A century of MBA case studies: exacting examples from business life

In 1921, Harvard Business School generated its to start with, solitary-webpage mimeographed case analyze for college students (look at below and base), about the sensible dilemmas faced by administrators at the Common Shoe Organization. Intended to prompt class discussions, the case method has since been adopted by universities all-around the world as a main portion of teaching.

Nowadays, Harvard, Ivey Organization School in Canada and The Case Centre are leaders amongst 50 producers and distributors of 1000’s of instances, of which hundreds of thousands of copies are sold on a yearly basis. They are created by a escalating selection of establishments, in formats which includes video clip, describing problems on an ever broader array of issues, geographies and protagonists.

Down below is an abstract of one of Harvard’s most recent circumstances, on the African media organization EbonyLife.


Decision maker: Mosunmola Abudu of EbonyLife Media
Mosunmola Abudu, founder of EbonyLife Media in Nigeria

One unusually tranquil morning in Lagos, Nigeria in December 2020, Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu, founder and main executive of EbonyLife Media and one of Africa’s largest names in the enterprise, introduced her notebook to work on the rooftop patio of EbonyLife Position, the company’s flagship life-style and leisure vacation resort.

Established by Abudu in 2012 with a mission to carry higher-high-quality African stories to the world, EbonyLife was the enterprise powering lots of of Nigeria’s major motion pictures and tv reveals. It started with a linear Television set channel on the Africa-vast direct broadcast satellite support DStv. By 2020, it had made a lot more than 5,000 hours of Television set articles and Nigeria’s prime-a few best grossing videos.

With a motivation for higher handle in excess of generation and following the close of its connection with DStv, EbonyLife launched EbonyLife ON (EL ON), an on-demand from customers streaming service. However, it struggled to develop the quantity of EL ON subscribers.

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Abudu began to feel about regardless of whether she really should keep on battling to expand EL ON. Must EbonyLife concentration as an alternative on co-production specials with international media distributors these types of as Netflix, Sony and AMC? Abudu, who had been in the media organization for virtually 20 years, required to make this important conclusion for EbonyLife.

Her desire in the media and enjoyment field emerged from a wish to suitable destructive stereotypes about Africa. Born in London to Nigerian dad and mom, she grew up in the United kingdom and Nigeria. Drawn to African stories, she needed to handle the fact that there was so much the earth did not know about Africa. “I believe somewhere deeply buried in my unconscious was a require to explain to Africa’s story,” she suggests.

Developing up in the British isles, she routinely encountered misconceptions about Africa and was surprised by how they persisted when she was an adult. “The exact same questions I was becoming questioned in England [40 years ago],” she suggests, “are the same questions my small children were being remaining requested when they went to college in England.” Thoughts like, “Do you fellas reside in trees?”

In July 2020, adhering to its exit from DStv, EbonyLife publicly announced EL ON, with programs to make the platform its principal distribution channel. Even though EbonyLife experienced currently designed in depth programming, “a ton of that written content was consumed on a day-to-day foundation and experienced a very minimum shelf life”, Abudu describes.

She began to check out the new option of co-productions with world-wide associates that would sooner or later be distributed by way of Nigerian Tv set channels. She signed a multi-title co-production deal with Netflix to make several movies and Tv set collection. Partnering with this kind of companies decreased the upfront financial risks of manufacturing. But it was tricky to evaluate the dimensions of the international audience “Nollywood” (Nigeria’s Hollywood) movies gained due to the fact of the reluctance of the intercontinental platforms to share viewership information. Also, Nollywood producers could not interact immediately with these viewers. As a result, it was difficult for them to understand who had seen the written content and what facets of the stories the audience had appreciated, and then use this perception to plan their foreseeable future productions.

Past creating content, EbonyLife sought to construct its individual media and enjoyment ecosystem. It assisted mature the pipeline of local talent by a resourceful academy that enabled learners to show up at lessons absolutely free of demand, funded by the Lagos condition government. Abudu also thought EbonyLife could develop further by investing more in its audience’s encounters. In December 2019 in Lagos, she opened the multi-intent resort EbonyLife Position, which provided two eating places, a boutique resort, five film theatres, conference rooms and a larger sized multipurpose perform corridor.

A yr later on, Abudu was at EbonyLife Spot to prepare for its relaunch right after the lifting of pandemic limits. Nevertheless, she confronted other urgent problems. She mirrored on her selections around how EbonyLife would distribute its material. Was it way too early to make judgments about EL ON? What improvements should really EbonyLife make to EL ON? Equally, she viewed as the alternative: could she realistically construct a sustainable media business just on global partnerships with streaming solutions? Was there a circumstance in which she could retain EL ON operational whilst pursuing these intercontinental partnerships? Immediately after two a long time in the industry, pivots were being no for a longer time fast or pain-free. Abudu puzzled which alternative she really should go after. 

The above is an tailored summary of Harvard Organization School’s educating scenario examine EbonyLife Media, composed by Andy Wu, Feng Zhu, Wale Lawal and Pippa Tubman Armerding

The original 1921 Harvard Business School case study
The initial 1921 Harvard Company College circumstance analyze, which launched a training method that would unfold close to the earth

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