Case Detail

Case Summary

Teach For India: Marketing an Idea

Case Number: 5-413-752, Year Published: 2014

HBS Number: KEL813

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Authors: Julie Hennessy; Charag Krishnan

Key Concepts

Branding, Education, Global Strategy, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Marketing, Social Responsibility


In 2008, Shaheen Mistri, founder of the nonprofit Teach For India (TFI), was grappling with applying and adapting the successful U.S.-based Teach For America and UK-based Teach First models to meet the challenges of the education sector in India. The case provides a review of the U.S.- and UK-based models as well as the factors that drove their growth in their respective markets. However, the adaptation of these models to create a business model and recruitment model that could succeed in the Indian context was not straightforward. The case describes a number of ways that the challenges in India differ from those of the United States and United Kingdom—namely, the size and magnitude of educational inequity, the motivations of undergraduate students as potential teacher-volunteers, the role that parents play in making career decisions for their children, and the attitudes of Indian school officials.

Students reading the case will discuss the roles of various constituencies involved in these models. After identifying how crucial constituencies are served by the U.S. and UK models, they will then brainstorm concrete ways that these models could be adjusted for India in order to successfully recruit Mistri's first cohort of TFI fellows.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the case, students should be able to:

  • Understand that crucial constituencies and value propositions often change as a for-profit or nonprofit business moves from one country (or part of the world) to another
  • Apply the disciplines of market positioning of for-profit businesses (target market selection, frame of reference, and point of difference or superiority) to a nonprofit business
  • Create value propositions for the various constituencies of a nonprofit organization, including volunteers, funders, and aid recipients

Number of Pages: 16

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: India

Industry: Education

Organization Name: Teach For India

Organization Size: Medium

Decision Maker Position: Founder

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2008