As a doctoral student, you are required to write two additional research papers outside of your traditional course assignments. The first paper, referred to as Case Analysis I, is assigned approximately one month before you begin the program; you have exactly three months to complete it. The second paper, referred to as Case Analysis II, is sent when you have completed approximately 75% of your course studies and also has a three-month deadline. Totaling 1.5 credits each, the first assignment is staged to serve as a baseline from which to measure your research and academic writing growth during the program.

By staging the first Case Analysis at the very start of your academic studies with ISM, the assignment also serves as a great introduction to the research and academic rigor of the doctorate program. As a new student, doctorate studies can be very intimidating and Case Analysis I allows you to refresh your academic research and writing skills before actually launching into a course. 

Students are encouraged not to begin their first course until they complete Case Analysis I, however, you are actually able to sign up for a class – despite ISM’s suggestions otherwise. I am one of those people that was so eager to begin course studies, that I did not heed my advisor’s advice and signed up for not one, but TWO courses at the same time. Needless to say, it was the hardest three months of my academic studies at ISM, or any institution at which I have studied. 

The reason why the case analyses are so challenging is because you are given a topic, which is undisclosed until the time it is assigned, and may be in an area of business study that you are completely uninformed. As such, you have to perform an enormous amount of research and reading just to provide yourself with an initial baseline of information. Essentially, you are taking a course that you are defining and designing on your own. If you do not find the best information (books, articles, case studies, etc.) to help you understand the subject, then regardless of what you end up writing, the paper will fall short of the caliber expected.  

Once you complete the research, the next step is to determine the appropriate methodological approach for the paper. After that, you begin to formulate your learnings into something that demonstrates your research skills, creativity, innovation, and analytical thinking. Students are evaluated based upon their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, leadership and strategic perspective, and written communication capabilities.  

As mentioned, all of this needs to be completed within three months. Delaying beginning the assignment will undoubtedly leave you without enough time to complete it, and exceptions are not made for late submissions. Can you imagine doing all of this work and turning it in late, not to receive credit and having to start all over again? Not a good start or end to your studies at ISM.

Once submitted, feedback is provided, and a score is shared with the student approximately one month after you submit your case analysis. ISM tracks the Case Analysis I and II comparative score data for doctorate students and compiles it anonymously on www.ism.edu in the “Outcomes Assessment” section in the "About ISM" section. 

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