Business & Government Professional Interest Council
A Student-run Organization at the Harvard Kennedy School | Visit our Facebook page for the latest news & events
Mission: The Business & Government Professional Interest Council serves as the dynamic forum for HKS students and fellows interested in the thought-leadership, partnerships, careers and innovations at the intersection of business and government.
Leadership Team (2017-2018)
Snigdha Kumar, Co-Chair (email)
Snigdha's passion lies in expanding access to financial services for low income populations. She has worked as Product manager at PayActiv and as a management consultant for Dalberg in Asia with a focus on FinTech for social impact. Most recently, she has focused on leveraging employer-based channels to build financial wellness products for wage workers in the US. Previously, she worked on designing digital payment solutions for low-income merchants in Indonesia in collaboration with a telecom company, and evaluating the small holder farmer's financial needs in Sub Saharan Africa for the Gates Foundations. Most recently, she was involved in setting up a large scale public-private partnership (more than 30+ private companies) to expand digital payments for low income population in India in collaboration with USAID and Ministry of Finance. Additionally, she helped design a credit linked digital payment product for small grocery store owner in India in collaboration with a top India FMCG.
Malini Bose, Co-Chair (email)
Malini’s focus is on facilitating partnerships and building consensus on issues at the business-government intersection in emerging markets. As a consultant in the India practice of the Albright Stonebridge Group in New Delhi, she helped multinational companies and non-governmental organizations identify opportunities for investment and expansion, collaborate with the government, and advocate for reform. For example, she steered a UAE-based conglomerate’s $50 million partnership with a local logistics player, and mobilized a lending reform to expand credit in the sanitation sector by engaging with the central bank and Prime Minister’s Office. Over the summer, she helped the Economist Intelligence Unit in New York City evaluate the policy environment for public private partnerships in West Africa and South Asia, and understand the misperceptions that senior business executives harbor about the world’s ten largest economies. At HKS, her primary interest is in cross-sector leadership, negotiation, and advocacy with an emphasis on emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles.
Visraant Iyer, Communications Chair
Visraant Iyer is a Chicago native, and studied Political Science and International Studies at Northwestern. Previously, he worked as a staffer for Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in Washington D.C., as the I.T. Director in Wisconsin for the Hillary for America campaign, and as a supply chain and product manager for McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company. His interests in the realm of business and government include public private partnerships, impact investing, and technology innovations. He is currently entered in the HBS New Venture competition where he is workshopping an idea to help people in urban spaces buy their first homes.
Ilan Slovin, Finance Chair
Prior to joining the MPP program at HKS, Ilan worked as a certified public accountant for Deloitte’s Audit Services practice in Los Angeles. During his time there, he served on a variety of large public-company audit engagements, specializing in the aerospace & defense, technology, and supply chain management industries. His work included extensive analysis around government contracts, international deployments, and significant involvement in internal human capital management initiatives. Born in Cape Town, South Africa and raised in Arizona, Ilan has since come to call California home. At HKS, he’s focused on developing the skills to make an impact in the public-sector, with an emphasis on government performance and innovation, public-private partnerships, economic policy, and educational opportunity.
Florian Ostmann, Corporate Social Responsibility Co-Chair
Florian is a second-year MPP candidate at HKS. He holds a PhD in philosophy and has worked for the United Nations and as a public sector and social impact consultant. Florian has a strong interest in impact investing and corporate responsibility. Within the latter field, he is particularly interested in evolving norms and practices concerning the protection of human rights in international supply chains, standards governing the development and use of emerging digital technologies, and in strategies in the pharmaceutical sector that expand access to essential medicines and promote the development of treatments for neglected diseases.
Sara Kassir, Corporate Social Responsibility Co-Chair
Sara previously worked for Deloitte Consulting's federal practice in Washington, D.C. where she supported clients including the U.S. Department of State, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Postal Service. Her experiences have mostly focused on public sector process improvement and performance management. Sara is particularly interested in the applications of Big Data and metrics to support mission-driven public-private partnerships. During her undergraduate education at Dartmouth College, she interned for the Council on Foreign Relations as well as a variety of government organizations, in addition to studying abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Asad Ramzanali, Fintech Co-Chair
Before joining Harvard Kennedy School, Asad managed entrepreneur outreach and support for the Financial Solutions Lab, an accelerator for financial technology startups sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and run by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. Previously, he was on the Corporate Strategy & Development team at Intuit, where he worked on a broad range on projects and products. Asad is passionate about financial technology (fintech), technology policy, and financial services regulation.
Melina Sanchez Montanes, Fintech Co-Chair
Melina Sánchez Montañés is a MPP Candidate at Harvard Kennedy School concentrating in Business and Government and the co-founder of European Horizons, a transatlantic non-profit think tank. Her interests lay in the intersection of alternative finance and emerging new technologies. Melina spent the last two years working with a fintech startup in New York City, Novus Partners. Prior to joining the private sector, Melina worked for the Spanish government and the European External Action Service in Lima, Caracas and Madrid. She graduated from Yale University in 2015 and is a CAIA Charterholder.
Brett Banker, Government Relations Co-Chair
Brett Banker is a first year Master in Public Policy candidate. Prior to HKS, he worked as a policy analyst at VogelHood Group, a policy research and consulting firm in Washington, DC. In this capacity, he wrote reports on various policy areas for clients and worked directly with clients on their government relations efforts. He previously worked as a health policy research associate for a health care lobbying firm and interned for the Health Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. He holds B.A. in history and political science from Emory University.
Vishnu Rajeev, Government Relations Co-Chair
Vishnu was a strategy consultant for FSG in India. Prior to that, he was a consultant at Monitor Inclusive Markets (MIM) of Monitor-Deloitte, and a research analyst at an energy policy think tank, CEEW. He has experience across multiple sectors including rural energy access, healthcare, sanitation, and slum redevelopment, primarily focusing on improving lives of people living in poverty. He has worked with many clients ranging from multilateral organizations such as World Bank and DFID, private foundations such as Gates Foundation and Packard Foundation, and private firms such as Shell and Omidyar Networks. He has advised one of the largest private foundations in the world to launch their new innovative sanitation technology solution in developing countries. Most recently, he helped a private foundation in understanding the energy-related behaviors and aspirations of the off-grid consumers in India.
Ayushi Gummadi, Impact Investing Co-Chair
Ayushi Gummadi is a dual degree student at The Wharton School and Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to her graduate studies, Ayushi worked for McChrystal Group, a boutique leadership and strategy consultancy focused on scaling the best qualities of small, elite teams to the enterprise level. At McChrystal Group, Ayushi primarily served technology and financial services clients, and traveled extensively to Asia to lead regional client initiatives. Previously, she was a Fulbright Fellow in South Africa where she focused on literacy and entrepreneurship programs for unemployed township youth in the Johannesburg region. Originally from the Bay Area, Ayushi holds an undergraduate degree in Business, International Relations, and Neuroscience from the University of Southern California. Ayushi is passionate about public-private partnerships and particularly interested in the intersection of venture capital and emerging market initiatives.
Riju Agrawal, Impact Investing Co-Chair
Riju is currently pursuing the MPP/MBA joint degree at HKS and HBS. He hopes to use his cross-functional skill set in engineering, public policy, and business to help develop solutions to the global energy crisis. His professional focus is energy development and entrepreneurship in emerging markets, especially India. Prior to graduate school, Riju was a Senior Analyst on the Energy Private Equity team at Blackstone, where he helped execute several large investments in the oil & gas industry. Prior to Blackstone, Riju was on the investment banking team of Morgan Stanley’s Global Energy Group. Riju has also served as a White House Intern, where he worked for the Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change and had the opportunity to draft a white paper for Vice President Biden.
Ben Wang, Political Risk Chair
Ben is a second-year MPP candidate at the Kennedy School. Before graduate school, Ben was a researcher with Eurasia Group, a leading political risk consultancy. As a member of the Asia team in Washington D.C., he advised leading corporations and financial institutions on policy and strategic challenges of doing business in China. He spent the past summer with McKinsey & Company in Greater China, working on public sector projects. Ben's other professional experiences include GeoQuant, a political risk and machine learning start-up, and JD.com, a leading Chinese e-commerce company. Outside of work, he served as President and then Trustee for Global China Connection, a 501c)3 non-profit.
Robert Liu, Public Private Partnerships Chair
Robert is a member of the MPA program. Before coming to HKS, Robert worked as a Research Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House, where he worked on macroeconomics, financial regulation, and infrastructure policy. He has also worked in portfolio management at Goldman Sachs. Robert is deeply interested in the ways that the public and private sectors can work together to tackle large-scale socioeconomic challenges such as infrastructure investment, economic development and climate change, but also to fashion efficient solutions in sectors that serve consumers and enterprises.
Azizjon Azimi, Sustainability Co-Chair
Azizjon Azimi is a first-year Master’s in Public Policy candidate. A native of Tajikistan, he is a Class of 2016 graduate of New York University with Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) degree in economics (high honors) and international relations (honors). Afterward, he worked at United Nations Population Fund and Simon-Kucher & Partners, a strategy & marketing consultancy, in New York. In April 2017, he returned to Tajikistan to launch TajRupt – an NGO pioneering youth access to civic education and renewable energy research. TajRupt is the first NGO from Central Asian region to receive funding from the European Endowment for Democracy.
Bonny Tsang, Sustainability Co-Chair
Bonny Tsang is pursuing a Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is passionate about the intersection of food systems and transportation. Prior to coming to HKS, she was at the New York City Department of Transportation, where she worked to advance agency priorities, including expansion of bike infrastructure and street safety projects. Additionally, she served at the New York City Campaign Finance Board, where she started the agency’s social media channels and administered the debates for the 2013 elections, working with major television networks. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mitch Gainer, Technology Chair
Mitch has a passion working at the intersection of business, government, and technology. He has experience in Private Equity, investing in technology enabling infrastructure in emerging markets. He is also the founder and CEO of CitySense Technologies, an analytics company for local governments. Prior to HKS, Mitch was the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative at the White House. He worked with elected officials, think tanks, businesses, and interest groups as the Trans-Pacific Partnership was negotiated. Prior, he was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, developing strategy and managing technology for clients in financial services, healthcare, and industrial goods. Mitch is concurrently earning an MBA from the Wharton School. He holds a B.A. in Economics and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame.