Why You Must Not Miss The VIF Policy BootCamp This Summer
Public Policy influences us every day, in every sphere of our lives - right from shopping, to the kind of food we eat, the roads we travel on, the water we drink, the income we save, the books we read - everything. Despite its sweeping significance, it's understanding has been considered limited to the elite circles of bureaucrats, researchers, politicians, lawyers, etc., instead of the common man.
Vision India Foundation's Policy BootCamp, a first of its kind in the country, is a 21-day residential summer school that seeks to engage bright young minds in public policy - 150 delegates from across the world, selected through a rigorous 3-stage process to filter the best talent committed to nation building.Over 50 experts mentor the delegation through the 21-days via multiple in-class and on-field components. VIF has served its audience very well in trying to ease out entry barriers for these young minds and also co-creating with them, a space to nurture such ideas and sustain 'immediate systemic reform' that the country needs.
Go on to read the ten reasons why you must apply for the PBC this year:
1. Peers - a dynamic crowd enthused for the nation
There is nothing more exciting and motivating than finding a bunch of people each of whom are desperate to change the state of affairs that are serving as a hindrance to the development of the nation. More than anything else, it is reassuring to know that there are more like-minded people out there who are willing to go all out, to change the status quo as well as preserve all that is meant to be learned from it. Last year's delegation can be seen here.
2. Speakers – Learn from who’s who of India’s public policy
Right from the academic backing of professors from Cornell to the consultancy experiences of Mckinsey and Sequoia Capital, to hearing our Cabinet Ministers and Principal Secretaries speak. Sarpanchs of model villages and social leaders sharing their rich experiences, to heads of think tanks such as the World Bank and J-PAL, to experts from academia - the immense variety is simply mind boggling. The speaker list can be seen here.
3. Activities - Idea Haat, Movie Making, Policy Project, Endless discussions
Deadlines at the PBC - they keep you on your toes, both intellectually and physically. Preparing a policy project on a topic that one would want to dedicate 10 years of your life, in a matter of merely four days; to shooting a film in 48 hours on an abstract yet deeply philosophical theme 'BeAndMake' (which is VIF's guiding mantra); coming up with an idea as well as the plan to implement, for display to the entire delegation and PBC guests, within a day - they're all just a sneak peak into what the level of activity is like, and mind you, all of these were alongside the daily classroom sessions that occupied almost 6-8 hours of each day during the camp.
4. Alumni Sessions - Outstanding and deeply supportive alumni base
Getting to interact with the VIF Alumni on matters ranging from fun-facts on boot camp survival tactics, to analytically decoding the social media information emotional quotient. Their experiences of extensive field work from Himachal Pradesh to Odisha, and from agriculture to social media is awe-inspiring, to say the least. And these are interactions are not a casual hello, alumni at VIF are long-term colleagues in the nation-building movement.
5. Change Agents Network aka CAN: A private Facebook for change agents
What was initially used as a medium for the online engagement within the delegation, has now evolved into a platform for bringing the pan-India network of change agents. In fact, it is still used to question conventions and thereby give shape to public discourse by engaging the intellect of all the passionate people on CAN. See more about CAN here.
6. Discussions: From Foreign policy to Climate Change to Indic frameworks
The delegates come from a diverse set of backgrounds - both academically and professionally and bring with them a multitude of ideas and experiences. Discussions during the BootCamp more often than not ran late into the night. There was a designated place called the 'Adda', exclusively for these discussions and this served to complement the formal sessions.
7. Career Opportunities:
Interactions with senior management from corporates, heads of think tanks, as well as teams from the Government looking for consultancy roles have opened up possibilities of career opportunities that have extended long after the BootCamp. This continues till today with continuous updates on vacancies, through CAN. What else can one ask for! This organic method of keeping people connected is indeed fascinating, almost as if the labour force markets in Policy are moving filling the demand-supply gaps.
8. Long term guidance: One-to-one mentoring throughout
Policy entrepreneurs are quite a rare breed. Getting to interact with, live with and grow with some from this rare breed, aka the VIF Core team, was nothing short of inspiring. The one to one mentoring continued not just during the BootCamp but also after it. It is not easy to pull off an event the scale of the BootCamp and the team has managed to pull off two successful editions of the PBC in less than 1.5 years since their inception! Have a look at the VIF team over here.
9. Push limits: Intellectually and Physically
Morning yoga. Breakfast. Reach in time for speaker sessions. Pay full attention during talks. Take notes diligently. Eat a filling lunch (policy education requires energy). Battle lethargy in the graveyard shift (post lunch hours). Pay attention during talks. Discuss projects. Learn from people's experiences. Remember them, all of them. Do the pre-reads. Have tea. Do a recap. Share experiences. Have dinner. Listen to your peers share their vast wealth of knowledge. Internalise this information. Discuss in Adda. Take a stroll. Discuss in the Adda. Sleep. Repeat. I didn't know this routine was humanly possible. The BootCamp clearly showed us, it was.
10. Multiple dimensions
Leaders are needed not just in Policy, but in just every domain, and Policy Bootcamp caters to that too! With shark-tank style start-up pitches to VC firms like Unitus Seed Fund and Sequoia Capital, as well Grassroots work mentoring from Organisations like Shivganga and Pratham, boot camp covers it all!
They say, the Pen is the weapon of the writer, but the only weapon each of us at the Policy BootCamp was armed with, was 'The Open Mind of a Sincere Seeker'.
Come, join the community!
Applications for the 2017 cohort is open! Apply here.
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