Covid-19 case studies make their way into the MBA Curricula


It is spring 2020, Kovid-19 is exploding worldwide, and you are leading the pharmaceutical company seen behind rivals in making a vaccine. Should you accept the government money, and the wire attached to it, to try to get hold of?

Such scenes are already being studied by first-year MBA students at Harvard University and other business schools across the country. The purpose of the course is to analyze management decisions – good and bad – made during the epidemic and given the benefit of the vision of what lessons can be taught.

“My aspiration was to see them as future leaders, a way of assessing these things. How do I ask the right questions? How can I make rational decisions? “Harvard Business School professor Willie Shih said of this pharmaceutical case study used in his fall course, which also made students aware of the inner workings of the life sciences industry.

The trail of Princess Cruz, whose Diamond Princess ship was anchored in Japan early last year, was the subject of a case study.


Photo:

Eugene Hoshiko / Associated Press

His technology and operations-management classes — taught online and in-person at the school’s Boston campus — considered how the company could overcome the costs of clinical trials and Operation Tana Speed, a US government coronav vaccine program. Accepting funding can start manufacturing. . But MBA candidates also had to weigh whether the company wanted to meet the requirements associated with such funding, including allowing the government to control how the vaccine was priced.

After more than an hour of debate, most of the students agreed that the drugmaker should pay government money, Mr. Shih said. Many advocated sticking to the company’s personal growth, saying it is better for the long-term health of its vaccine business to not rely on government support.

The case study was based on a real-life example of Merck & Company. The drugmaker did not accept funding from Operation Tana Speed ​​to develop the vaccine, but received $ 38 million in May from a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. With development. Merck began testing its first vaccine in humans in September and said it expected to produce a single-dose shot.

Professor Willie Shih of Harvard Business School used a pharmaceutical case study in his curriculum.


Photo:

Kent dayton

As preparations for the spring semester get underway, professors from top programs have written new case studies. Fresh HBS cases involve deep dives such as companies such as Zoom Video Communications Inc.

And airbnb Inc.

During the Kovid era increasingly shifted its marketing strategies to appeal to consumers, as well as managing a crisis and staying mentally healthy featuring Princess Cruise Lines and Holland America Group, Jan Swartz Told.

Pennsylvania University’s Wharton School added a new online class for the coming semester for all its MBAs and Executive MBAs, called “Leadership in Challenging Times”. Each week will hear from guest speakers, including the CEO of Johnson & Johnson,

Anheuser-Busch InBev,

Vail Resorts Inc.

And progressive Corp.

But how he navigated through 2020, said Michael Yousem, a professor of management at Wharton.

William Lauder, executive chairman of Estée Lauder Cos. The course co-teachers with Mr. Yousem and another professor. “How we think and make sure we are making the right decisions to sustain the organization in the future” is the core of the curriculum, he said. “How do you think about these challenges and what comes to the right solution when there is no right answer?”

Catherine Harrigan, a strategy professor at Columbia Business School, has written a new case study on Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest pork producer in America, asking students hypothetically whether the food giant needs to sell its meatpack plants, an industry Should automate more investment in technology. It employs thousands of workers across North America, one percent of whom became ill with Kovid-19 last year.

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“There was a heated debate in the classroom over whether Kovid was the right inspiration to modernize a factory,” he said.

Students discussed the downsides of factory automation – job losses and the additional costs that come with it, such as the high-pay technicians required to repair the robot – to implement new technology with time and cost. Is when they break up. The beauty of such a current case, Ms. Harrigan said, is that there is no concrete answer yet.

“The government will not let them close the plant. The labor union wants protection for the workers, ”Ms. Harrigan said that what Smithfield can do is provide a fair amount of help to its most vulnerable workers. “We are still working through it in real time.”

Keira Lambardo, the company’s chief administrative officer, said Smithfield has invested more than $ 700 million in protective measures for its employees, including on-site Kovid-19 prescreening, air purification systems, physical barriers at work stations and employee safety. Tools are included. Smithfield has already invested millions of dollars in robotics and other processes to automate production at its facilities; Efforts are continuing, the company said.

Write Patrick Thomas Patrick

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