure for me. The idea of embodying different characters and experiencing life as a celebrity is tantalising, especially in today's era where fame often intersects with business opportunities.

How do you relax?

Once I'm back from the office, my relaxation routine begins with spending quality time with my family, particularly my two kids. An evening coffee is a non-negotiable part of the routine - it's my ultimate refresher, preparing me for the challenges of the next day.

Do you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?

‘Keep it simple’ is my mantra, both in life and in the classroom. I firmly believe that true mastery lies in simplifying complexities, making concepts accessible to all. It's a principle I strive to embody in every aspect of my teaching.

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About Narentheren

Narentheren Kaliappen
Associate Professor and Director of the Management and Leadership Case Study Centre

Narentheren is an Associate Professor of International Business (AACSB accredited) at the School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). Currently, he heads the Management and Leadership Case Study Centre, known in Malay as Pusat Kajian Kes Pengurusan dan Kepimpinan (PKKPK).

This centre was established in 2010 with the aim of developing Malaysian-based company cases for classroom teaching. To date, they have developed 159 cases, which can be accessed through http://cdr.uum.edu.my/jspui.

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Paddy Day
Paddy Day
Media and Content Developer
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Picture representing 'Search the collection'
Search the collection

Search our full collection of diverse management cases, articles, book chapters and teaching materials from leading authors, schools and publishers worldwide.

Educators and trainers can also access free online preview copies and instructor materials.

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