Are there working professionals who cracked UPSC CSE by continuing the full-time job? What are the challenges faced by working professionals during their UPSC CSE preparation journey? How did the toppers overcome these challenges? Read to know more.
Many of India’s youth dream big and they never settle for a mediocre position in any organisation – private or public.
Reflecting their ambitions, a considerable number of working professionals aspire to achieve pinnacle positions within the top bureaucratic services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS), among others.
In this article, we see some inspiring success stories of aspirants who cracked the prestigious UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) while continuing in their jobs and later becoming IAS, IPS, and IFS officers.
Success Stories of Aspirants Who Cleared UPSC CSE With a Job
There are hundreds of examples of Working Professionals who cracked UPSC CSE while serving in a job. Here is a list of handpicked success stories of aspirants who cleared the UPSC CSE while balancing their jobs:
Kiran P B (AIR 100, CSE 2021)
Kiran P B worked as a software engineer at Oracle.
Kiran cracked the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) while doing a full-time job at the age of 32. He was one of the high scorers in the UPSC interview that year.
He got All India Rank 100 and was selected for the Indian Police Service (IPS).
Mittali Sethi (AIR 56; CSE: 2016)
Dr. Mittali Sethi, a successful orthodontist, unveiled her passion for civil services late in her career.
Despite failing the Prelims twice, her determination remained steadfast.
Her shift to Psychology as an optional subject, despite it not being her major, demonstrated her adaptability. Finally, in her third attempt in 2016, she emerged victorious.
Bandana Pokhriyal (AIR: 83; CSE: 2015)
Bandana Pokhriyal, a former Central Excise Inspector, exemplifies meticulous preparation while managing a job. Over 2.5 years, she balanced work and studies, advocating realistic daily targets instead of overwhelming goals.
Her approach of utilizing short breaks with study cards at her workplace showcased her commitment. She shows adaptability towards this exam by choosing Public Administration initially and later Anthropology as optional subjects. She focused on utilizing weekends effectively.
Neha Nautiyal (AIR: 185; CSE: 2011)
Neha Nautiyal, a Zoology professional, conquered the UPSC exam on her second attempt.
She dedicated 2-4 hours on weekdays, compensating with intensive weekend study sessions. Her emphasis on studying quality over quantity and aligning preparation with exam requirements was her success mantra.
R Vaithinathan (AIR: 37; CSE: 2015)
Dr. R Vaithinathan’s story is an example of resilience and determination for this exam.
Despite parental opposition and a demanding medical career, he pursued his IAS dream. Juggling exhaustive hospital shifts, he studied during rare breaks, with the support of his IPS sister.
Abhimanyu Gahlaut (AIR: 38; CSE: 2015)
Abhimanyu Gahlaut’s desire to contribute to the country despite a successful international career, leads him to become an IFS officer. He gained international work experience by working for three years as a Country Economist for the International Growth Centre, a research centre based at the London School of Economics.
With a background in Economics, he strategically prepared for the UPSC CSE, dedicating 6-8 hours daily. His motivation to serve the country led him in this field and helped him succeed in this examination.
How can working professionals continue their Job and UPSC Preparation in parallel?
In the online age, this is not difficult.
Working professionals need to adopt Smart Work Strategies and take guidance to cover the priority topics in the limited time available to them.
ClearIAS offers specifically tuned online classes with more emphasis on recorded classes for working professionals.
Recorded Classes will give working professionals the flexibility to manage classes along with their jobs. Plus the speed can be adjusted.
ClearIAS Prelims cum Mains Program (Self-Paced) is widely adopted by working professionals.
Advantages of working professionals regarding the UPSC CSE
Working professionals preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) have several advantages that help them in their studies and performance:
Their job experience gives them knowledge and insights into different sectors, making their exam and interview answers more relevant and informed. This can set them apart from candidates without such experience.
Having a job means they don’t have to worry about money while preparing. They can afford better study materials and coaching, which helps them prepare more effectively without stress.
Time Management and Discipline:
Managing a job and exam prep teaches them to use their time wisely and study regularly. These skills are crucial for passing the exam and for their future careers.
Being employed means less pressure during exam preparation since they’re not relying on passing the exam for financial stability. This allows for a more balanced study routine and better stress management.
Also read: UPSC Online Coaching
Challenges Faced by Employed Individuals During UPSC CSE Preparation
Let’s understand some basic challenges faced by working professionals during their UPSC CSE journey and how to overcome them.
Balancing work commitments while preparing for the UPSC CSE can have several challenges:
Balancing work hours and study time is perhaps the most significant challenge for working professionals. With a full-time job, finding dedicated hours for extensive study becomes tough. Limited time often leads to a struggle in covering the vast UPSC syllabus thoroughly.
Fatigue and Burnout
Working professionals often face fatigue due to the demands of their jobs. After a long day at work, it becomes challenging to summon the energy for rigorous study sessions. Continuous stress can lead to burnout, affecting both work performance and study efficiency.
Difficulty in Consistency
Maintaining consistency in study routines can be tough. Work commitments, unexpected office tasks, or business trips can disrupt study schedules, making it hard to follow a consistent study plan.
Pressure and Stress
The pressure to excel in both the job and the UPSC exam can lead to heightened stress levels. Managing this stress becomes important for maintaining focus and productivity.
For those relying solely on their jobs for financial stability, the additional expense of study materials, coaching, and exam fees can create financial strain.
Limited Leave or Study Time Off
Some professionals might struggle to secure leave or adequate study time off from their jobs, impacting their preparation intensity.
Working Professionals and UPSC CSE: How to Do Smart Work and Overcome the Challenges?
Overcoming the challenges faced by working professionals and acting smartly during UPSC CSE preparation requires a strategic approach and disciplined execution. Here are ways to tackle these hurdles:
Create a Realistic Schedule
Create a study plan that aligns with your work hours. Set aside specific time slots for study, revision, and breaks. Ensure a balance between work, study, and personal life.
Utilize Weekends Efficiently
Maximize weekends for in-depth study sessions, revisions, and solving mock tests. Dedicate longer hours to cover more ground.
Use Breaks and Commuting Time Effectively
Utilize short breaks at work or commuting time for quick revisions.
Focus on adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and light exercises or relaxation techniques to combat fatigue and prevent burnout. A refreshed mind is important for effective study sessions.
Select Quality Study Materials
Choose concise yet comprehensive study materials that cover the UPSC syllabus effectively. Invest in reliable resources that suit your learning style.
Use Online Platforms
Make the most of online resources, e-learning platforms, and other resources that offer interactive courses, mock tests, and updated study material. There are many options available in the market but it is important to restrict yourself to the reliable one only.
In this situation, ClearIAS online coaching, and free study material available on their website will help you. This platform is trusted by many toppers and they are constantly working to update it as per the latest exam pattern.
Adopt Flexibility in Study Routine
Accept that interruptions might occur and be flexible in adapting your study routine. Make up for lost time by adjusting schedules when necessary.
Set Small, Achievable Goals
Break down the syllabus into smaller, manageable portions and set achievable daily or weekly study goals. Celebrate milestones to stay motivated.
Take Mock Tests and Attempt Previous Year’s Papers
Practice regularly with mock tests and solve previous year’s papers to get accustomed to the exam pattern and improve your writing skills. Choose the mock test that is trusted by toppers and is budget-friendly to avoid any hole in the pocket.
Here, ClearIAS mock tests are one of the suited options for individuals. It not only provides carefully updated mock tests but also makes it affordable. The reason behind this initiative is to make quality study material and tests accessible for all.
Budget and Prioritize Expenses
Plan your expenses effectively. Prioritize essential study materials and coaching that fit within your budget. Look for free or affordable resources online.
Follow Regular News Updates
Set aside dedicated time to read newspapers, watch news channels, or follow reliable online sources for current affairs. Make concise notes for periodic revisions.
Practice Stress-Relief Techniques
Incorporate relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga into your routine to manage stress levels effectively.
Communicate with Employer
Discuss the importance of the exam with your employer – if you think the employer is caring. If you think, you will be judged, keep your UPSC preparation confidential. Try negotiating for flexible work hours that allow dedicated study time.
The UPSC CSE demands commitment, perseverance, and smart strategies. As a working professional, the journey may seem challenging, but with effective time management, resource optimization, and a balanced lifestyle, success becomes achievable.
There are hundreds of success stories of aspirants who have cleared this competitive exam alongside their jobs. This means that though it may seem difficult yet with proper strategy and dedication, it is achievable.
Many students on the ClearIAS platform effectively use online resources for structured and organised learning. Join ClearIAS Online Courses and depend more on recorded classes.
Remember, it’s not just about how many hours you put in; it’s about making every hour count. Embrace the process, stay determined, and let smart work pave your way to success in the UPSC CSE.
Article Written By: Priti Raj