The Case Centre’s bestselling authors

Ludo Van der Heyden

Ludo Van der Heyden
INSEAD

"To write a successful case you need an interesting and rich business and case context; multiple issues providing multiple viewpoints for teachers to explore and exploit; and an interesting overall angle."

For a long time I was using Harvard case studies. Being a teacher, I would tend to develop my own case analysis and teaching plan. Then students started to suggest ideas for more recent cases, and that’s how the Marks & Spencer and Zara: Process Competition in the Textile Apparel Industry case study originated. We had a viewpoint – and it appeared that it resonated with the audience; although not so much in the beginning when British participants would regularly comment that I was either too harsh or wrong in my case analysis. Time proved me right, and protests decreased!

Similarly, the Napoleon Bonaparte: Victim of an Inferior Strategy? case study was built on a hunch that there was an interesting story there to exploit. I also felt that there was a Napoleon myth that may have been exaggerated. Finally, we had an interesting angle (fair process leadership), and a case that leaves no one indifferent.

Essential factors for success

To write a successful case you need an interesting and rich business and case context; multiple issues providing multiple viewpoints for teachers to explore and exploit; and an interesting overall angle.

Favourite case

My favourite case among those I’ve written is Marks & Spencer and Zara, because my early analysis proved robust over time.

Most admired

I used to teach operations and there is a Harvard Business School case called American Connector Company that I find terrific. It concerns the competitive fight between an American connector company (leader in the US) facing a potential threat from a Japanese competitor. It is fantastic and allows a great discussion of classical operations strategy.

View cases written by Ludo

 
About the author

Ludo Van der Heyden has been Professor of Technology Management at INSEAD, France, since 1988 and teaches on the MBA, executive, and PhD programmes. He holds the Mubadala Chair in Corporate Governance & Strategy and is the Academic Director of INSEAD's Governance Initiative and Co-Director of the International Directors Programme.

Ludo was awarded the Mercurius Award from the Fedis Association, Belgium, for his work with Professor Arnd Huchzermeier (WHU, Koblenz) on the introduction of the euro. At INSEAD, he has earned several Outstanding MBA Core Teacher Awards, as well as the Outstanding Service Award in Executive Education.

Before joining INSEAD, Ludo was on the faculty of the School of Organisation and Management at Yale University (1980-1988) and of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1978-80). He won The Case Centre’s European Case Award 2003 for his co-written case, Marks & Spencer and Zara: Process Competition in the Textile Apparel Industry.

ludo.van-der-heyden@insead.edu

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