Policy Wonk - Lopa Banerjee

What do you do as a brilliant student with a knack for economic policy and administration? You quit an MNC job and clear one of the most challenging government examinations within months. And that’s how you use your intellect for the nation and dive into policymaking.

Lopa was a class topper in her school days. But she says she never liked school. After school, her knack was for studying mathematics. Her cousin, a Ph D from the Kellogg School of Management, advised her to choose Economics instead. 

She attended Presidency College’s Economics department for her B Sc in Economics. Her most enriching education experience so far was attending Jawaharlal Nehru University for her master’s degree.

“We were encouraged to think of solutions out of the textbook. It gave me a perspective on life, my first job and friends for life,” she says. The first job, which she resigned from on the advice of a friend, and after two days of thinking it through. 

After joining the Indian Economic Service (IES) in 2011, she found herself in the policy whirlwind of government. Over the next ten years, she was planning infrastructure financing, measuring policy impact at Niti Aayog, and hawk eyeing turnaround of a few sick public sector enterprises of the textile ministry. 

Now, as a Joint Director with the Commerce ministry, Lopa analyses India’s trade data trends and advises various policymaking arms regulating India’s foreign trade. 

After her exemplary work as a government officer, Lopa decided to experiment with her entrepreneurial goals. The Indian School of Business was the only institute she applied to from India, along with a couple of foreign universities.

She says she joined the Indian School of Business based on her conviction: “Indian corporates can be best understood if you study in a state-of-art Indian business school.” ISB’s global faculty and accomplished alumni were the other reasons that weighed on her decision. 

On completing her education at the ISB, Lopa hopes to work at the intersection of corporate venture and public policy as a strategy consultant. She also harbours some entrepreneurial interests that she would like to pursue.