Amba Kak, a final year student at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata was recently awarded the Google Policy Fellowship for India. In this e-mail interview, she talks about what the Fellowship entails, who should apply and what to keep in mind while applying.
Bar & Bench: Congratulations on the Fellowship. What have you been up to in the last few weeks?
Amba Kak: The fellowship requires you to spend ten weeks with the host organization, in this case, the Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) in Bangalore. I've just completed three weeks here- we worked out the contours of the research report I'm going to be writing, did some ground work and even went to Bombay to interview people for inputs. The report is on the viability of a legal market for music in India, specifically the nascent mobile music market.
B&B: When did you decide to apply for the fellowship? What were the various rounds of selection like?
AK: I applied for the fellowship in July this year. The first stage of application involves sending a statement of purpose of about 1200 words, a resume and three references. The shortlisted candidates are then interviewed on the phone. The interview this year consisted of a set of problem based questions which you have to answer on the spot.
B&B: What do you think is the best aspect of this fellowship OR what do you think is the most attractive feature of this fellowship?
AK: Apart from the opportunity to publish a report under the guidance of experts, I think being integrated into an organization like CIS, even for a few weeks, is probably it. If you're interested in technology, IP and free speech policy, being in an environment where people are working on exciting projects in these fields is inspiring. You learn that there are many promising avenues post law-school in the policy field.
P.S: It is also very financially rewarding.
B&B: Lastly, any advice for students who are planning to apply for the Fellowship in the future?
AK: When writing the application, instead of a generalized essay, I think it's a good idea to streamline your activities/achievements in a way that reflects a steady interest in the area of technology policy.