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Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Bhubaneswar

Conversation with KIIT Alumni Avishyant Panda, His Journey of Civil Services Examination

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KIIT alumnus Suman Saurav Mohanty secured 9th Rank in the prestigious Civil Services Exam of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), results of which were declared in May. He was not the only KIIT alumnus to crack this highly competitive examination. Two other alumni, Avishyant Panda and Haris Bin Zaman, secured 91st and 646th rank respectively – a remarkable achievement of three students from one institution clearing the Civil Services Exam in the same year. Their success not only made KIIT proud, but also triggered a wave of happiness in the State of Odisha.

As a student-focused university, KIIT provides the best of exposure and opportunities to its students – in academics as well as in other areas of students’ interests. Going beyond earning degrees and getting placed in top multinationals, KIIT students have expressed themselves and excelled in myriad fields. Besides high achievers in academics, who bag coveted jobs through campus placement, KIIT has produced successful entrepreneurs, Olympians, Chess Grandmasters, actors and even beauty queens.

In the previous issue of KIIT Review, we had published our conversation with Suman Saurav Mohanty. Satyabrata Das and Rajesh Verma of KIIT REVIEW also talked to Avishyant Panda to know secrets of his success. We are confident that their success story will be a source of inspiration for thousands of IAS aspirants from the State and KIIT University, in particular.

Interview with Avishyant Panda

A part of my childhood (4 years) was spent in the United States of America (Los Angeles, California) where I did my middle school education. I completed my Class X from DAV Chandrasekharpur in 2005 and finished my +2 from BJB College in 2007. My graduation was in the field of Electronics and Communication. I passed out in 2011 from KIIT University
The broad canvas that the IAS provides to bring a change in the lives of people – at the local, state and national level – greatly influenced me during my school days, especially after returning from the United States of America. However, with time the dream gradually took a backseat and the desire to understand the working of the corporate sector made me go for the campus placement. Working in the corporate sector for 2.5 years, gave me a very good perspective of the private sector and also gave me a more matured understanding of what the Civil Services in general and the IAS in particular entails. Thus, I set forth with preparing for the exam with a renewed clarity of thought. It was time to work towards the childhood dream that had extinguished with time
A: The period right after the results has been truly overwhelming and humbling at the same time. It is a good reminder of the future responsibilities and duties towards the spirit of public service that I shall carry. Though my exams had gone off really well and I was expecting to see my name in the final list, a top 100 rank was not something that I was fully sure of.
A: My optional paper was Public Administration. It is extremely relevant to the service and future work that the IAS entails. At the same time it gives a glimpse of the working conditions and policy implementation of the government to provide optimal service delivery to the people.
A: Graduates of professional courses should keep interest as the top most priority while selecting an optional subject. Analysis of syllabus of various subjects and subsequent reading of previous years’ questions will give an idea about what subject a person likes. Since an optional subject requires years of studying, it is very important that a person enjoys the subject and does not feel burdened reading additional books or web sources relating to the subject.
A: The Civil Service Exam tests a person’s mental agility, patience, studying and writing skills to an extreme level. It is very important to enter the game only when one is absolutely sure of what he/she wants and that is what helps in going through the grind and dealing with the difficult times. The decision to give the exam should be one’s own only. It is important not to get bogged down by the numbers and to instead focus on improving oneself by following a regular routine and staying honest to one’s goal. Success shall follow.
A: I started my preparation by reading the basic NCERT textbooks and going through the syllabus and previous year questions. Gradually I moved on to advanced books and reports/magazines that provided an insight into the subject material.
Prelims and Mains are interlinked. While Prelims requires extensive reading and MCQ based practice, Mains requires more intensive studying and rigorous answer writing practice. The subject matter however remains the same. I tried to balance the two.
A: IAS Preparation requires a minimum of 2 years. One should ideally give the prelims exam after 1-1.5 years of preparation and considering the exam process lasts for 1 year, it can take 2-2.5 years at a bare minimum.

My strategy was to read, revise and apply. Further answer writing helped in both improving retention and enhancing creativity. I dedicated 3 years to the preparation.

A: I did not take any coaching. With the rise in online resources and guidance, coaching is not as important as it was 5-10 years back. Further, UPSC questions are testing a candidate’s own stand and thought process which can come with self introspection and self study. However, test series offered by coaching institutions are valuable and they certainly helped me. Reading basic textbooks, analysis of tests and self study and confidence in one’s ability can do away the need of coaching.
A: I used to study 7 hours a day for the exam and used to take breaks whenever I was not enjoying studying. Further, hobbies like a game of table tennis and music help a lot. My hours before the exam increased significantly. One week prior to the exam I did study for 12-14 hours. Intensive revision before the exam certainly helps.
A: The personal interview is a test of personality and not of knowledge. A wide variety of questions ranging from one’s subject of graduation to international issues and optional subject are asked. Further, questions to test a candidate’s honesty, stress handling capabilities, intellectual integrity are also asked.
A: Success mantra for IAS – Discipline, dedication and honesty to the goal.
A: KIIT has always provided a free atmosphere to its students to pursue their goals and at the same time to shun insecurities that act as a barrier to students. Such an ambience is always helpful.
A: Take adequate time to narrow down on what you want from your life. If it’s civil services, then it is important to understand the demands of the exams, the risks involved and the level of hard work required. However, after deciding on giving the exam, it is important to not look back and rather to give the exam with full commitment and dedication.

 

Graduates of professional courses should keep interest as the top most priority while selecting an optional subject. Analysis of syllabus of various subjects and subsequent reading of previous years’ questions will give an idea about what subject a person likes.

 

Prelims and Mains are interlinked. While Prelims requires extensive reading and MCQ based practice, Mains requires more intensive studying and rigorous answer writing practice. The subject matter however remains the same. I tried to balance the two.

 

KIIT has always provided a free atmosphere to its students to pursue their goals and at the same time to shun insecurities that act as a barrier to students. Such an ambiance is always helpful.

 

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