Winner: Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method

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Debapratim Purkayastha won the Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method award at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2015.
Debapratim Purkayastha

Debapratim Purkayastha Congratulations to Debapratim Purkayastha, Associate Dean, ICFAI Business School (IBS), who is the highly deserving recipient of our coveted Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method Award.

Debapratim was chosen from a strong field of international contenders by The Case Centre’s executive committee. The judges unanimously praised Debapratim’s innovative and forward-looking commitment to transform case teaching and writing, and his inspirational determination to raise standards, initiate change, and encourage continual improvement.

A great honour

Says Debapratim: ‘I consider this a great honour – something I will treasure for a lifetime! Any award or recognition from The Case Centre has always meant a lot to me as I hold The Case Centre and all that it stands for in high esteem. I feel that, as the world’s largest repository of cases and with its various initiatives to promote the case method, The Case Centre is the dominant platform for anything and everything related to the case method. For me, The Case Centre is to cases what Google is to search and Facebook is to social networking.

‘Receiving the Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method Award is really the crowning glory of my teaching career. I am incredibly proud to have joined some of the case method greats as the recipient of this tremendous honour.’ 

Award-winning and bestselling

Debapratim Purkayastha and Adapa Srinivasa Rao

Debapratim, who teaches business strategy at ICFAI Business School (IBS), is an award-winning and bestselling case author and an experienced case method workshop tutor. He has won numerous global case method awards and prizes at events held in Belgium, USA, UK, Portugal, Switzerland and Canada, and is listed among The Case Centre’s bestselling case authors. With his co-author, Adapa Srinivasa Rao, Debapratim won The Case Centre’s Knowledge, Information and Communication Systems Management Award 2014 for his case Digital Marketing at Nike: From Communication to Dialogue.


His pioneering case method work includes the creation of highly original ‘comic book’ cases with Siddharth Ghosh; leading over 40 inspirational case method workshops for research scholars, faculty members, and business executives; and his work as Consulting Editor of Case Folio, a refereed journal dedicated to management cases. Debapratim frequently presents at prestigious international conferences and is often interviewed for leading publications. He is also a regular and welcome contributor to our Case Writing & Teaching Exchange on LinkedIn, generously sharing his time and expertise.

Debapratim has achieved an enormous amount during his 14 years so far in industry and academia, and we can’t wait to see where his dedication and commitment to the case method will take him next.

tw @dpurkayastha

A message to colleagues and students…

I believe that one can be a good teacher without being a good case writer, but it’s not possible to be a good case writer without being a good teacher.

puzzleHowever, I have also found that regularly writing cases can greatly improve classroom teaching. So, I feel that, case teaching and case writing should follow each other as the left foot follows the right. Case writing can be a lonely activity and even hard work, but if you have the passion it’s worth it! There are few joys that can compare to the joy of teaching your own case. And it means you can also have a positive impact in classrooms around the world where your case is taught.

Developing skills

To students, I would like to say that the process of case learning is more important than the results. It’s not just about getting a good grade; it’s about developing the skills you will need in your future career.

Case-based sessions are great fun when you are well prepared; and a big drag when you are not. Prepare the cases, participate wholeheartedly in the classroom keeping an open mind, and then spend some time for introspection after the class; you will be surprised by the results!

Debapratim on the case method
Debapratim Purkayastha

The case method turns the traditional teacher-based approach to learning on its head by enabling students to learn through thinking and trial and error.

It gives students a feel for the complexities of decision-making and allows them to try their hand at solving a whole gamut of problems/challenges that arise in organisations. Within a safe classroom environment, they can develop important skills that help them become ‘industry-ready’.

Preparation for working life

I have watched many students, who were initially overwhelmed by the rigor of the case method, struggle, and then finally start enjoying the learning process. Two or three years into their working lives, many students, who apparently struggled in the classroom, tell me they now fully understand how the case method prepared them for their career.

Ongoing challenges

Many challenges facing the case method are due to what I would call the tyranny of people who do not understand or have inadequate knowledge about it. They try to discredit this wonderful method with ill-informed comments, which at times dishearten the students and even teachers new to case teaching and case writing.

We have also seen, as part of this same flawed thinking, that teachers who write cases are not always accorded the credit and respect due to them.

In praise of longer cases

Some people say that cases should be short as today’s generation don’t have the patience to read a 20-page case. However, I don’t think we give today’s students enough credit.

Consider me ‘old school’, if you will, but I feel that 12-20 page cases offer benefits that cannot be replaced by much shorter cases or even video cases. I also feel that longer cases will continue to remain the standard fare in business schools for some time to come.


multimedia classroom

We should see experiments with other formats, such as video and interactive technology, as an opportunity rather than a threat. As long as the rigor of the case method is not compromised, we have nothing to worry about.

Grow and flourish

I expect the case method to grow and flourish for years to come. There is ever-growing interest among new teachers and a strong and ever-expanding case method community that works hard to support new case teachers and case writers.

I feel that in the next decade or two, the major impetus to the case method will be from business schools in emerging economies such as India.

Thanks from Debapratim…

Many people have played a role in my receiving this award, and I want to acknowledge and thank them for all their efforts.

I want to dedicate this award to my family, especially my parents Anima and Dilip Kumar Purkayastha, and my wife Somali. They have been a pillar of support and strength while I single-mindedly pursued my passion.


Debapratim PurkayasthaI am grateful to the senior management of IBS Hyderabad and the IFHE University for their forward-thinking commitment to the case method and for providing me with an opportunity to be a part of something so grand and exciting.

I must also thank all my team members and co-authors. Without them, this success would not have been possible.