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Five minutes with Michael Netzley

Michael Netzley is Affiliated Faculty with the Institute for Management Development (IMD).

What skills do you think the case method particularly develops in students?

I think the answer really depends on the age group. For your typical MBA I believe the case method is great for helping people differentiate between important versus essential information. 

For executives, I think case discussions can be especially effective for helping professionals discover and experience the value of new tools or approaches. Peer discussions and networking after an executive course can reinforce the experience and help foster the necessary confidence to implement a new idea back at the office.

teaching technology You have been using technology in your case teaching for many years, what are the opportunities it provides?

For years I have used technology to engage business people in real time while students are completing a live case*. But one example is my design thinking course where, with the click of a button, we can invite ten people from around the world to review prototypes online, hear presentations, give feedback, and interact with the teams. 

What impact do you think the Coronavirus outbreak will have on the online case teaching landscape going forwards?

Tough question because the current context is both push and pull. The response to COVID-19 has pushed us online, required us to learn new approaches and innovate, and think about business continuity. This has been an exciting opportunity to innovate. Yet I cannot overlook the massive investment institutions have made into classrooms/space, the pursuit of research rankings, and organisational inertia. I am already seeing institutions jump at the chance to return to pre-COVID practices and simply ignore what we have accomplished these past few months (i.e. pulling us back).  I honestly do not know how this tug of war will play out on a broader scale.

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

I would move into applied neuroscience and spend my time helping the ageing population or people suffering from PTSD or depression. The advances in neuroscience are so eye-opening and exciting that I would relish the opportunity to bring these insights to those who could most benefit.

How do you relax?

Being the father of five kids one might say that I never relax but am always happy. But when I do get the opportunity to slip away, a nice 10km run with music or listening to an audio book would be top of the list.

Do you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?

Without hesitation I would have to credit Louis “By” Barnes previously at Harvard Business School who first taught me the case method. By said, “The way we teach is what we teach.” Those words forever changed my approach.

*See our feature about Michael’s use of technology with his Twittamentary case.

About Michael

Michael Netzley is Affiliated Faculty with the Institute for Management Development (IMD), and an entrepreneur based in Singapore.

Previously Michael was on the faculty of Singapore Management University for 15 years where he served as Academic Director of Executive Development and played a leading role in creating the university’s teaching excellence initiative. Michael’s case on Simpliflying won the 2015 EFMD Case Writing Competition entrepreneurship category, and he received the 2011 Champions Award from CEEMAN for innovative course design and delivery. Michael has lived in Asia for the past 18 years.

In July 2020 Michael led a free webinar for The Case Centre, Making Online Case Teaching Interactive: Digital Workspaces for Whiteboards and Breakouts. You can watch a recording of the webinar below.

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