When I found out I had topped the UPSC exams, there was total disbelief. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my name online. I didn't expect to find my name on top. I got it verified just to be sure before breaking the news to my wife and parents. I got married recently - my wife is my lucky charm.
I gave up a corporate career - as an investment banker in Hong Kong - three years ago.It was a well-paid and comfortable job but I decided to come back for taking the civil services examinations.
I took the tests in 2012 and my rank was 244. Though I got into the Indian Police Service (IPS), I thought I had the potential to do much better. So I decided to try again and I'm so glad I did.
In the Indian Police Service, you are dedicated to policing, but the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) gives you many more options and much greater scope for learning and self-development.
For the first time in four years, a male candidate has topped the UPSC exam. But the gender of the candidate is not important. All you need to be is a good student and then you can achieve anything. I studied for six to eight hours a day to prepare for these exams.
In my first attempt, the problem did not lie with my preparation but with my language and writing skills. I had been trained as an engineer and I had to focus a lot on my writing skills.
I had very limited interaction with my friends while I was preparing for the exams. They were very understanding and did not disturb me. But I did take breaks while studying to play cricket or to jog.
The biggest success of my life has come from failure. I would not have taken the exams a second time had I not failed to make the cut for the IAS in 2012.
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