Itika's reflections as she moves to Harvard for an MPA

Itika’s Background

An aeronautical engineer by training, Itika Gupta pivoted her career to the development sector after attempting the civil services examination for a few years. Owing to her interest in the governance space, Itika joined the program team for the Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associates (CMGGA) program in 2017 after completing the Young India Fellowship. She has played a pivotal role in building the CMGGA program from strength to strength. Itika’s expertise lies in streamlining complex operations, managing diverse projects, mapping out processes, and cultivating strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Her strengths include working well in fast-paced environments and this is what has helped her involvement in the cross-functional CMGGA team for the past three years. The program has now scaled up to two other states (Punjab and Delhi) over the years, and Itika feels that the team is only getting bigger and better with time.

According to Itika, working with the CMGGA program team allowed her to learn how governance systems work and understand the unique value proposition of academia working with the governments. With her role also connecting with a set of young professionals every year, Itika believes mentoring them enriched her experience even more so.

Masters and Next steps

Itika says that the application process is tedious and tough, but identifying the right course for yourself is half the job done.

"Don’t go by labels and get lost in the definition of MPP vs MPA vs MBA. Choose the school & course that provides with the subjects that appeal to you and fit well with your study plans."

The class profile was another important factor for her while making the decision.

When it comes to writing SOPs, there is no substitute for a good amount of research on what the school wants, speaking to alumni, and reflecting on your journey. Itika candidly admits that she was scared about the gap years in her resume due to the civil service attempts. However, she realized if you can dwell upon how your experiences shaped you to date, you are good. Lastly, just go give that exam be it GRE or GMAT! More importantly, don’t quit your job over it.

Itika is a strong proponent of the need for more women in leadership roles and wishes to continue working in this space.

Itika’s Resource Recommendations for Public Policy Aspirants

● Editorial columns published at Indian Express and The Hindu

● Amit Varma’s Podcast — The Seen and the Unseen

● Harappa Ed Courses Refer to this article to read more about the fellowships that Itika managed and scaled.

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