Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2012 (Revised September 2015)

Doing Business in India

by Andy Zelleke, Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Saloni Chaturvedi


The case is set in August 2012—a time when India was undergoing policy stasis as several key reforms were stalled and the government faced allegations of misallocation of coal production licenses. The first part of the case provides a brief background on India's history—from the Indus Valley civilization to the independence struggle; the political system—a parliamentary democracy characterized by coalition governments; cultural diversity; and the transformation of India's economy from state-centric and one with a complex system of licences and investment restrictions, to a more liberalized, market-based one. The second part of the case focuses on the key challenges of doing business in India—excessive and often unclear regulations, lack of optimal talent and infrastructure—contrasting these with the benefits of a large growing middle class and a young workforce. Some of these challenges are illustrated through the discussion of a decision that an investment firm must make, on whether or not to invest in the education sector in India, given the regulatory environment and the challenges around escalating real estate prices and lack of skilled teachers that the sector faces.

Keywords: emerging market finance; emergent countries; strategy; business history; Economic History; fieldwork; Emerging Markets; Business Ventures; Strategy;


Zelleke, Andy, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, and Saloni Chaturvedi. "Doing Business in India." Harvard Business School Case 713-430, September 2012. (Revised September 2015.)