IBM CSC Case Receives Global Debut

While most cases debut in an Evans Hall classroom, the IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) case received a global rollout in a number of venues this April.

First, the case served as the basis for the annual Aspen Institute's Business & Society International MBA Case Competition. The competition presented the case study to over 1,000 students at 25 competing schools in six countries.

Next, the case was presented at a plenary session during the fifth anniversary celebration of the Global Network for Advanced Management to representatives from the 29 Global Network schools.

Aspen Competition

The presentation of the IBM CSC case marks the fifth year in a row that the Yale School of Management has been asked to provide the case study that serves as the basis for this competition. All of the cases are available for use in MBA programs. (See below for previous year competition cases.)

The Aspen Competition takes place over many rounds. Student teams at the 25 competing schools receive the case on Friday and have 72 hours to complete a proposal. Faculty at the school chose the best team at their institution and sent it to Aspen. Then, a team of academic judges chose five finalists and five honorable mentions.

Elias at podium
Elias introducing case at Aspen breakfast

On April 27, the five finalist teams gathered in New York City to present to a different panel of judges from industry, including Gina Tesla the director of the IBM CSC program. Upon viewing the presentations, IBM noted that many of the proposals would be considered to improve their program.

The awards were presented the next day at a celebratory breakfast at the Yale Club. The team from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management was awarded the top prize with Duquesne University, Donahue Graduate School of Business and New York University, Stern School of Business taking second and third respectively. (No team from Yale competed, as the school provides the case study.)

Following presentation of the awards, Judy Samuelson ’82, Executive Director, Business and Society Program, Aspen Institute moderated a panel discussion about corporate responsibility with Jennifer Crozier, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at IBM and President of the IBM International Foundation, Jyoti Chopra, Managing Director of Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Global Citizenship & Sustainability at BNY Mellon and David Bach, Senior Associate Dean, Executive MBA & Global Programs and Professor of Practice of Management at the Yale School of Management.

Global Network Session

The IBM case was unveiled at a session of the Global Network for Advanced Management Fifth Anniversary with a special ten minute video presenting highlights of the case.

After the video, Samuelson moderated a panel with Tesla, Jim Baron, William S. Beinecke Professor of Management at the Yale School of Management, and Kofi Appenteng, CEO, Africa-America Institute. (Click here for more extensive coverage of the panel.)

The IBM case is expected to be taught in a number of Global Network Schools over the coming year.

The Case

The case provides a detailed overview of the IBM CSC, a program described as a corporate version of the Peace Corps. Each year, IBM selects 500 of its best and brightest from offices around the world to work on month-long projects in emerging markets. According to IBM, the CSC delivers a triple benefit:  as a leadership development program, as a marketing program and as a community outreach program. In its 10 years of operation, the CSC has grown to be the largest corporate assistance program in the world.

The case can be used by professors to examine a number of topics. From an organizational behavior perspective, the case can be used to investigate training systems, teamwork, and cultural intelligence. From a marketing perspective, the case provides a platform to discuss novel ways companies can build brand awareness. And from a social enterprise perspective the case raises questions about social impact measurement, determination of high-impact projects, and strategic alliances.

The IBM CSC case is a raw case, presenting material on a web site with text, numerous document links, and over an hour of video footage.

The case came together through a collaboration between Global Network members: the University of Ghana Business School, EGADE Business School of Tecnológico de Monterrey and the Yale School of Management. Vero Bourg Meyer of the Case Research and Development Team at Yale SOM served as project editor along with Elikplimi Komla Agbloyor of the University of Ghana Business School and Raúl F. Montalvo EGADE Business School Guadalajara. The case was overseen by Jaan Elias and David Bach of Yale and Gordon Abekah-Nkrumah of the University of Ghana Business School. Yale SOM’s Greg MacDonald oversaw the video production.


Previous Aspen Cases provided by Yale and the Global Network for Advanced Management: