Deval, could you explain what’s meant by “case studies” in the context of business education?
Business case studies have been written and used in pedagogy since the 1920s when Harvard Business School pioneered the case method as its principle means of teaching MBA programs. Case studies capture the specific challenges facing real-world business organizations at a moment in time, offering an in-depth analysis of each context to shed light on often complex, always highly relevant issues. As a learning tool, case studies offer deeper, multi-faceted understanding of diverse organizations, business problems, their different settings and dynamics at play.
The new HEC Paris in Qatar Business Case Center will focus on real-world cases in Qatar and the GCC region. Why are you opening the center now?
There has been rapid growth and development in business in this region over the last 50 years or so, much of it undocumented. As businesses and innovation flourish and expand here, drawing in international talent from all over the world, new ideas, practices and solutions are emerging with strong educational potential for HEC Paris program participants – but also highly valuable learning and insights for the many other stakeholders in our ecosystem, from governments and policy-makers to business partners and investors, as well as the international academic community. We are in a privileged position to document the real-world business stories in the Gulf and shed compelling new light and understanding on this region.
When you say that HEC Paris is in a privileged position, what do you mean?
You cannot overstate the importance of being in-situ, and having a truly consolidated presence in this region. With our established campus in Doha and more than a decade at the forefront of international business education in the Middle East, HEC Paris in Qatar has real, lived experience and unique understanding of the kinds of challenges organizations of every type grapple with here. We have access to a rich and diverse ecosystem of companies operating in Qatar and beyond, and our extensive work shoulder-to-shoulder with organizations on custom programs means that we have the knowledge, insights and the expertise to fully capture and document the most relevant and compelling business cases in the GCC region.
What kinds of case studies do you have in the pipeline?
We already have a solid base of published cases studies and we’re looking to ramp up production as we go into 2022 and beyond. Our custom programs are a rich source of primary material and they will continue to be a major focus for us. In this area, we’ll be looking at everything from smaller businesses that have been incubated locally to some of the biggest players in the gas and oil industries. With major events like FIFA on the horizon, we’re also going to be focused on documenting business cases in travel and tourism and airports.
Who authors HEC Paris in Qatar business case studies?
Our case studies are produced by HEC faculty both here in Qatar and on our Paris campus. We have long-established research lines and foci that delve into the most relevant and compelling areas of business – areas that are constantly prone to change and disruption. Among these are leadership and strategy, diversification, purpose, entrepreneurship and family businesses, which occupy their own particular role within the Qatari economy. Our business case studies are enriched by the lens of specialized faculty expertise, while reflecting the real-world specificities of each organization and context.
You say that HEC Paris in Qatar business case studies help learners as a teaching mechanism, but are also useful tools for academics, businesses, investors and governments. Do you see the new Case Center helping to drive growth and accelerate Qatar’s transition to a knowledge-based economy?
I think that initiatives like the HEC Paris in Qatar Business Case Center are uniquely positioned to put this region on the global map, so to speak. Ours is not the only institution in the Gulf that is producing real-world cases, but the space we occupy in the business and learning community here means we have access not only to valuable primary material from within the business, but also to leaders and decision-makers at the very highest echelons of many of the most influential and game-changing organizations in our region. We are able to showcase some of the most important business cases in Qatar and beyond and bring the learnings and the insights to governments, investors, organizations and academic institutions all over the world – helping us to build and extend the presence, reputation and influence of Qatar as a knowledge-based economy and innovation hub on the global stage. And that is a very privileged position to occupy.