Five minutes with Josep Valor

Josep Valor is professor of Information Systems and Information Technology and holder of the Indra Chair of Digital Strategy at IESE Business School.

Josep, how long have you used the case method and why do you believe it’s such an effective teaching tool?

hospital bedsI like the case method because it provides a safe environment for students to practice their problem-solving skills.

Case-based teaching is used extensively in the medical profession, and for a reason. We do not want medical trainees to experiment with real patients. This is why it is paramount that cases in management focus more on the reasoning process than on the outcome of the case. They are supposed to help students to develop problem-solving skills, not finding concrete solutions.

How has the case method evolved over that time?

I can only talk about my own experience. My first job at IESE was teaching decision analysis and statistics. I started using cases as tools to engage students in a ‘real-life problem’ that could be solved with these techniques. They were simplified versions of the reality in order to help students focus on the problem at hand.

Now, teaching digital transformation, cases are much richer, more complex, and include all of the details necessary to understand the richness of the different situations, and the complexity of the changing competitive environment.

Some ‘cases’, though, are what could be called real-life cases: a list of questions and resources for the students to research and make up their own minds. These cases are less structured and require a lot more effort from the student and the professor, as the instructor has to be abreast with the latest information the students might come up with.

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

If I could be a different professional for a week, assuming that I also ‘inherit’ the adequate training for the experiment, I would like to be an oncologist. I would like to try my luck helping people cope in what is probably, at that moment, the most difficult time of their lives. central park

How do you relax?

Walking in Central Park and watching TV series. It may sound banal but given the amount of money new entrants like Netflix and Amazon are putting in their productions, I think they are becoming a fantastic source of entertainment.

Do you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?

“The difference between goodness of heart and foolishness is the frequency.”

About Josep Valor

Josep Valor is the Indra Chair of Digital Strategy at IESE Business School, currently teaching at the School’s New York Campus. He has been a visiting professor at MIT, where he obtained a PhD in Operations Research and a ScD in Medical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences. 

Josep teaches extensively in MBA and Executive Education programs and has held the posts of Associate Dean for Faculty and Research and Associate Dean for Executive Education at IESE.

Josep has published a number of papers in academic journals and books and is currently interested in the Media and Entertainment industries.

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