February 4, 2017 by Shairi Islam

Picture This: You’ve just come out of your first 1220 exam, sweating,  hands cramped, and dehydrated. You just completed a four hour long case. Four hours! It’s the longest you’ve ever concentrated in your life. You feel a sense of accomplishment run through you. Then you hear it, “just wait till you have to do the 48 hour reports”. You panic. What’s a 48 report? Is it hard? Why do you do it? FORTY EIGHT HOURS???  

Have no fear, PBSN is here. We sat down with Tony Ma and Raghav Srikanth, two HBA 1 students, to get an inside scoop on how to crack the 48.  

How would you explain the Ivey 48 to someone who’s never heard of it before?

A 48 hour report is essentially a big case study. You’re given a complex problem and you have to create a report from scratch outlining how you plan to solve it within a 48 hour time period. You come together with a group of five to seven other students from your section and work through the process together.

What’s the real purpose of doing these 48 hour reports?

The 48 hour cases are used as a part of our evaluation system. Ivey is graded on 3 distinct scales used to measure different skills;

  1. Exams (Used to measure your communication skills and problem solving skills through a written medium)
  2. Contribution (Measures the value you add to class, how well you are able to convey ideas in the moment, and your oral communication skills)
  3. 48 Hour Report (Measures your ability to work on a team and provides you with real life experience)

It’s definitely a unique evaluation method. You do cases every single day but with the 48, you have a very specific time constraint. Sometimes we’re given live cases, where facts or circumstances change throughout the period and we have to adjust. It provides you with a great opportunity to gain experience working in situations that mirror the real world. You learn not only course materials, but team dynamics, how to work under pressure, how to work out disagreements and keep your sanity. Most classes at Ivey have a 48 hour report, so you get to experience a diverse range of fields as well.

How many do you do at your time in Ivey?

The reports are only done in HBA1 and typically one 48 hour case is assigned per course, unless the course decides to hold a midterm instead. You complete approximately three in first semester and three to four in your second semester.

How are the groups picked?

Groups are chosen at random by the professor and change for each case so you get the opportunity to work with multiple people in your section. You learn a lot through the process of working on a team. You have to recognize that everyone has a different working style. Some prefer to work alone, others love to discuss ideas frequently, some are organized, and some prefer creativity, so you have to learn to adapt and find a system that works for everyone. Merging these styles into an efficient unit is always very interesting, but you learn to find a balance between pushing your own ideas and taking into account the ideas of others. You also just get an opportunity to get to know your classmates better. Sure you interact with others during class, but with the report, you get significantly closer to your classmates. You get a better understanding of who they are on a professionals and personal level. For a full 48 hours you eat, sleep, work, and cry together so it becomes a real bonding experience.

Can you explain the difference you felt from doing your first 48 hr to your most recent one? What changes have occurred?

With the first report you dive in blind and don’t understand how to structure the process. It’s very “go, go, go”. You definitely feel the time constraint a lot more because you don’t know how long to spend on each part or how to divide up roles. As you do more reports you get a better understanding of which actions to take to be efficient.You realize it’s important to get to know your team and learn each member’s strengths and weaknesses. You also learn how to properly analyze the case and it’s circumstances. By the time the third report comes around, everyone has a better idea of how to approach problem. You get more comfortable with the time constraint and the process becomes more systematic and organized.

What advice would you give to incoming Ivey students regarding the 48 hr report?

Don’t worry too much about it. Focus on getting comfortable working on teams by joining different clubs and organizations around campus. Try and get involved in as many case competitions as possible because many components parallel between the two activities – working with new people, tackling problems, communicating solutions.

Have you ever had any problems with group members not doing their part in the report? If so, how have you dealt with that?

You will always have people who excel more in certain things than others. Some people may not be pulling their weight because they have other stuff on their mind so it’s important to maintain open communication with your team. It’s important to play to each person’s strengths. We also have peer evaluations at the end of each case, so if there were any issues you can address them there. However, for the most part, there aren’t too many problems. Most Ivey students are strong and competitive leaders, and being a competitive program, everyone strives to do their best.

What is the most challenging part of the report?

There are a lot of small hurdles throughout the 48 hours. Initially, it’s important to understand and define the problem and based on that, create a project timeline, and outline your team’s goals. You also have to remember you’re competing with 10-20 other group who all have the same information as you, so it’s important to think of a unique and creative, but still logical solutions. Researching and developing a solid idea tends to be the most challenging aspect of the report as each member brings a different perspective onto the table and sometimes, ideas clash.

How can you prepare for the report? Are there steps you can take prior to the report to help you succeed in it?

There really isn’t any secret or steps to prepare. The report and questions are in line with what we do in class, so keep up with your classes, do the readings, communicate with your group members to plan everything in advance (where you want to meet, when, etc), The more structure the better. Competing in case competitions will help provide you with experiences that you can apply to the report, so that is always a good idea.  Also make sure you get a good night’s rest!

What is your favourite part about the report?

It’s definitely got to be the opportunity to work with new people and establish those connections. Ivey is very fast paced and you’re always busy, so in those two days you get the chance to get to know the people in your section on a deeper level and build stronger friendships, especially with students who may not be as vocal in class or don’t put themselves out there as much.

And there you have it – what seems like an impossible report is actually just an awesome opportunity to get to know your classmates and develop your skills. Case Cracked!

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