LinkedIn India Head's Fastest Partnership Was With the Modi Government

LinkedIn India Head's Fastest Partnership Was With the Modi Government
  • LinkedIn India head says MoU with the government is his fastest deal
  • He reveals how HRD Minister helped LinkedIn bring Placements to students
  • He also gives tips on how to prepare while dealing with government

LinkedIn India on Wednesday announced that it has partnered with the Indian government to bring its new product, Placements, to all colleges affiliated with AICTE. Students who register on Placements will be one step closer to securing a job in one of India's 35 big corporates, as the tool is claimed to create a level playing field for them, irrespective of colleges.

Calling the Placements launch figures "staggering," LinkedIn India head Akshay Kothari revealed that over 200,000 students have signed up for the product within eight weeks. He also said that the platform has received more than 1.2 million applications for the jobs on offer.

But more interesting than these figures is the tale behind how Kothari and his team secured the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Narendra Modi government to bring Placements to all AICTE-affiliated colleges.

In a post on LinkedIn's publishing platform Pulse, Kothari writes how his opinion on working with the government changed after his dealings with the MHRD in the Modi government, and gives tips on how to proceed if you are planning to liaise with the government for a project.

Here are excerpts from Kothari's post:

Up until a few months ago, I had never met anyone from the Indian government. Not a minister, not a secretary, not even an employee. I felt the government was out of reach - you needed to know someone who knows someone in the government to even have a meeting. And because I didn't know anyone, I always dismissed the government as "too bureaucratic." Many people probably still think so, but I'm going to tell you a story about the current government that will likely change this thinking.

About 3 months ago, I wanted to connect with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to talk about the work LinkedIn was doing in India. We took a chance and requested a meeting with the Honorable Minister. To my surprise, Shri Prakash Javadekar agreed to meet first thing the next morning. I got on a flight to Delhi and was at his residence at 9AM.

Initially he seemed quite immersed in his own thoughts. He looked up and said "Acha, tell me." I went ahead and gave him a 2-minute introduction to LinkedIn, something I had rehearsed a few times in my head. He nodded, listening intently, all while juggling a phone call and staffers bringing him more folders. After I finished, he said, "That sounds great. How can I help?" Taken aback by the welcoming nature of his question, I went ahead and talked about all the incredible data LinkedIn has and how it can help transform education and employment in India. I also showcased some of this data by sharing with him a printout of LinkedIn City Insights, which provided a snapshot of professionals in Bengaluru. He nodded, taking in everything. Then, on the back of the printout, he wrote my name in pencil and took down my phone number.

He wished me well and told me that he looks forward to working together. Now, all of this happened in such a compressed time frame that I really didn't know what to tell him and how to chart our "working together." I thanked him for his time and took off. As I was leaving his residence, I couldn't help but feel slightly dejected.

I realized this might have been the shortest meeting I have ever been part of. And because it was so short, I didn't think anything would come out of it.

A few weeks later, I received a phone call from a Delhi landline number. The caller said that he was speaking from MHRD and that the Additional Secretary R. Subrahmanyam would like to meet with LinkedIn. Elated, I committed to reaching out and meeting with him on my next visit to Delhi.

This time, I prepared better. I took my colleague and our newest hire, Sehraj Singh, with me. He helped make our story a lot crisper, and our potential collaboration areas, a lot clearer. We also prepared to showcase our new Placements platform, and how this could be a potential game changer for all colleges in India.

When we sat down for the meeting with Shri Subrahmanyam, I noticed the printout which I had handed to Minister, on his table. The phone number in pencil was still on it. He looked up to me and said "The Minister told me about your meeting. He mentioned that we can do something together to improve employability for college students. Can you please share details?"

We went straight into our demo, showing him how Placements worked. In a matter of seconds, he sensed the potential of the platform, and even started quizzing us on product improvements and enhancements that could increase scale and have an even greater impact. He showed a keen interest in learning about our testing partners and soon after said, "This makes sense. Let's work with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and put together a MoU that pushes this product to Indian colleges." 

In less than 10 minutes, he completely understood the product, realized how it could benefit Indian colleges and already charted the path forward.

Few days later, our CEO Jeff Weiner came to India to launch several products that were made in India, including Placements. We got an opportunity to discuss and share these products with Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Subsequently, we also met with MHRD and AICTE to finalize the details of the MoU. Teams on both sides moved incredibly fast, and the agreement to push Placements to every AICTE affiliated college in India was recently signed.

Kothari's advice to those who aim to work with the government in the future is:

Align to the government's priorities
The products we launched in September are closely aligned to StartUp India, Digital India and Skills India. This helped us have a meaningful conversation with the government officials.

Make your asks clear and succinct
It is far easier to chart the course of your partnership with the government if you let them know which part you need action on and exactly how they can help. In our case, we wanted all AICTE affiliated colleges and their students to have access to the Placements product. Signing the MoU was the next step!

Invest in public policy
You need a person that understands how to work with the government, and aligns with some of the key initiatives you are driving for your company. Investing in a public policy professional helped us get meaningful meetings, which drove tangible results.

You can read Kothari's complete post here.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on X, Facebook, WhatsApp, Threads and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you want to know everything about top influencers, follow our in-house Who'sThat360 on Instagram and YouTube.

OnePlus 4 Tipped to Sport Snapdragon 830 SoC, Launch in June-July
Share on Facebook Gadgets360 Twitter Share Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment google-newsGoogle News


Follow Us
© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Trending Products »
Latest Tech News »