Super 30: Educating the Elite Poor

Case Solution

Prithwiraj Choudhury, Tarun Khanna, Shreya Ramachandran
Harvard Business School ()

In the summer of 2019, S. K. Shahi and her daughter Meenakshi faced a difficult problem in New Delhi. India had 19 centers from its non-profit organization, the Center for Social Responsibility and Leadership. Also known as the “Super 30” program, this program offered 30 or sometimes 50 or 100 high school graduates, selected for their performance, free training for the rigorous India Engineering Entrance Exam, the Joint Entrance Exam . Shahi and Meenakshi managed these centers with corporate social responsibility funds donated by large Indian state-owned companies and some private companies. They had been in operation for more than a decade, with alumni working in universities, high-tech companies, and education graduating from the best universities in India. Now they faced a difficult decision: should they expand into the great metropolises of New Delhi; Kanpur; Mumbai, what would attract talented young people from all over India? Or, given India’s remote regions and uneven distribution of income and education, was it better to expand into these difficult regions to help those most in need? Another cause for concern is the operational and logistical costs of operating centers in different parts of the country. What was the best way to go: city or town, urban or remote? New Delhi or Kashmir?

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