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.

CasesKajari Mukherjee, Sanjay Goel. "Sandu Pharmaceuticals: Family Dynamics and Succession", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: General Management/Strategy, Entrepreneurship, International
Industry: Health Care Services
Length: 10p
Subjects covered: family business, succession, three circle model, unwilling successors
Publication Date: June 28, 2019
Sandu Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Sandu Pharmaceuticals) was a publicly listed company operating in the pharmaceuticals and health care sector. It manufactured Ayurvedic medicines. Incorporated in 1985, the company traced its history back over more than a century. The third generation was at the helm of the firm in September 2016. The company’s director, was thinking about how previous successive generations in the family had handled the challenge of absorbing family members into the business, and in particular about whether he was doing enough to prepare the next generation to take over a business that was bound to grow more rapidly in the future, given the growing concern worldwide about the cost of allopathic health care and demand for less invasive and more holistic treatments.

Learning objective:
The case can be used in a session devoted to succession planning in a family business course, both in graduate and undergraduate programs. It can also be used to understand family dynamics in the context of the confusion between ownership rights and an entitlement mindset among some family members. It effectively illustrates that mere legal succession is not of critical importance in a family firm—more important is the acceptance of the new leader by employees as well as family members. The case would be particularly useful in executive programs or management development programs aimed at experienced and active family business members. After completion of this case, students will be able to


  • Discuss how each generation of a family business must grapple with the challenges of handing over the reins to the next generation; it is a learning process for both generations;
  • Consider issues of succession from the first to the second generation, relationships among siblings and cousins, and the distribution of individual power in a family firm;
  • Understand formal institutions and mechanisms of family governance (e.g., a family constitution); and
  • Use various frameworks and tools to analyze a family business.

CasesS.R. Asokan, Harekrishna Misra. "Amalsad Cooperative: Process Innovation in Commodity Trading", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: General Management/Strategy,  International
Industry: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Length: 15p
Subjects covered: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
In June 2017, executives from Amalsad Vibhag Vividh Karyakari Sahakari Khedut Mandali Ltd. (Amalsad Cooperative) met to consider possible changes to the cooperative’s interventions in commodity marketing, particularly, whether further interventions would benefit member farmers. Linking a unique reward and penalty scheme to the grade supplied by the farmers and directly supplying produce to the terminal market in Delhi had resulted in a 15 per cent increase in the farmers’ income. Streamlining the entire process—from receiving the commodity, grading and sorting the supply, to paying the farmers—had considerably reduced delays. The chairperson of the Amalsad Cooperative, which covered farmers from 17 villages near the town of Amalsad, in India, was pleased that reengineering the commodity marketing process had not only fetched a better price but had also eliminated the inefficiencies associated with marketing through the traditional channel—the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee trading yards, or mandies. However, he wondered whether further refining the grades would enhance the income of the members and asked his executives what other processes could be modified to benefit the members, especially in rendering services.

Learning objective:
The case can be used in courses like agribusiness, supply-chain management, strategic marketing, and process innovation in graduate and executive-level programs After completing the case and answering the assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:


  • Explain the agriculture produce commodity marketing and supply chain in a developing country like India.
  • Compare and contrast the business model followed by cooperatives with those of other forms of business.
  • Describe the complexities involved in reengineering the process of commodity marketing to make it more efficient.
  • Outline the role of information technology in improving agricultural commodity marketing and providing financial services to the cooperative’s farmer members.

CasesChirantan Chatterjee, Vigneshwar Jaiprakash, Geetika Shah. "Journey to $100 Million: Mettl, an Indian Online Assessment Startup", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Entrepreneurship
Industry: Technology
Length: 15p
Subjects covered: Emerging markets, Policy making, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Technology, Business & government relations, Human capital
Publication Date: Jan 31, 2019

The case can be used in a session on entrepreneurship, disruptive technology innovation, or focus as an aspect of strategy. The case profiles Mettl Inc., an Indian online assessment startup, as it lays the groundwork for becoming one of India's first software as a service (SAAS) companies to breach the USD 100 million threshold. Solving for flexibility, system resilience, dispersed geographical spread of candidates and test integrity, Mettl was looking to develop a viable alternative to traditional assessment methods. The case provides an outline of the assessment industry and the factors that influence Mettl's market strategy. Using the personal journeys of Mettl's founders Ketan Kapoor and Tonmoy Shingal as a narrative hook to play itself out, the case traces the conception of their initial vision and examines the market forces that led them to pivot and build a technology platform that delivered assessments. It goes on to chronicle Mettl's journey from the garage to a dedicated office in the Indian National Capital Region (NCR). Successes, setbacks and the factors on which they are predicated are discussed in detail. The case also chronicles various rounds of funding and provides critical insights into the thinking of India's pre-eminent early stage venture capitalists. It then ventures to put this initial success in perspective and asks the hard question about the future of the enterprise: How would Kapoor and Shingal traverse the road to 100 million?

Learning objective:
  • To help students see that technologies, while they have the potential to be disruptive, need to be stewarded to market to be ultimately successful.
  • To set the stage for a discussion on "focus as a key construct of strategy.

CasesSaumya Sindhwani, Lakshmi Appasamy. "Verka: Transforming a 50-Year-Old Government Cooperative Into A Profitable Enterprise", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: General Management
Industry: Dairy products,Agricultural cooperatives
Length: 23p
Subjects covered: Turnaround strategies, Leadership, General management, Competitive strategy, Organizational transformations, State-owned enterprises, Leadership qualities
Publication Date: May 28, 2019

The case, set in August 2017 in the state of Punjab, India, follows the transformational efforts of Manjit Singh Brar, the Managing Director of Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation Limited (Milkfed), the apex body of Punjab's dairy farmers' union. He had taken the reins of the cooperative in March 2015 after holding several top-level administrative positions as a civil servant. At the time of his appointment as the MD, the cooperative was witnessing a decline in its revenue and profit growth. More importantly, Milkfed's brand, Verka, was under siege from Amul, a brand of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which had invaded the Punjab market. Brar was tasked to turn around the cooperative and also to tackle the threat posed by Amul, a pan-national brand that was not only financially resourceful but also managed by a team of dairy technocrats and commercial experts. After securing the government's mandate for his transformation roadmap, Brar rolled out measures to overhaul the organization and shake it out of its bureaucratic complacency. He instituted accountability and efficiency across the organization by implementing commercial management principles and practices. He also put the cooperative on the track to attaining sustained growth in revenue and profitability by revamping its brand positioning, distribution and advertising, and by tweaking the product mix. Brar reinforced Verka's competitive advantage by unleashing defensive strategies and established new means of growing its revenue and market share to fortify its leadership position in the market against Amul. As a financially resourceful brand with a robust procurement network across the nation, Amul was keen on starting a price war in Punjab and disrupting both ends of Verka's value chain. Brar had to find the means to grow Verka's revenue and profits amid tough competition from Amul.

Learning objective:
The case could be used for graduate, post graduate students of business administration as well as EMBA students to teach concepts such as organizational transformation, leadership and competitive strategy. Students will learn to manage the operational constraints of leading change in cooperatives, overcome organizational transformation challenges, plan, implement and lead change, turnaround organization and evaluate competitive positioning and implement right strategies.

CasesSaumya Sindhwani, Lakshmi Appasamy. "Project Sashakt: The Scaling-Up Dilemma of a Women's Empowerment Initiative in India", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Social Enterprise
Industry: Social advocacy organizations
Length: 12p
Subjects covered: Social entrepreneurship, Strategic analysis, Nonprofit organizations, Community development, Strategy, Creating a business case
Publication Date: May 28, 2019

The case, set in October 2017, follows the predicament of two enterprising young women, Saranya Das Sharma (Saranya) and Aamiya Viswanathan (Aamiya ), the founders of Project Sashakt. After learning that a large number of girls dropped out of school after reaching puberty due to lack of access to affordable disposable sanitary napkin and the adverse impact on the environment caused by the rampant use of disposal of non-indegradable sanitary napkins, Saranya and Aamiya founded Project Sashakt (Sashakt). It crowdsourced fund and procured 100% compostable sanitary pads that it distributed free of cost to the beneficiaries in and around Delhi. In addition, Sashakt conducted awareness workshops and outreach programs to educate the girls on MHM and dispel the taboos surrounding menstruation and they eventually extended their outreach programs to nearby slums. Sashakt's suppliers, Aasma Foundation and Aakar Innovations, were supportive of the cause and supplied biodegradable sanitary napkins at subsidized prices. Yet, as Sashakt grew, in order to become financially self-reliant and sustainable, the founders began to seriously consider the idea of vertically integrating the operations by setting up a biodegradable sanitary pad manufacturing unit in a village in Bihar, a state in Eastern India with poor gender parity indicators. They hoped that the manufacturing unit would not only create employment opportunities for disadvantaged rural women but also produce cost-competitive supplies for the project's free distribution drives, thereby scaling the scope and impact of Sashakt. The proposed venture involved a large capital outlay, yet that was the least of their concerns. They were more concerned about the potential implications of a non-profit transitioning into a social enterprise and the challenges and risks involved in setting up - and scaling up - the proposed venture.

Learning objective:
The students can learn to address the issues that surface when a nonprofit entity transitions to a social enterprise. They will learn to evaluate and choose right scaling strategies, assess factors when structuring a social enterprise and manage the risks involved in it. The case is also a good means to expose students to the elements involved in decisions regarding manufacturing strategy and business proposal evaluation, in general.

CasesSwati Sisodia, D.V.R. Seshadri, Ratan Jalan, Prakash Satyavageeswaran. "Fernandez Hospital: Pioneering Excellence in Maternal and Newborn Healthcare", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: SStrategy
Industry: Healthcare
Length: 19p
Subjects covered: Value propositions, Entrepreneurship, Ambidextrous organizations, Marketing, Business models, Competitive advantage, Growth strategy, Strategy, Implementing strategy
Publication Date: Jun 12, 2019

The case explores the journey of Fernandez Hospital (FH) and its evolution from a small maternity clinic to a tertiary-level hospital for women and children with a focus on accessible and high-quality healthcare in the areas of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Evita Fernandez, CEO of FH, was a vocal advocate of natural birth, contrary to the trend towards Caesarean section (C-section) deliveries seen in most hospitals across India. The case is set in the year 2014 and deliberates on the options that Dr. Fernandez had at different stages of FH's journey and the strategic decisions that she and her team made and implemented. It showcases the challenges FH faced in deciding what to do next while keeping its values intact. From studying the case, students will appreciate the need for organizations to develop a framework to help them analyze their current situation, establish priorities, identify opportunities, and make rational and well-informed decisions about the future. Dr. Fernandez had an expansive purpose of enabling safe deliveries in society at large. While an expansion of the existing hospitals may achieve this goal to the limited extent of enabling safe deliveries within her hospitals, it would not result in a much wider preference across the country for natural deliveries over C-section deliveries. The case ends with Dr. Fernandez and her team contemplating various options available to them.

Learning objective:
To understand the business model of an organization, particularly in the healthcare space. To understand different strategic options for growth. To understand and choose from the three value-based strategies, namely, product leadership, customer intimacy and operational excellence. To understand the need for ambidexterity in an organization.

CasesD.V.R. Seshadri, K. Sasidhar. "Grooming Young Graduates as Committed Development Professionals: Dhan Academy and the Dilemma of Doing Well By Doing Good", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Strategy
Industry: Educational services
Length: 28p
Subjects covered: Education, Rural entrepreneurship, Innovation, Learning, Strategy
Publication Date: Jun 17, 2019

DHAN was a non-government organization (NGO) with a difference. It was neither a philanthropic institution nor a service organization but a development organization focused on grassroots development aided by professional management. At the same time, it had a clear vision of being only an enabling institution rather than a directing agency. Dedicated to the mission of poverty eradication through grassroots development action, DHAN had made a significant impact on the Indian scene by 2017. It had touched the lives of 1.5 million households during the course of its nearly 20-year journey and was poised to reach out to another one million households over the next five years. While DHAN initially drove two major thematic interventions to combat poverty, namely, community banking and water management, it made forays into several other domains such as healthcare, education and livelihood generation over a period of time in response to the dynamic requirements of the community of beneficiaries. This case focuses on the story of DHAN's foray into education; more specifically, its pioneering initiative to create an innovative model of management education, which was distinctly oriented to the needs of the development sector. It traces the genesis and evolution of Tata-DHAN Academy (TDA), the process of institution building and the steady and gradual unfolding of its educational model. Finally, the case homes in on the strategic dilemma TDA faces after an eventful 17-year journey, as it stands on the threshold of a new phase, and captures the complexity of the challenges it could encounter going forward.

Learning objective:
  • To explore the complex process of pioneering an innovative model of education and the challenges entailed in mobilizing the required intellectual and financial resources.
  • To highlight the intrinsically evolutionary character of nurturing and stabilizing the model.
  • To underscore the need for institutions to undertake a strategic review periodically to provide them with renewed impetus and a sense of direction.
  • To illuminate the alternative model of active learning and its enormous potential in redefining and enriching the character of classroom.

CasesJitendra Kumar Das, Shilpi Jain, Sriparna Basu, Bishakha Majumdar. "Organic Wellness: Influencing Consumer Decisions via Cause Marketing", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Marketing,  Entrepreneurship,  International
Industry: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Length: 16p
Subjects covered: cause marketing, organic products, entrepreneurship, social media marketing
Publication Date: November 16, 2018
Organic Wellness Products Private Limited (Organic Wellness) was founded in 2015 with the aim to create a sustainable venture for organic products that would boost agricultural entrepreneurship and benefit society by generating rural employment and value creation. By May 2018, Organic Wellness’s market had grown considerably, and the company was exporting to 27 countries around the world and had a pan-Indian presence. While its innovative marketing strategy—free of big spending—had worked well for the organization, the founder needed to decide if he would continue with the same style of cause-related marketing, or whether it was time to invest in marketing channels to create better consumer outreach.

Learning objective:
This case focuses on issues centred on financial sustainability, scalability, and impact maximization in organic farming ventures and their interlinkages. It is recommended for use in a graduate-level course on entrepreneurship and business models; innovative marketing strategy; or social innovation. Students will need a prior understanding of strategic management and marketing concepts. By working through the case and assignment questions, students will have the opportunity to understand the following:
  • The theory of cause-related marketing and the role that emotions play in such marketing campaigns.
  • How applications of the above concepts in marketing strategy can influence people’s decisions and create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
  • The role, challenges, and opportunities of entrepreneurship in agriculture in an emerging market like India.
  • How a start-up enterprise built its capabilities by organically selling through social media, without a sales force.

CasesNeena Sondhi, Rituparna Basu. "Nappa Dori: Crafting the Branding Strategy", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Marketing,  Entrepreneurship,  International
Industry: Retail Trade 
Length: 15p
Subjects covered: marketing, branding strategy, luxury brands, emerging markets
Publication Date: August 30, 2019
The Indian luxury leather brand Nappa Dori, founded in 2010 in Delhi, had a product range that included a luxury line of trunks, bags, accessories, and bespoke projects for its prestigious clients, which included international luxury hotels and airlines. The brand had earned worldwide recognition from global luxury clients, and by 2017, it had seven stores, a design studio, and two caf├ęs in India as well as one destination store at a luxury resort in the Maldives. The company’s self-taught designer-owner wanted his brand to be globally recognized as an affordable luxury brand from India by 2020. However, he often wondered whether his brand story was on the right track. For instance, was it a good idea to expand into related categories while creating a unique user experience? Should Nappa Dori focus on setting up shops in luxury destinations around the world? Did the young brand have the right story to resonate with globe-trotting luxury connoisseurs? To build a global luxury brand, the firm needed to craft a unique experience that resonated with luxury connoisseurs. The founder knew that what had started as an organic exploration into luxury now needed a well-crafted blueprint as it entered the next phase of sustainable growth toward achieving global recognition.

Learning objective:
The case is suitable for use in foundations courses in marketing management, strategic marketing and brand management, and luxury brand management at the graduate level. It provides learners with an opportunity to study the macro-environment of luxury markets and comprehend how they determine a firm’s current and future business strategy in national and global contexts. After completion of this case, students will be able to
  • identify and describe the critical elements of a company’s business and marketing strategy;
  • analyze a luxury brand’s architecture using conceptual brand models;
  • assess the effectiveness of a company’s business performance by analyzing its financial statements from a strategic marketing perspective;
  • identify and evaluate various growth options and branding strategies available to an evolving luxury brand; and
  • identify key elements of the selected strategic alternatives for the brand.

CasesVidya Suresh, M Selvalakshmi. "Smaart Home Furniture: Adding Value by Adding Services", 2019Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: General Management/Strategy,  Entrepreneurship
Industry: Manufacturing
Length: 8p
Subjects covered: services, furniture, scaling up, manufacturing
Publication Date: September 6, 2019
In 2016, the founder and managing director of Smaart Home Furniture, a furniture manufacturer in southern India, faced a dilemma. Although the business remained profitable, it was facing stiff competition from local players, branded and non-branded players, and online retail stores. The founder and managing director was considering extending his manufacturing business by also offering sofa servicing, which would require changes in the company’s production, organization, and management. It would also require a rethinking of the firm’s approach and interaction with its consumers. Should he start offering services? If so, should sofa servicing be launched as a separate entity or as part of the offerings of the existing manufacturing unit?

Learning objective:
This case is intended for an undergraduate- or graduate-level course on general management, strategic management, or services marketing. It is also suitable for courses related to the service industry and small enterprise management. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
  • demonstrate the interdependency between the manufacturing sector and the services sector;
  • explain the challenges in marketing both a product and after-sales services;
  • develop the service concept using the flower-of-service framework; and
  • discuss the entrepreneurial business spirit needed to look beyond the obvious.

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