Early Careers in​ Public Policy

Mansi Garg

Fundamentals of PUBLIC POLICY is An Online Spring School Program, A Four-Week Immersive Online Introductory Certificate Training Course conducted in March 2023. The third speaker for the day was Mr Yash Agarwal​​​, Founder​, ​Public Policy India. He opened up by sharing his own experience in the field.  I talked to multiple new people every day almost for 2000 people in the last four years about careers right and just mentoring people to help build careers in this broader policy government space. Mr. Agarwal answered questions from the audience, providing valuable advice and perspectives on entering the public policy domain.

Key Points Discussed:

Diverse Career Paths

Mr. Agarwal highlighted that impactful careers in public policy are not limited to working for the government or as civil servants. He emphasized that the private sector in India is increasingly playing a significant role in shaping policies, providing ample opportunities for individuals outside of government positions.

Opportunities for Students

Addressing the concerns of first-year students and those in school (10th to 12th grade) who aspire to enter the public policy domain, Mr. Agarwal stressed the importance of creating opportunities for oneself. He encouraged proactive networking, reaching out to professionals, and showcasing how one can add value to potential employers or mentors.

Relevance of Skills

In response to questions about the skills needed for a career in public policy, Mr. Agarwal emphasized the significance of soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, and stakeholder management. He also highlighted the value of broad knowledge across various policy areas.

Master’s Degree

Regarding the necessity of a master’s degree in public policy, Mr. Agarwal suggested that gaining work experience and building a strong work portfolio could be more important than having a specific degree. He mentioned that many professionals in the field prioritize work credentials over academic qualifications.

Data Analytics and Tech Skills

Mr. Agarwal acknowledged the growing role of data analytics in public policy and encouraged individuals, especially those with engineering backgrounds, to acquire data analytics skills like R, Python, and data visualization as valuable add-ons to their skill set.

Function and Vertical

Mr. Agarwal introduced the concept of “function” (professional skills) and “vertical” (policy area). He explained how professionals can leverage their existing function, such as engineering, and apply it to a specific vertical, like education policy, to transition into the public policy field effectively.

Career Transition

Mr. Agarwal encouraged individuals to view their existing skills as assets rather than liabilities when transitioning into a career in public policy. He emphasized that these skills can serve as a solid foundation for a successful career in the field.


Mr. Yash Agarwal’s session provided valuable insights into early careers in public policy. His comprehensive discussion covered diverse pathways into the field, networking strategies, the importance of soft skills, and the role of data analytics. His practical and pragmatic approach to career development in public policy resonated well with the audience, making the session informative and insightful.

Acknowledgement: Mansi Garg is a research intern at IMPRI.

Teaser Youtube Video of Fundamentals in Public Policy Programme: https://youtube.com/shorts/mf-BjX1_C0c?si=_jvSuMkk5GrGkD8B.

Read more session reports on web and policy learning events conducted by IMPRI:

Using Feedback Loops for Policy-making.

Peace, Conflict & Social Work.


  • Samprikta Banerjee

    IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.