Mats Urde, brand researcher at Lund University School of Economics and Management, has been a committed advocate of the case methodology throughout his professional life. Now, he is rewarded for his efforts. On “World Case Teaching Day” 5 February, he is named – as the first Swede – Outstanding Case Teacher.
The 500 member organizations in the Case Centre include the world’s best economics and business schools. Since 2013, Case Centre holds the annual competition "Outstanding Case Teacher", which goes to a teacher who lifts and renews the case methodology. Special criteria are excellence, innovation and creativity.
“I am incredibly happy and honored to be named case teacher of the year,” says Mats Urde, who describes himself as a warm advocate of case methodology.
As early as the 1870s, Harvard Law School began working on cases – case studies drawn from reality. The method came to Lund University during the 1960s. In recent years, it is the teachers and researchers Mats Urde, Ulf Ramberg and Ola Mattisson who have inspired and trained their colleagues in the methodology. The connection to Harvard remains; Mats has long collaborated with professor Stephen A. Greyser at Harvard Business School, with whom he has written two cases.
“Much of what I have done as a researcher is actually based on case research. In Lund, we are very good at that and it is something we should be proud of. I also want to highlight the excellent collaboration with the School of Economics and Management’s partner companies and our talented, driven students. There are many who have contributed to School’s reputation as a strong case school,” says Mats Urde.
For many years, Mats Urde has let students solve real cases in the classroom. Mats is a popular teacher. In 2013, the students voted him teacher of the year at the School of Economics and Management, and in 2015 he received the Lund University Pedagogical Prize.
The methodology, for which he is now rewarded, takes teaching in the classroom to a whole new level. Mats’ students are not only expected to solve case – they should also learn to write their own!
“The idea is to let students write cases of their own, let students present their own cases, and let students solve other fellow students' cases. And to let students engage in a friendly competition with cases written by students, judged by students, faculty, and business representatives. It’s a full-cycle student case work. When the learning climate in the room is at its best, all show courage, integrity, and an open mind. It really is a privilege to be a case teacher,” Mats Urde concludes.
Outside of academia, Mats Urde has 25 years of experience as an independent brand strategy advisor for companies and non-profit organizations.
“I see the importance of bridging theory and practice in my research, teaching and my work as a consultant. I want to believe that is my legacy,” says Mats Urde.
Three voices about Mats Urde
“The judges had a difficult task in selecting a winner from an outstanding shortlist of candidates, but Mats is a worthy winner. Mats is a case teacher who shows outstanding commitment to his students. He goes the extra mile to support their progress through the most effective pedagogy at his disposal - the case method. By involving and supporting students in writing cases, Mats has effectively extended the use of cases in the classroom. The judges were also impressed by his work to support colleagues, and to champion the use of the case method at his school. Comfortable in bringing innovation, both technical and pedagogical, into his teaching, Mats possesses strengths across all elements of the attributes one looks for in an outstanding case teacher.”
Richard McCracken, Director of The Case Centre and chair of the judging panel
“Mats' skills precede his classroom appearance. He clearly understands what engages students/executives in case topics, case protagonist decisions, and supporting analysis. He uses a range of techniques - role plays, timely votes, group presentations, case-related guests etc. He grasps what a superior case does for student preparation, class discussion and learning. I consider Mats an excellent case teacher - as idea developer, case writer, classroom teacher, case/course developer, advocate for case-based learning, and enhancer of student case experiences.”
Stephen A. Greyser, Richard P. Chapman Professor (Marketing/Communications), Emeritus, Harvard Business School
“Mats is a truly engaging teacher who challenges your thinking and involves you in the learning process. He makes you go the extra mile and think outside the box, just like he does. In one of Mats’ courses, we had to write and solve our own cases. He then organised a case competition event where we solved each other’s cases. Mats is a teacher who wants you to understand the theoretical frameworks, but also know how to use them in real life. I think I personally never learned as much in a class as in his, because he made us apply all those theoretical frameworks.”
Anna-Maria Ostermann, alumni Master’s student at Lund University School of Economics and Management