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Structured Problem Solving

Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2024
Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

During the course, you will work on a case study for a medium-sized company. By doing so you will learn how to approach a problem-solving process and communicate your results in a structured way. The work on the case study and two lectures complement each other.In the case study, information is not given upfront as a package to be analyzed by your team. Instead, you will collect information actively and decide what is important for your work. In addition, interaction with the faculty is not limited to the lecture and your final presentation. Instead, you will conduct interviews and present preliminary findings. Both may alter the course of your analysis. Finally, intensive and timely feedback is a key element of the course. Feedback is not limited to your final grade. Instead, we will provide immediate feedback after each interview and each presentation.

Professor Utz Schäffer can look back on many years of experience in consulting and can provide insights and detailed feedback on skills required in real-life problem-solving processes, which are not only required for consultants but likewise for managers and entrepreneurs.

Date Time
Tuesday, 09.01.2024 08:00 - 13:00
Thursday, 18.01.2024 08:00 - 15:00
Wednesday, 31.01.2024 08:00 - 17:30
Thursday, 01.02.2024 08:00 - 13:00
Tuesday, 13.02.2024 13:00 - 19:00
Tuesday, 20.02.2024 08:00 - 22:00
  1. Develop a profound and practical understanding of how to define problems.
  2. Develop a profound and practical understanding of how to structure a problem solving process and how to work in a hypothesis-driven way.
  3. Develop a profound and practical understanding of how to analyze problems.
  4. Develop a profound and practical understanding of how to communicate problem solutions effectively.
  5. Gain first experiences with team issues in a problem-solving class.
Basic readings Minto, B. (2009): The Pyramid Principle, 3rd rev. ed., London et al. Rasiel, E. (1999): The McKinsey Way, New York et al.Zelazny, G. (2006): Say it with Presentations, 2nd ed., New York et al.Optional readingsReynolds, G. (2011): Presentation Zen – Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, 2nd ed., Berkeley. Graebig, M./Jennerich-Wünsche, A./Engel, E. (2011): Wie aus Ideen Präsentationen werden, Wiesbaden.
Lecture, Real-life case simulation
Interviews 20%, Interim presentation 20%; Final report 30%; Final presentation 30%
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