Case, Simulation & Pedagogy

The ISB has constantly endeavoured to facilitate teaching excellence and upgrade pedagogy by bringing real-world knowledge into the classroom. One of the important ways it achieves this is through the development of business cases and simulations that enrich understanding of real-life management challenges at every level. In this pursuit, we have partnered with the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario (Ivey), Canada to develop and promote high-quality case studies specific to India and the emerging markets with the support of ISB faculty as well as faculty from other leading B-schools worldwide.

CasesDamaraju, Naga Lakshmi; Rawal, Prafulla; Singh, Bavneet; Himanshu, Jain; Karthik. "Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital: Which Way Forward?", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Strategy
Industry: Health care services
Length: 23p
Subjects covered: Corporate strategy; General management; Organizational structure; Strategy
Publication Date: December 10, 2015

Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital (KNMH) is a non-profit, non-government trust organization that is managed by the Gandhi-Nehru family, India's premier political family which gave the country three generations of prime ministers. Members of the family continue to be at the helm of the board. The hospital specializes in the areas of Obstetrics and Gynecology (O&G) and Oncology and has several supporting departments. It is a very reputed hospital in Allahabad, in the highly populated state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India, and draws patients from nearby states, primarily from the Eastern part of India where infrastructure is largely underdeveloped, and from other developing countries such as Nepal and Bhutan. The hospital is endowed by the Trust. Due to its reach, it attracts funds from governmental and non-governmental agencies as an implementing agency for several of their health schemes and initiatives. The hospital operated independently and without a formal administrative structure for many years. Consequently, the governance as well as the efficiency of hospital operations had been going downhill for some time, with the result that patients were choosing other hospitals and nursing homes over KNMH. Decreasing revenues and inefficient operations led to operational losses. After the next generation of the Gandhi-Nehru family joined the governing board, there was some rethinking at the top about the way forward for the hospital. They decided that the time had come to manage the hospital professionally in order to be able to serve patients in a more efficient and effective manner. It was in this setting that Dr. Madhu Chandra, a pathologist and PhD, who had served at a corporate hospital (Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad), was appointed Chief Executive Officer of KNMH. Her goal was to streamline hospital operations and put it back on a growth trajectory.

Learning objective:
This case could be used in courses related to corporate development and growth to apply the concepts that are primarily taught in the context of profit maximizing public corporations to a non-profit setting. This case can be taught after the class has covered the core concepts of corporate strategy, about mid-way through the course. It can be a good final closing case to test how far students have understood those concepts and whether they can apply them when the context of application changes.

CasesTripathi, Sanjeev; ​Bhasker, Shashank . "GiveIndia: On the Net for a Cause", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: Online marketing, search engine marketing, SEM, customer lifetime value, cause-related marketing
Disciplines: ​Marketing,  International
Industries: Social Advocacy Organizations
Setting: India, Small, 2014
Length: 14 pages
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Started in 2000, GiveIndia is a web-based donation platform headquartered in Mumbai, India. It uses online tools and social media to engage with donors and encourage donations to be made to various non-governmental organizations. GiveIndia’s chief executive officer wants to develop a strategic approach for social media communication, which is gaining greater acceptance in India. As part of its online initiatives, GiveIndia has been running a search engine marketing program with Google Grants. The chief executive officer wants to optimize the program by using the right metrics. He is also interested in applying the concept of customer lifetime value to manage the donations. GiveIndia is already present on popular social media websites such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but how can the company hone its strategic focus on each of these websites?

Learning Objective:
  • To help students become familiar with the philanthropy sector in an emerging economy and the marketing challenges that such organizations face.
  • To provide deeper insight into online marketing, especially search engine marketing and social media marketing.
  • To develop analytical skills in the field of search engine marketing and to understand the concept and application of customer lifetime value.
  • To emphasize the need for an integrated communications approach to social media marketing.


Cases Panda, Rajesh; Sethi, Madhvi. "The Economics of Gold: India's Challenge in 2013", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >

Issues: Current account deficit, investment
Disciplines: ​Finance,  International
Industries: Finance and Insurance
Setting: India, 2013
Length: 8 pages
Intended Audience: Undergraduate/MBA
Publication Date: March 30, 2016

On June 13, 2013, an online news portal reported on a press conference at which India’s finance minister urged Indians to refrain from buying gold. India was facing a huge economic challenge. Its account deficit had hit a record high of 6.7 per cent of its gross domestic product. This increase was attributed to rising gold imports and was a major cause of concern for the Indian finance minister and the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank. This crisis raised some questions that had come up before: Why was gold such an obsession in India? Why was it seen as a good investment? How could the country’s financial leaders address this situation?

Learning Objective:
The case can be used in an MBA first-year macroeconomics class to achieve the following objectives:

  • To provide students with a historical perspective of gold in India.
  • To help them identify the determinants of the demand for gold in India, analyze these determinants using relevant data, and critically evaluate gold as an investment choice.
  • To help students understand the impact of gold demand on India’s trade balance and current account deficit.
  • To highlight the differences between India and rest of the world with respect to the economics of gold.

CasesJain, Tarun; Ray, Rohini . "Search Costs and Market Efficiency in Emerging Economies", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Economics
Industry: Fishing
Length: 5p
Subjects covered: Communication technologies; Economic theory; Economics; Managerial economics; Price discrimination
Publication Date: March 29, 2016

This note summarizes recent research on how information technology (such as mobile phones or internet) can be used to reduce costs associated with searching for prices, as well as the associated increases in social welfare.

Learning objective: 
The note is useful for courses that discuss the role of information technology in emerging market settings. 

CasesChittoor, Raveendra; Shah, Geetika . "Azim Premji Foundation - Bringing Professional Excellence to Philanthropy", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Strategy
Length: 21p
Subjects covered: Education; Nonprofit organizations; Social enterprise; Social services; Strategic philanthropy; Strategy; Trusts
Publication Date: March 31, 2016

Set in April 2014, this case explores some of the important questions confronting Dileep Ranjekar and Anurag Behar, CEOs of the Azim Premji Foundation, which had entered the second decade of its existence with fresh plans and renewed vigor. Ranjekar and Behar had evolved an organizational strategy, after carefully reflecting on the Foundation's past work, that was characterized by the idea of working in an "institutional" mode and not merely in a "programmatic" mode. This meant establishing a long-term presence in the places where the Foundation worked (i.e., disadvantaged districts in the country), and engaging on a continuous and long-term basis with the public education system to facilitate change. Given the trajectory that the management team had set for the Foundation, it was constantly faced with issues related to finding the right people with the required skill sets and mindset, finding field staff to overcome the challenges of working in difficult, far-flung places, and scaling up at the right speed to achieve the desired reach and outcomes. Documenting the evolution and growth of the Foundation, the case brings to light some of the key challenges it faced in scaling up. The case highlights some of the challenges of building a large, professionally managed not-for-profit and the strategic decisions that have to be made to grow it into a sustainable organization.

Learning objective: 
The case would fit well in courses at the MBA level and in other Master's and executive level programs on business strategy, nonprofit management, education management and service management. The case introduces the reader to the structural, monetary, capacity and human resource related concerns and, to some extent, the legal concerns of nonprofits and the restrictions they face when they plan the scaling up of their organizations.

CasesHitch, Leslie;  Mehta, Shreshthi . "Competence, Competitiveness, and Intercultural Conflict in Qatar", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >

Issues: Intercultural conflict, talent management, strategic decision-making
Disciplines: ​Organizational Behaviour/Leadership,  Entrepreneurship,  International
Industries: Construction
Setting: India; Qatar, Small, 2014
Length: 11 pages
Intended Audience: Undergraduate/MBA
Publication Date: April 12, 2016

In 2011, the chief executive officer of Singh Security Systems Limited, an Indian company that designed and manufactured security systems, wanted to expand the scale of operations. He located a partner, the business leader of a construction company that specialized in security systems, in Doha, Qatar. Together, they drew a lucrative plan to execute turnkey projects in security systems in Qatar. However, the best candidate to lead the partnership in Qatar was a woman, who was keen to pursue the position, but would be the only woman in a position of authority in a 180-member organization, in a male-dominated country. The business leader of the Qatari firm was hesitant to hire a woman to run the project. Should the company reconsider assigning a woman project manager to Qatar?

Learning Objective:
This case can be used at various academic levels, from undergraduate courses to executive education programs, for both business and non-business students. It is also suitable for students pursuing a master’s or PhD degree, when considering workplace dilemmas and various options for implementing fair employment practices. After completion of the case, students should be able to:

  • Evaluate how cultural norms may complicate international partnership development.
  • Identify and analyze cognitive biases regarding women in leadership positions.
  • Deliberate the balance between corporate goals, employee competence, personal ambition, and culture.
  • Consider the acceptable alternatives for an ambitious and competent woman who may be discouraged from pursuing a career in a male-dominated culture.
  • Analyze the implications for a successful partnership when a less qualified person is put in charge.

CasesRaghavan, Srividya;  Bhattacharya, Sourabh. "Bajaj RE60: The Branding Challenge of Disruptive Innovation", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: Disruptive innovation, Branding, Brand architecture
Disciplines: ​Marketing
Industries: Manufacturing
Setting: India, Large, 2014
Length:  17 pages
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
Publication Date: May 13, 2016

Bajaj Auto Limited (BAL), the world’s largest manufacturer of three-wheel vehicles, was about to launch India’s first quadricycle, built indigenously for applications that were uniquely useful for urban transportation in developing markets such as India. The four-wheel vehicle was being launched as a completely new category in the Indian market by BAL’s Commercial Vehicle division. The dilemma facing the BAL team was whether to brand the new product as an extension of the company’s three-wheel market leader or as an independent brand. Furthermore, what degree of endorsement would be required from the master brand, “Bajaj”? The potential success of this vehicle would have a profound effect on BAL’s ability to develop its brand image and carve out a leadership position in a new category of commercial vehicles in India.

Learning Objective:
This case is suitable for product management, brand management, and strategic marketing management courses in senior MBA or executive level programs. After completion of the case, students should be able to understand
  • how to assess possible growth and revival strategies for a mature product in a saturated market;
  • new product development opportunities and the innovator’s dilemma;
  • the role of differentiation in facilitating positioning for a product/brand;
  • the role of branding in delivering the product strategy to the marketplace; and
  • how to assess possible brand architecture that could determine the company’s future direction. 

CasesMisra, Harekrishna; Asokan, S. R. . "Amul's IT-Enabled Service Delivery to Dairy Farmers", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: dairy supply chain, Internet of things, ICT, information and communication technology
Disciplines: ​Information Systems,  International
Industries: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Setting: India, Large, 2014
Length: 17 pages
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
Publication Date: June 23, 2016

Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited (Kaira Union), a member union of the popular dairy brand Amul, was using information technology (IT)-enabled services to benefit individual dairy farmers with very small herd sizes in India. The technical inputs, such as veterinary services, were provided through veterinary centres located near clusters of villages. To improve service delivery, better manage inventory, deploy veterinarians, and manage their routes, the union had established a centralized veterinary call centre staffed at all hours of the day. The call centre had resulted in considerable savings in the cost of service and improved the efficiency of service delivery. The managing director of Kaira Union wanted to extend the call centre to include the union’s operations in the states of Maharashtra and West Bengal. However, he was not sure whether the current architecture was capable of facing the challenge. Kaira Union needed to develop a proposal for the expansion.

Learning Objective:
This case will be useful for MBA courses on supply chain and information systems management. The case requires a basic understanding of supply chain management, exposure to IT infrastructure, software engineering principles, and enterprise systems like enterprise resource planning. The objectives of the case are to help students understand the following concepts:
  • Service-oriented architecture principles for small entrepreneurs in the supply chain
  • Use of IT-enabled services through the Internet of Things

CasesBhatnagar, Navneet;  Ramachandran, Kavil. "Ketan Logistics-Charting the Next Route", 2016Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Entrepreneurship 
Industry: Transportation & warehousing
Length: 13p
Subjects covered: Corporate governance; Entrepreneurship; Family businesses; Family-owned businesses; Leadership & Managing people; Stewardship; Succession issues
Publication Date: July 11, 2016
Rohit Gupta, the oldest third generation member of a family business, has to decide whether to continue working for the business, towards which he has a strong sense of loyalty and responsibility, or follow his dreams and venture out on his own. Both alternatives have strong positive and negative implications. Rohit jointly headed the Western India unit of his family business, Ketan Logistics Limited (KLL). His grandfather had set up KLL, a logistics provider, in 1986. Over the years, the company expanded its fleet, acquired a license to operate freight trains, and diversified into ocean freight services and the transportation of large industrial equipment and food products. By 2014, it had become an integrated, multimodal logistics provider to business customers. KLL's operations were divided into four geographic zones, each headed by one of the second generation family members, i.e., Rohit's father and uncles. KLL took several measures to professionalize operations, such as deploying enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, adopting a code of conduct and organizing employee training and workshops. After graduating from college, all the third generation members of the family, except one, joined KLL. Some of them, like Rohit, had high aspirations and wanted to make changes at KLL, but their attempts invariably met with strong resistance. This led to frustration among some next generation members who had considered venturing out on their own at different points in time. Rohit also had a business idea, which he shared with his old friend Amit Goyal who also belonged to a business family. Goyal liked the idea instantly and offered to invest in the new venture. Rohit was emotionally attached to his father and other family members and did not want KLL to suffer as a result of his exit. He also had to consider his own hopes and future. He would not easily get an opportunity again to launch his own venture. Rohit was facing a tough decision dilemma.

Learning objective:
The case aims to help the audience recognize and effectively manage the challenges faced by family businesses in grooming and nurturing entrepreneurship in the next generation of family members.
The specific learning objectives are:
  • How the next generation members can decide whether to join or continue in the family business or start their own new venture.
  • Recognizing the need for clarity within family about the vision, business strategy & governance with clear policies on ownership & reward.

CasesAwate, Snehal.,, Mudambi R.,, Narain A. "Balancing the power equation: Suzlon Energy Ltd", 2016
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