Kettering University students learn case-study method at Harvard Business School

I learned a lot about Harvard and what a great name Kettering has there.”

Four Kettering University students -- Demetri Blackwood ‘20, Harschal Patel ‘19, Faybiana Walker ‘19 and Daniel Gurizzian ‘20 -- traveled to Harvard University in June 2017 to participate in residential pre-MBA workshops at Harvard Business School (HBS).

Blackwood, Patel and Gurizzian participated in Peek Weekend -- an educational experience designed for college students to increase their knowledge and insight into the MBA degree.

“I learned a lot about Harvard and what a great name Kettering has there,” Blackwood said. “Kettering has a really good name because of the co-op program and how we design leaders. A lot of people were astonished that we had co-op built into our curriculum.”

The three-day program exposed students to Harvard’s case-study method of teaching. The method presents real-life business scenarios to students the night before class and then encourages spirited in-class discussions the following day. The cases were in the fields of leadership, strategy, organizational behavior, finance and accounting.  

Students received the cases at 9 p.m. the night before class.

“It was a whirlwind of a weekend,” Gurizzian said. “We didn’t get much sleep.”

This was the first time all four students were introduced to the case study method.

“I learned that the HBS MBA program has the ability to engage students in a fluid manner,” Patel said. “The case method allows you to express your personal thoughts, while still collectively analyzing the case study with your cohort. This experience truly showed that we can learn the most from each other.”

Kettering students also had the opportunity to learn from and network with current HBS students as well as program alumni. The alumni are currently employed by leading companies such as Apple and Facebook. Networking with alumni expanded the possibilities of the students’ current engineering degrees.

“The program made me reflect on what more I can do,” Walker said. “I need to broaden my horizons. I’m learning engineering skills at Kettering but I need to learn more. I need to expand my knowledge to become a leader in the future.”  

Walker participated in the weeklong Summer Venture and Management program. She studied three cases per day while attending program socials and networking events. As an Industrial Engineering major, Walker thrived when studying operations cases and realized that she needs to enhance her knowledge in finance and accounting.

All four students are now interested in pursuing graduate school after graduating from Kettering. They all specifically expressed interest in attending HBS. However, between now and then, they are focused on bringing what they learned at Harvard back to Kettering in order to maximize their undergraduate experiences.

“I learned how to make decisions with constraint,” Blackwood said. “I’ve learned that you’re not going to have all the information to make the perfect decision. Sometimes you have to make the decision without all the information but you can still do it rationally. Being a leader means you  have to be decisive and know how to make decisions with confidence.”

After the experience at HBS, Gurizzian is planning on pursuing an applied Mathematics minor to go along with his Mechanical Engineering major in order to expand his professional opportunities after Kettering.

Blackwood is excited to challenge himself by participating in campus groups that are outside his comfort zone while Walker has gained confidence with the knowledge that pursuing graduate studies at Harvard is now possible and attainable.

All four students experienced both professional and personal transformations that they feel will remain with them for a long time to come.

“One takeaway from my Peek Weekend experience at Harvard Business School would be to consistently strive to make the people around me better,” Patel said. “I plan to apply this for the duration of my time at Kettering, in my career, and in life moving forward.”