The Case Centre’s bestselling authors

Marika Taishoff

Marika Taishoff
International University of Monaco

"First and foremost, one should NOT start by writing the case, but by drafting the teaching note. I have found that this is the best way to articulate and structure the key learning points that you want students to come away with."

My success with case writing is due to patience combined with a love of writing and of teaching. Also, I was very lucky when I began writing cases, to have worked with excellent and experienced case writers such as Sandra Vandermerwe at IMD, Lausanne.

Essentials for success

First and foremost, one should NOT start by writing the case, but by drafting the teaching note. I have found that this is the best way to articulate and structure the key learning points that you want students to come away with. It also facilitates the case writing process because the writer becomes very clear about the main messages and arguments that need to be developed in the case. Secondly, the case needs to be written in such a way that readers are presented with several possible and even equally valid alternatives to resolve the issues that underlie the case.

This can sometimes be difficult for academics whose training and research activities pre-programme them, so to speak, to make the ‘right point’, backed up by thorough research. But in a good case study, it is up to the reader to ask the right questions, identify the right arguments, and ultimately make his or her own judgment call. The case writer needs to embed into the case enough elements to allow the reader to follow this process and come to his or her conclusion. This is in stark contrast to what is required in a research-based academic article.

Finally, the case study should be engaging. Today, there is much talk in management literature about the importance of storytelling as a means to effectively motivate people and implement strategies. Well, storytelling should also be at the heart of writing case studies. They should not simply be a compendium of facts and data and sundry information, some relevant, some not. Instead, they should engage readers on several levels.

Favourite cases

One of my favourite cases is SKF Bearings: Market Orientation Through Services. It was one of the first I co-authored, and despite being more than 20 years old, I have found that it is still relevant to today's managers.

I also like Tom Ford, Gucci, and the Transformation of Luxury Branding. Thanks to researching and writing this case, I learned a great deal about the unique dynamics of managing in the luxury sector. As luxury management is one of the career tracks in the Monaco MBA, where I am the programme director, it was a good investment in developing my own knowledge base.

Most admired

My favourite case by other writers is Napoleon Bonaparte: Victim of an Inferior Strategy, because it reminds us all that no matter how good the strategy and the structure in an organisation, success or failure ultimately comes down to that ever complex human factor.  

View cases written by Marika

About the author

Dr Marika Taishoff is Director of the Monaco Fulltime MBA and of the Online EMBA at the International University of Monaco, where she is also a Professor and teaches marketing, services marketing, luxury management, and global strategy. She was previously at IMD Lausanne, Switzerland; Bocconi in Milan, Italy; and Imperial College Business School in London.

Marika has many years’ experience consulting and lecturing across Europe, Turkey, Singapore and Russia. Her areas of expertise include marketing, strategy, customer relations, entrepreneurship, luxury, and services management. She has taught widely on MBA and executive MBA programmes, and on in-company programmes.

Marika has written numerous in-depth case studies on best practice in the field, many of which have won international awards, including from the European Foundation for Management Development, and The Case Centre.

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