[Minjiang River Forum] Professor Zhou Guannan| Share and Guidance of Harvard Case Method

In the afternoon of September 11, Minjiang River Forum titled Share and Guidance of Harvard Case Method owas launched at Room A302 of the Teaching Building of New Huadu Business School. This activity invited Professor Zhou Guannan from National Chengchi University in Taiwan to interpret the essence and connotations of Harvard Case Method with two classic Harvard cases with two sessions arranged on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, which attracted nearly one hundred teachers and students to attend.


Professor Zhou Guannan gained his doctor’s degree in finance and accountancy from The University of Iowa in the US. He is the vice president of the Business School of National Chengchi University and concurrently the specially-appointed professor of the Financial Management Department; he is also the deputy editor-in-chief of Journal of Financial Studies, the editor-in-chief of Journal of Management in financial affairs and a member of the Editorial Committee of Management Review/NTU Management Review/Journal of Enterprise Management. Professor Zhou made in-depth exploration into Harvard Case Method and has formed his unique perception and understanding for this method besides his abundant case teaching experiences. So, he is very popular among the students.

Professor Zhou thinks intelligence cannot be directly taught. The best study method is to simulate the realistic scenario through cases to temper our knowledge and skills. The purpose of case method is to trigger people's different ideas through the course of imitation, leading to more interaction between the teacher and students. In this way, the “hidden knowledge" is imparted to students and we can provide a kind of practical interactive study experience for students.

From the explanation of Professor Zhou, we know Harvard Case Method consists of mainly such key links as individual analysis, informal panel discussion, classroom discussion and summarization of course study. It emphasizes on the full study and preparatory analysis of the case on the part of students before the lesson. The teacher should also make sufficient preparations in the course of case teaching by setting up relevant questions to set students thinking and encourage them to participate in the discussion which is a main part of the course. The teacher should make students play the roles and get fully integrated into the case. That’s a process of learning by doing. At the same time, the teaching skill matters. Looking for a standard answer is not the purpose. What really matters is the course of discussion. We should listen attentively to the students, respect and protect their opinions and enthusiasm.

In the demonstration of the two cases,Cost of Capital at Ameritrade and Airbus A3XX Developing the World's Largest Commercial Jet, Professor Zhou guided the students to begin from the understanding of the basic situation of the enterprise and then to the difficulties encountered by the enterprise as well as its decision-making in a progressive way. He wove the professional knowledge into each link, forming a system and a method of simulation study close to reality. So, the ability of the students in mastering and applying knowledge is enhanced.

In the interaction, Professor Zhou would dissolve the divided argument between the teacher and students in the case teaching by giving the ingenious advice that “what you said is reasonable, but I think a further discussion is needed, so we can continue to explore into it after class”. Professor Zhou also explained the acquisition method of Harvard’s case resources and the experiences in choosing the cases for their application in teaching.


The sharing and training of two sessions was rounded off in a sense of gain and happiness. They gave the teachers and students a more concrete understanding of Harvard Case Method and also served as valuable reference in their future study and work.

It is reported that this activity was part of a series of activities to mark the 60th anniversary of Minjiang University. It was followed by more exciting activities. Welcome all the teachers and students to pay close attention to and participate in them.

(Huang Yimiao, Jiang Yuping and Li Linfan from New Huadu Business School; Photographer: Gong Wenqing)