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Executive MBA students bring years of rich work experience that shape classroom discussions. In the case of Anna Kan ’15, her background now serves as conversational fodder for both her classmates and future EMBA students.

Kan was taking Marketing Strategy with Professor Alexander Chernev when she first mentioned some of the challenges she faced as CEO of Golden Island Jerky Company. As she shared her experiences in running a family-owned business, determining product placement and pricing and setting the company’s strategic direction, Chernev decided that Kan’s story would be an ideal choice for a new case.

“The business cases we use come from many sources, but I saw a great opportunity to create a case that was more personal and more relevant to the EMBA student,” Chernev said. “This is the first instance I’ve heard of a faculty member writing a case based on a student’s experience.”

Several years prior to starting the EMBA program, Kan was transitioning her family’s business, the Formosa Meat Company, to focus production completely on jerky. She needed to determine the best route to enter the mainstream U.S. jerky market.

Chernev wrote the case to focus on this crucial juncture in Kan’s leadership.

“Chernev was one of my favorite professors, so this was both a privilege and a fun experiment,” Kan said of the case. “Of course I’m dying of curiosity to see how other students make their decision when put in my shoes.”

This case presents students with a complex situation that forces them not only to analyze data, but also act as a manager and a leader.

“As a CEO of a company, you have to make strategic decisions that has immediate impact on the viability and future of the company,” Kan said. “I think the case is a great tool to help develop leadership and strategic decision making skills.”