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

Gordon B. Johnson

In 1921, Harvard Business enterprise Faculty developed its to start with, solitary-site mimeographed scenario review for college students (check out listed here and base), about the practical dilemmas faced by professionals at the Common Shoe Corporation. Intended to prompt class discussions, the situation strategy has due to the fact been adopted by educational facilities about the planet as a core portion of educating.

Right now, Harvard, Ivey Enterprise Faculty in Canada and The Scenario Centre are leaders amid 50 producers and distributors of thousands of situations, of which hundreds of thousands of copies are sold every year. They are prepared by a escalating range of institutions, in formats which include movie, describing problems on an ever broader selection of challenges, geographies and protagonists.

Beneath is an summary of a person of Harvard’s most the latest circumstances, on the African media enterprise EbonyLife.


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

1 unusually quiet morning in Lagos, Nigeria in December 2020, Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu, founder and main government of EbonyLife Media and a single of Africa’s greatest names in the enterprise, introduced her laptop to operate on the rooftop patio of EbonyLife Location, the company’s flagship way of life and amusement resort.

Established by Abudu in 2012 with a mission to provide higher-top quality African tales to the earth, EbonyLife was the enterprise driving quite a few of Nigeria’s largest movies and television demonstrates. It commenced with a linear Tv set channel on the Africa-large direct broadcast satellite assistance DStv. By 2020, it had generated a lot more than 5,000 hrs of Tv set written content and Nigeria’s leading-3 best grossing films.

With a wish for bigger regulate above production and adhering to the conclude of its connection with DStv, EbonyLife introduced EbonyLife ON (EL ON), an on-need streaming service. However, it struggled to grow the selection of EL ON subscribers.

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Abudu started off to believe about whether she should continue on fighting to increase EL ON. Should really EbonyLife concentrate rather on co-generation promotions with international media distributors this sort of as Netflix, Sony and AMC? Abudu, who had been in the media enterprise for nearly 20 a long time, desired to make this considerable final decision for EbonyLife.

Her curiosity in the media and amusement sector emerged from a need to appropriate harmful stereotypes about Africa. Born in London to Nigerian mom and dad, she grew up in the Uk and Nigeria. Drawn to African stories, she desired to tackle the point that there was so much the earth did not know about Africa. “I consider someplace deeply buried in my unconscious was a need to explain to Africa’s story,” she says.

Escalating 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 issues I was becoming asked in England [40 years ago],” she says, “are the same questions my children ended up staying asked when they went to school in England.” Queries like, “Do you men are living in trees?”

In July 2020, adhering to its exit from DStv, EbonyLife publicly announced EL ON, with plans to make the system its main distribution channel. When EbonyLife experienced previously designed intensive programming, “a lot of that content was consumed on a daily basis and had a pretty small shelf life”, Abudu clarifies.

She began to discover the new possibility of co-productions with worldwide companions that would ultimately be dispersed by means of Nigerian Tv channels. She signed a multi-title co-manufacturing deal with Netflix to make quite a few films and Television set sequence. Partnering with this kind of providers lowered the upfront monetary challenges of generation. But it was complicated to assess the dimensions of the world audience “Nollywood” (Nigeria’s Hollywood) movies gained because of the reluctance of the intercontinental platforms to share viewership info. Also, Nollywood producers could not interact instantly with these viewers. As a outcome, it was challenging for them to discover who had seen the material and what features of the tales the viewers had appreciated, and then use this perception to plan their future productions.

Outside of generating written content, EbonyLife sought to make its individual media and amusement ecosystem. It served develop the pipeline of community talent by a innovative academy that enabled learners to attend lessons totally free of demand, funded by the Lagos condition governing administration. Abudu also considered EbonyLife could grow even more by investing extra in its audience’s experiences. In December 2019 in Lagos, she opened the multi-purpose resort EbonyLife Position, which provided two dining establishments, a boutique hotel, five movie theatres, meeting rooms and a bigger multipurpose functionality hall.

A calendar year later, Abudu was at EbonyLife Put to approach for its relaunch right after the lifting of pandemic constraints. On the other hand, she confronted other urgent concerns. She mirrored on her alternatives around how EbonyLife would distribute its material. Was it much too early to make judgments about EL ON? What alterations ought to EbonyLife make to EL ON? Equally, she thought of the alternate: could she realistically establish a sustainable media business just on global partnerships with streaming providers? Was there a scenario in which she could keep EL ON operational although pursuing these intercontinental partnerships? Just after two a long time in the market, pivots had been no for a longer time rapid or pain-free. Abudu questioned which selection she should pursue. 

The over is an adapted summary of Harvard Company School’s teaching 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 authentic 1921 Harvard Organization College scenario analyze, which introduced a teaching technique that would distribute close to the planet
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