Porf. Exler uses case studies as seasoning to flavour classes

Case studies are the next best thing to practical experience and they are the seasoning Prof. Martin Exler uses to “flavour” his classes.

The mergers and acquisition expert is a partner in M.A.C. Mergers and Acquisitions-Consulting GmbH, Vienna, a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tyrol and a visiting professor at Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad.

In his lectures at IMT, said he brought large case studies from his consulting work, so the whole range of activity from development, to restructuring and integration of companies is shown.

Initially, says Prof. Exler, he gives students the academic structure, letting them know the state of the academic discussion and introduces the key players on the academic side and practical side. Then he introduces the methodology, centering on the evaluation/evolution of different companies and capturing the difference between the theoretical approach and the practical outcome.

After that, he jumps directly into the case studies and lets students find solutions – then fills the in on the actual outcome. This way, he says, they understand the outcome of that real case study – they understand the difference between application of just theoretical knowledge and get to know more of the practical application.

People skills are important, he indicated, and some of these skills can’t be learned in just the education system and must be learned working out in the field through internships, apprenticing or just volunteering with companies.

“Theoretic input is nice,” says Prof. Exler, “but it’s also very important that students know how to act in a negotiation situation – how people like each other, struggle with each other and in the end have to find a solution, because an M A (merger and acquisition) process requires a period of 10 to 15 months and during this time the participants get to know each other very well.”