The Case Centre’s bestselling authors

Michael J. Roberts

Michael J. Roberts (retired)
Harvard Business School

"The challenge – and pleasure – of case writing is moving between two levels of analysis: the story in the case and the more general principles it is designed to illustrate."

A famous poem by William Blake includes the line: ‘To see a world in a grain of sand…’

In my experience, a good case is that world in a grain of sand. To accurately capture that world in the confines of a case, the writer must have a very good idea of what the larger world looks like, so he or she knows which pieces of the story need to be captured, preserved and communicated to the reader.

Students study these ‘grains’ and will extrapolate from these small, simulated experiences to generate a set of principles that they can apply to the world at large. The challenge – and pleasure – of case writing is moving between these two levels of analysis: the story in the case and the more general principles it is designed to illustrate. 

View cases written by Michael

 
About the author

Michael J. Roberts was the James M. Collins Fund Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School before his retirement in 2013. He also served as the Executive Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, and as Executive Director of the School’s case development activities.

Mike has worked in a variety of private sector industries, including McKinsey & Co. and Morgan Stanley. He received his doctorate, as a Dean’s Fellow, in Business Administration from Harvard Business School in1986 and has written over 100 case studies on starting and managing entrepreneurial companies. He co-authored New Business Ventures and the Entrepreneur with Howard H. Stevenson and H. Irving Grousbeck, a textbook that is used at over 100 graduate business schools.

Mike’s prizewinning cases include:

Walnut Venture Associates (A): RBS Group Investment Memorandum
Johnsonville Sausage Company (A)
Nanogene Technologies, Inc

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