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The Case Centre turns 25 in North America

Babson campus25 years ago the inaugural Board Meeting of the ECCH at Babson Ltd (now The Case Centre) in Wellesley, Massachusetts, marked the official launch of the organisation’s US office.

The office, based at Babson College near Boston, was set-up to distribute paper copies of cases to customers across North America.

The decision to open an office in the US arose from an increase in demand, which was confirmed by a study by Darden School of Business MBA students, who looked at the market potential for European cases in the US.

The students contacted Jean Pierre-Jeannet, a senior Professor at Babson College and a visiting professor at IMD. Excited by the potential of the project, he immediately pushed for a US distribution base.

Beginning of an era

By 1992, the project was up and running. Orders for cases were being processed in March and by May locally recruited staff were running the office.

Within the first 12 months the office had already proved a big success. The customer list doubled and sales were up six-fold compared to when they were sourced from Cranfield.

Tricia HaskellAs The Case Centre moved towards digital distribution over the subsequent 25 years, the US operation – overseen by General Manager Eric Aldrich and Customer Services Officer Tricia Haskell (pictured) – evolved accordingly and flourished.

Eric said: “With the digital transition, Tricia and myself have been able to focus on raising awareness of The Case Centre, its educational non-profit mission, and how it can assist faculty in developing both their teaching and writing skills, as well as sourcing impactful cases for their classroom.”

The perfect match

The Case Centre and North America has always seemed a natural fit, as it was at Harvard University where the case method was founded nearly 100 years ago. As The Case Centre’s US office has progressed, cases have too.

Eric AldrichEric (pictured) added: “When I started with the company cases were much longer and in a sense homogenous with similar protagonists and style.

“It’s an exciting time for the case method since people are realising there is no one way to write or teach a case.  There is a new, rich diversity; a case can be one page, a cartoon, a video, or multimedia. Cases now also have varied protagonists and fully recognise gender, orientation, race, and cultures.”

He continued: “Some cases certainly stand the test of time but more and more students are pushing faculty to update their course materials. New cases are being added to our collection all the time and they’re about companies that students have a personal relationship with. I’m really pleased that The Case Centre’s collection has never stagnated and that I can say to a professor “Yes, we do have cases about Uber and Instagram.”

Celebrating 25 years in style

US 25th anniversary meal

To mark the 25th anniversary at the end of April (Friday 28), a celebratory dinner was held in Boston, which was attended by Richard McCracken, The Case Centre Director, Sam Hariharan, Chair of the US Board, and their colleagues from the US and UK boards and offices.

In addition, Kamran Kashani, case workshop tutor and Professor of Marketing and Global Strategy at IMD, held a case writing workshop for Babson College faculty that same day.

Speaking at the dinner, Sam added: “I’ve been passionate about writing and teaching cases for a long time, so I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a community that believes in the case method so extensively.

“The Case Centre is always looking to broaden its horizons, and currently we’re looking at new types of case materials such as multimedia.”

Looking to the future

The US office – and the organisation as a whole – has certainly witnessed a tremendous amount of expansion and change over the past quarter of a century.

But just like when The Case Centre headed to North America in 1992, the demand is as high as ever for the case method.

Eric concluded: “The sky’s the limit! I hope that more people engage with the case method. I’m very optimistic about that since we’re now seeing high schools starting to use our cases too.”
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If you have recently registered a case with us and would like the chance to talk about your experience of writing and teaching it please contact Antoinette.
Antoinette Mills Antoinette Mills
Media and Systems Development Manager
+44 (0)1234 756416