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

In 1921, Harvard Business enterprise University developed its to start with, one-website page mimeographed scenario study for learners (watch here and bottom), about the simple dilemmas confronted by supervisors at the Basic Shoe Organization. Intended to prompt course discussions, the situation strategy has since been adopted by educational facilities around the planet as a core portion of educating.

Now, Harvard, Ivey Small business University in Canada and The Circumstance Centre are leaders between 50 producers and distributors of 1000’s of circumstances, of which hundreds of thousands of copies are offered per year. They are published by a escalating range of institutions, in formats like online video, describing challenges on an at any time broader assortment of issues, geographies and protagonists.

Below is an summary of a person of Harvard’s most new circumstances, on the African media corporation EbonyLife.

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

Just one unusually tranquil early morning in Lagos, Nigeria in December 2020, Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu, founder and main govt of EbonyLife Media and one of Africa’s greatest names in the business enterprise, introduced her laptop computer to do the job on the rooftop patio of EbonyLife Position, the company’s flagship lifestyle and enjoyment resort.

Launched by Abudu in 2012 with a mission to provide large-excellent African tales to the earth, EbonyLife was the corporation guiding a lot of of Nigeria’s biggest movies and television reveals. It started with a linear Tv channel on the Africa-wide immediate broadcast satellite service DStv. By 2020, it experienced produced more than 5,000 several hours of Television set material and Nigeria’s top-3 maximum grossing flicks.

With a drive for bigger regulate more than production and next the close of its relationship with DStv, EbonyLife released EbonyLife ON (EL ON), an on-demand streaming service. However, it struggled to develop the number of EL ON subscribers.

Global MBA Rating 2022

A class at the Wharton Faculty

Find out which schools are in our ranking of MBA degrees. Study how the table was compiled and study the relaxation of our coverage at www.ft.com/mba.

Abudu started out to consider about regardless of whether she must keep on fighting to expand EL ON. Should EbonyLife focus instead on co-output discounts with international media distributors this sort of as Netflix, Sony and AMC? Abudu, who had been in the media organization for almost 20 many years, needed to make this major selection for EbonyLife.

Her curiosity in the media and entertainment marketplace emerged from a wish to suitable dangerous stereotypes about Africa. Born in London to Nigerian parents, she grew up in the British isles and Nigeria. Drawn to African stories, she preferred to tackle the simple fact that there was so a great deal the planet did not know about Africa. “I feel somewhere deeply buried in my unconscious was a need to have to inform Africa’s story,” she suggests.

Growing up in the Uk, she routinely encountered misconceptions about Africa and was surprised by how they persisted when she was an grownup. “The same questions I was currently being requested in England [40 years ago],” she claims, “are the same questions my youngsters had been becoming questioned when they went to faculty in England.” Queries like, “Do you guys stay in trees?”

In July 2020, adhering to its exit from DStv, EbonyLife publicly declared EL ON, with programs to make the system its most important distribution channel. Though EbonyLife had previously established comprehensive programming, “a good deal of that material was consumed on a every day basis and had a quite nominal shelf life”, Abudu clarifies.

She started to check out the new option of co-productions with world companions that would at some point be dispersed by Nigerian Tv set channels. She signed a multi-title co-manufacturing offer with Netflix to make numerous flicks and Tv set series. Partnering with these types of organizations lowered the upfront money hazards of generation. But it was difficult to assess the sizing of the world wide viewers “Nollywood” (Nigeria’s Hollywood) films gained for the reason that of the reluctance of the international platforms to share viewership details. Also, Nollywood producers could not interact specifically with these viewers. As a result, it was tricky for them to find out who had considered the information and what facets of the tales the audience experienced liked, and then use this insight to plan their long term productions.

Over and above making information, EbonyLife sought to develop its have media and amusement ecosystem. It helped mature the pipeline of community talent by a innovative academy that enabled pupils to go to classes free of charge of cost, funded by the Lagos point out govt. Abudu also believed EbonyLife could improve additional by investing far more in its audience’s ordeals. In December 2019 in Lagos, she opened the multi-reason resort EbonyLife Position, which provided two restaurants, a boutique lodge, five film theatres, assembly rooms and a more substantial multipurpose functionality hall.

A 12 months later on, Abudu was at EbonyLife Position to program for its relaunch just after the lifting of pandemic limits. On the other hand, she faced other pressing fears. She mirrored on her solutions about how EbonyLife would distribute its content. Was it far too early to make judgments about EL ON? What adjustments ought to EbonyLife make to EL ON? Equally, she regarded the option: could she realistically make a sustainable media business just on intercontinental partnerships with streaming solutions? Was there a state of affairs in which she could hold EL ON operational while pursuing these global partnerships? Soon after two decades in the industry, pivots had been no lengthier brief or pain-free. Abudu puzzled which choice she should go after. 

The previously mentioned is an tailored abstract of Harvard Business School’s educating situation study EbonyLife Media, created by Andy Wu, Feng Zhu, Wale Lawal and Pippa Tubman Armerding

The original 1921 Harvard Business School case study
The unique 1921 Harvard Business College situation study, which introduced a teaching process that would distribute all around the world