Getting to know the true Darden experience means understanding the importance of the case method in the learning process. Different from more traditional lecture-based approaches, the case method, or Socratic method, brings real-life scenarios into the classroom. It’s a pillar of the Darden approach.

The Darden case Writing Research Group are always working to create multi-disciplinary cases that encourage students to expand their perspectives.

Recently, Darden partnered with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative on a new series of cases centered around leadership, inclusion and opportunity. The 10 cases address the challenges and opportunities King faced as she rose to the top of her sport and began advocating for pay parity for women athletes. Read more on the partnership here.

Photo: shutterstock / Brian Friedman

Students can also participate. Earlier this year Sponsors Professor of Business Administration Michael Schill supported student Kelcie Schofield (Class of 2023) in bringing to life a new case about Taylor Swift. “Shamrock Capital: Pricing the Masters of Taylor Swift” takes students into the complex decision to acquire Swift’s master recordings at the right price. Read more about it on The Darden Report.

Students are asked to consider the cases individually and with their learning teams prior to class to prepare for discussions, debates and the famous Darden cold call.

The case method puts you in the driver’s seat as you think about a business problem somebody is facing. You may come in with a certain perspective or opinion, but what happens in the classroom is that you’re co-creating an answer with 70 of your friends, and it’s being facilitated by a faculty member, who instead of pointing you in the right direction, deepens the quality of the problem by asking questions.

- Wade Clement, Full-Time Class of 2023

The student experience:

Brett Twitty, managing director of admissions, has been catching up with students and faculty to get their perspective on how the case method impacts the classroom experience. Explore the conversations below to hear from Full-Time, Executive and Part-Time MBA students on how the case method has enhanced their learning experience.

  • Listen to three second year students in our Full-Time MBA Class of 2023: Wade Clement, Lucy King and Edreana Vaz. They reflect on their MBA journeys, what they enjoy about the case method, how their approach to class preparation has evolved, their advice for prospective students and more.
  • A continued spotlight on the case method with three first year students from our Executive MBA Class of 2024: Tessa Grubb, Eboni Brown and Sarah Al-Chanati. They discuss their reasons for pursuing an MBA, their approach to time management, the role their respective Learning Teams have played in their Darden experience, their favorite case and more.
  • Three first year students from our Part-Time MBA Class of 2025, Zoe Chan, Aman Dar and Zach Gore, discuss their experiences with the case method, reflecting on their MBA journeys, what they enjoy about the case method, what it’s like to participate in a case discussion, how they prepare for class, the impact of their Darden experience and more. 

Hearing from faculty:

What we do is student-centered learning, and cases just happened to be a magnificent way to do several things at once. There are many ways in which Darden executes on the broad idea we label as case method that don’t involve cases but do involve getting students to chart their own journey.

- Marc Lipson, Robert F. Vandell Professor of Business Administration

Some faculty research and write their own case studies while others work with the Darden case writing team to conduct interviews to create new cases. The conversations below offer a faculty perspective on preparing for class and advice they have for students who are new to this style of learning.

  • We continue our ongoing spotlight on the learning experience at Darden with three Darden faculty members: Robert Carraway, Lynn Isabella and Marc Lipson. They discuss how they prepare for class, what it’s like to lead a case discussion, the impact of Darden’s pedagogical approach, their advice for incoming students and more. This episode is essential listening. 
  • Have you ever wondered how a Darden case comes together? Gerry Yemen, senior research and executive director of the Darden Case Writing Research Group, heads a team that is dedicated to writing multi-disciplinary cases that encourage students to expand their perspectives. She has interviewed hundreds of protagonists and written or co-authored more than 400 cases, teaching notes and technical notes featuring leading business executives nationally and internationally since joining Darden in 1998.