The PIE: What is the IDP Digital Campus in Chennai and what does your role there involve?
Neeraja Krishnan: Our Digital Campus is driving IDP’s next phase of digital transformation, which involves expanding our global platform and deepening our connected community. The team is made up of 400 leading technology and digital experts, 50% of whom are women, and based in Chennai, India. Together, we are supporting IDP’s growth across all areas of our business including student placement and IELTS, by bringing in modern capabilities through automation, data, AI and communities of practice.
My role involves heading up the Digital Campus strategy and experienced leadership team.
I was really impressed by the bold vision and expertise of the team, and its sharp focus on the customer experience. It is not only our teams and our digital capabilities that drive this innovation, but our students and institution clients too, through our close work together in co-creating the best products and solutions. It’s a very exciting time to join IDP, as our global business is reigniting students and customers with their study and work ambitions.
The PIE: How did you get involved in edtech? Are there enough women in leadership positions at edtech companies?
NK: I have over 27 years of experience and been involved in multiple industries that have had large-scale transformations. In many of my prior roles, I have been involved in complex digital transformation programs, incubated new business segments, led digital innovation globally and was responsible for delivering transformational multi-country, multi-entity technology solutions. I have also managed multiple industry leading product partnerships and delivered SaaS platforms using some of these products.
“We know women continue to be underrepresented in tech companies”
We know women continue to be underrepresented in tech companies. However, we have started to see the needle move, in the past five to 10 years, with more women stepping into founding, management and leadership roles in edtech businesses.
At IDP, we are committed to driving and supporting women leadership across our company. I am proud to be a part of IDP’s first all women IT leadership team, and by leading a wider team at the Digital Campus which is made up of 50% women, this is a significant step towards this commitment.
We know more women leaders will be emerging through our talent programs in the future.
The PIE: We’ve seen IDP launch its IDP Live app – what other developments can the sector expect in the near future? With Facebook announcing its Meta name change, what else can we expect for the sector over the next few decades?
NK: We’re seeing unprecedented levels of change in the sector and in particular, the use of technology to create stronger, more effective customer experiences. IDP is leading this with the release of the IDP Live app last month, and the ability for students to receive offers in principle from institutions in near real time – shortcutting weeks and months of doubt and frustration.
“We’ll start to see stronger personalisation in IDP experiences”
Innovation is occurring across all areas of the customer journey in student placement and in the digital experiences we deliver to our IDP IELTS test takers. We’ll start to see stronger personalisation in IDP experiences and what we call ‘full funnel convenience’. That might mean personalised test prep or content experiences, or in student placement, the ability to manage the full application lifecycle with your counsellor via IDP Live.
It’s going to be an amazing few years ahead with great experimentation, innovation and change coming to the sector. However, at the IDP Digital Campus we’re really clear that technology is not the sole focus. We prioritise our customers’ needs and see how best technology might assist or transform those needs. Ultimately, it’s global citizens with bold dreams who are at the centre of our sector’s transformation.
The PIE: You mentioned it is an exciting time to join IDP, but with your almost three decades in tech, why IDP?
NK: I am very passionate about developing our people, and part of what attracted me to IDP was its focus on its teams, and its inclusive and global culture. As technology continues to drive digital transformations, it is essential that organisations continue to invest in their talent across various facets – be it technology, leadership, business acumen or so on.
“It is essential that organisations continue to invest in their talent across various facets”
IDP’s investment on its talent differentiates it tremendously. We are proud that the Digital Campus is also home to IDP’s Academy, a talent incubator program that provides emerging digital professionals with an in-house training and development program, and ensures career paths of technical leaders of the future.