Shatakshi Sharma is the Co-founder of Global Governance Initiative, a practical MBA and MPP program. Shatakshi has previously worked in the consulting sector at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and is passionate about creating innovative communities for students.
Why did you start Global Governance Initiative?
As a 24-year-old young professional working for the Indian government, I realized my privilege of frequently being in rooms where public policy was being shaped. That’s when I also noticed that I was often the only woman — and the only person under the age of 30 — present where critical policies on economic and social wellbeing were being formed.
“That lack of representation really hit me”. I also realized that a lot of youngsters would want to trade places with me in the sense that they too would want to be in a position to work in nudging public policies.
That’s when Naman (GGI Cofounder) and I decided to “create a globally inclusive world for youth and women by rebuilding the 20th-century through practical business and policy education” through our real world application based MPP and MBA Programs
How does Global Governance Initiative ensure the world is better equipped to handle crises like the current one prevailing in Russia and Ukraine?
At GGI, we never just teach product management, strategy, or operations. We also teach through practical cases on climate impact, humanitarian investing, liberal arts, and ethics and that too GGIians learn directly from business and society leaders.
Our generation needs to learn not just how to become CEOs, CXOs but also leaders. One becomes a leader by questioning the status quo within the internationally diverse cohort, the way we do it at Global Governance Initiative.
We contribute by fostering leadership in next-generation global leaders so such situations don’t occur at all or we better manage them through new faces of capitalism (eg- humanitarian impact investing that World Economic Forum also looks into).
How can politics be a more core part of educational curriculums?
I believe the Delhi Government in India is a fantastic example of politics and education intertwined. Similarly, during my experience in the Middle East, we were also looking at how education can be transformed to reduce extremism at the ground level.
Nassim Taleb famously talks about skin in the game. So, either we need well-educated politicians who care about the cause or politics will not talk to education till the top boss incentivizes the states (eg- a system largely making Indian school education system successful where public schools’ learning outcomes are monitored).
The biggest travesty of any nation is wrong people occupying important positions. We at GGI are fixing this by making well-informed and educated youngsters start occupying important positions in business and society.
Being political in the workspace often leads to negative consequences for employees. How can workspaces be made more politically inclusive and conducive for discussing opinions?
I believe politics exist when there are more than 2 people involved- so office politics is inevitable.
A part of it is also fruitful- if you read what Yuvah Harari wrote in Sapiens- gossip has helped humankind to form better communities than the rest of the species.
Having said this- we need to make sure
A. Organizations and Form don’t overhire because it typically leads to unproductive employees getting involved in nonsense politics. Eventually leading in situations like where Better.com sits today with massive firing (for no fault of employees)
B. Typically office politics is an outcome of information asymmetry and toxic competition. If you kill both then, one could create a better conducive ecosystem. As an ex- BCGer, I like the management consulting model wherein you define your own journey. You own a module end to end.
You have around 1,00,000 followers on your LinkedIn. Can you tell us five top strategies for LinkedIn marketing?
This one is hard because I genuinely think a large part is also luck. Having said this, I’ll still try to innumerate 3-
1. Topics- I believe a few topics resonate well with my LinkedIn audience (eg- Consulting, Work-Life- latter for the right reason because everyone is tired of working 13-15 hours every day)
2. Authenticity- I have never created a facade for myself. Have always just penned down honest stories of my life.
3. Being regular- I wasn’t very regular before. But now, I do spend time thinking, writing, polishing, and writing more frequently. I also think because I love writing, a large part of it is also organic. You can’t win it till you really enjoy it.
Do you think governance is getting more globalized or localized? How?
It is certainly getting more local- because of trends such as a pandemic, supply over-dependence on China, rising oil prices due to Ukraine- Russian war.
However, it needs to be both. I have been involved in good governance for India and at the same time, there is the importance of international organizations such as the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in cases of extremists events in Afghanistan or fragile situations in Ukraine.
There has been a rise in people traveling to space and wanting to travel to space. How is space travel influencing governance, if at all?
It is definitely rising- you are right.
Without naming the nation-state, I was involved in drafting and strategizing space policy for a nation.
Space is always important from a security point of view and will always be a source of power on a multi-dimensional axis (economics, soft, military, etc.)
The Indian Government for example for a fraction of cost did an outstanding job with the Mars mission.
Hence space is playing an even more important role by bringing a higher sense of nationalism in the society when Mars mission-like programs take place by any country.
How can we ensure greater participation of the youth in governance?
Through 2 methods-
1. Increased roles for youngsters- A positive trend we are witnessing across governments worldwide for roles as varied as cybersecurity, data modeling, research, cross-functional problem-solving.
2. Advocacy- We need better and well-read youngsters and citizens (not informed through misinformation channels such as WhatsApp).
Youngsters have the power of voice if raised strategically and politely well- can bring massive transformations in governance in both national and international areas, provided governments are smart enough for feedback from the ground up!