ISPP holds panel discussion on Public Policy Careers in the corporate sector

The country needs public policy professionals to handle its complex governance challenges. The youth want to be the change they wish to see, and are, hence, keen to embark on this career path. The Government as well as corporate bodies are increasingly becoming open to attracting such talent in their policy-making exercises. In addition, career opportunities in the public policy domain have grown manifold over the past few years in India, both across the public and private sectors.

Keeping the rising demand for this career choice, the ISPP organized a panel discussion with Arun Bhagat (President – Corporate Affairs & Advocacy, GMR Group), Mandar Kagade (Head, Public Policy & Outreach, RupeePower), Vineeta Hariharan (Senior Leadership – Public Policies and Programmes – GoI and Multilaterals), Ashish Aggarwal (Senior Director and Head – Public Policy, NASSCOM) and Chetan Krishnaswamy (Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia, Google) on the topic: Public Policy Careers in the Corporate Sector. The event was moderated by Rajesh Chakrabarti (Professor and Dean, Jindal Global Business School, Jindal Global University), on May 25, at the Constitution Club, New Delhi.

The session began with an introduction to the ISPP by Dr. Parth J. Shah, Founder & Director, the ISPP and President – Centre for Civil Society, and was followed by the panel discussion that addressed key questions such as the state of public policy making in India and the role of the corporate sector, the need for policy making minds in the corporate sector in India, comparison of a corporate’s engagement in public policy outside India, the future of policy making in the corporate sector, careers for graduates in policy making and talent skills expected, amongst others. Expressing his views on public policy as a career, Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia, Google said: “Public policy, as a profession, has undergone a rapid evolution in India over the past few years, especially in the corporate sector. Unlike many other professions, public policy often welcomes individuals from incredibly diverse educational backgrounds and work experiences. Strong analytical and interpersonal skills, along with the ability to distil complicated developments in a manner that they are easy to grasp for non-experts, are arguably the two most vital requirements from a public policy professional. The profession is bound to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.” Ashish Aggarwal, Senior Director and Head – Public Policy, NASSCOM, spoke about public policy still being an emerging space India. He emphasized on the scope for development this domain has to offer, adding that those entering this space, at this point in time, are set to see a challenging yet expansive career. “Select domain expertise and experiential learning would be crucial,” he added. Mandar Kagade, Head, Public Policy & Outreach, RupeePower, one of the eminent panellists, emphasized on public policy being an important career option for the reason that it serves as a vital interface between the government and the corporates, adding value to both ends. He added that soft skills, with focus on communication, and hard skills including a macro understanding of law/economy, besides others, were important skill sets required by a public policy professional.

Speaking on the occasion, Vineeta Hariharan, Senior Leadership – Public Policies and Programmes (GoI and Multilaterals), added: “Today is the right time for individuals to embark on a career in public policy. Private and public sectors need trained professionals in this domain. A course in public policy is vital to speed track one’s career in the public sphere, and for the youth to be educated and trained to contribute towards nation building.” Arun Bhagat, President- Corporate Affairs & Advocacy, GMR Group mentioned that though public policy was not seen as an integral part of a business in earlier times, times have, now, seen significant change, ensuring that public policy is being seen as an emerging career choice. According to him, the skill sets required for a professional in this domain may be varied, but focus is on communication skills, panoramic knowledge and awareness, as well as basic intelligence. 

Post the panel discussion, questions were taken, by the panellists, from an enthusiastic audience, who continued to interact with the some of the panellists over a networking lunch.

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