Managers, policymakers, and leaders are often presented with data and evaluation techniques, then tasked with deciding whether to go ahead with the strategy or policy. This fictional case aims to build a basic framework to understand how one can determine whether a particular business strategy or economic policy “works.” It offers an overview of commonly used evaluation strategies and their associated pitfalls, through the lens of Ramesh Sharma, the CEO of a large nongovernmental organization, who has to decide how to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program to female entrepreneurs.
The case is used at Darden in a second-year elective on “India in the Global Economy.” It is taught in the second week of the course with the aim of introducing students to basic methods for rigorously evaluating their business and policy decisions. While directly pertinent to the course on India, this case builds a general framework on evaluation techniques that can be easily extended to other contexts and decisions. Therefore, it can also be taught in courses in marketing, business strategy, management, operations, policy evaluation, and ethics.