SAGE Business Cases Author Profile: Nukhet Vardar
Dr. Nukhet Vardar has been studying and practicing international marketing and advertising since 1983. Following her MSc in international marketing in 1985, she got her PhD in international advertising in 1990, both from University of Manchester Institute of Technology and Science (former UMIST), UK.
She started her business life as an assistant brand manager at Henkel, Turyag A.S in Izmir, Turkey in 1985; then moved to the agency side, working as Research and Media Manager at Yaratim/FCB, Istanbul, Turkey (1990-1993); Account Planner at Y&R/Reklamevi, Istanbul (1993-1995). She was the founding Managing Director of Initiative Media in Istanbul (1995-2001), making the company Turkey’s number one media agency in 1997.
Dr Vardar continued her academic life while working. She was a lecturer at the Yeditepe University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Istanbul (2002-2008), where she was appointed as marketing professor in 2004. She founded her own marketing/communications consultancy, El Izi, Istanbul in 2002. Dr. Vardar established her company’s UK subsidiary, El Izi Communications Consultancy UK Limited, at the end of 2016 to start a novel e-learning project in the UK, dividing her time between London and Istanbul.
Cases from Nukhet on SAGE Business Cases
Q&A with Nukhet
Q: How do you integrate cases into your classes?
A: I regard cases as an important part of teaching and value them very much. Cases make students face real business problems in the comfort of a classroom. Even if they make a wrong decision, they do not have to suffer through the consequences of their choices; as they would if they were running a business. Therefore, I think case studies are very helpful in preparing students to the realities of the business world in a controlled environment. I always feel that business life is the “laboratory” and therefore cases work like the “lab work” in management sciences. I truly believe both instructors and students should be allocating more classroom time for case discussions.
Q: How do students respond to the cases?
A: I think that even quiet students who do not generally participate in class discussions can be quite talkative when it comes to cases. Students tend to find it easier to understand a concept or a new theory if they hear an example related to that new piece of theory. Theories can be hard to understand or to retain, whereas if you start telling a case or give an example; then it is much easier to capture students’ attention. Likewise, if you are able to get students’ interest, then they start listening actively and the whole learning process becomes much easier. As an end result, students retain more and most probably remember more, even after all forgetting takes place.
Q: Do you have any tips for those who are new to cases and want to use them in courses?
A: I think to start with, the choice of a specific case is very important. Students should easily be able to understand the problem in question and they should also be able to relate to the brand as well as to the market conditions explained in the case. In addition, I think finding new materials to bring into the classroom both by the instructor and students help a lot in having fruitful discussions in the class, where students get a chance to relate the theory with the practical world.
Q: Do you have any case writing advice for those who’d like to get started?
A: I personally believe case writing is also very good practice for instructors. While writing a new case, one also learns a lot about brands, decisions made, what goes on behind the scenes. Also, when writing cases, one comes across examples where real-life experiences do not fit with the theory taught in textbooks. We all know that real life offers us very different challenges and that life is not always as neat and well defined as we learn from textbooks. I think while writing cases, one becomes aware of the true face of reality once again.