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His Intrigue About the Lack of News on Foreign Service Officers Led Him to Become One Himself 

Indian Masterminds Stories

While most top rankers in CSE prefer to join Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service, Vikram Grewal, who secured 51 rank in the 2018 exam, chose to join Indian Foreign Service. He cites two reasons for this decision. First, having grown up in different states of India, he considers the whole country his home and so it was difficult for him to choose one state as his home cadre. And, secondly, the lack of coverage of Indian Foreign Service in news and films intrigued him and he decided to join the service himself to find out more about it. 

Indian Masterminds takes a close look at Vikram Grewal’s CSE journey and his views on the multiple choices of career that UPSC offers.

RIGHT HEADSPACE IMPORTANT

It is a popular belief that one need to put in long hours of study to make it to the list of successful candidates of CSE. Often, it is seen, aspirants cut off from all kinds of entertainment and isolated themselves to concentrate solely on preparation. However, Vikram Grewal differs. He says that being in the right headspace for giving the exam is what counts. Rest all depends on an individual’s own way of life and his preparation strategy. With this mindset, Mr. Grewal passed the 2018 exam with the top rank of 51. 

NO FEAR OF EXAMS 

Mr. Grewal’s father is in the army. So, every two years, he was transferred to a new place. And every time, Mr. Grewal had to give fresh entrance exam for a new school. He doesn’t even remember how many such exams he gave, but that definitely removed the fear of examination from him. Even if he didn’t make it in some exam, he made sure he took lessons from it and plugged the holes.

DESTINED TO BE IN IFS

Mr. Grewal’s first priority was always to be in the Indian Foreign Service. In an interview to media soon after his UPSC success, he said, “I had lived in several states of our country. This allowed me to see India as a united nation and it was difficult for me to choose a home cadre. So, I chose foreign services to represent India on a global level.” 

A Graduate from St. Stephen’s College Mr. Grewal chosen to be in Foreign Services

He also mentioned that whether it is films or news, we often don’t read or see about foreign service officer. This intrigued him to be one and know how it works. Since he got rank 51 and Article 51 is the only article in the constitution that talks about international peace and security, he now believes that he was destined to be in foreign services. 

CHOOSE SERVICE WISELY

Most people think that UPSC is only for IAS, IFS, IPS or IRS. However, there are 21-22 other services also. Mr. Grewal said that his preferred choices for the services were different from many as he researched about each one of them and liked the profile of Indian Defence State Service and Audit & Accounts Service also. He advised aspirants to choose their preferences wisely as there could be a service which is not popular, but it could be most suitable for them. Due to lack of awareness, people generally don’t prioritise them. 

ADVICE FOR ASPIRANTS

“I have seen aspirants who feel guilty for giving themselves breaks for any sorts of entertainment. My approach was different. I cut myself from social media, but I never stopped watching films or web series. They didn’t just refresh me, but I also got many references from them for my answers,” said Mr. Grewal. 

He also highlighted the importance of interacting with new people as it gives different perspectives and all these experiences in life will help in the exam. Nothing goes wasted, according to him. 

As for preparation, he said that everyone should have their own strategy for preparation and make their timetable according to their strengths and weaknesses. “UPSC is like a marathon. Treat it like that. Stick to basic, don’t complicate things,” he advised. 

The officer runs a blog named ‘Besan ka Halwa’ which is very popular among youth, specially those who wants to join civil services. Along with sharing his experiences and thoughts, he has also shared his notes and other study material on it. 


Indian Masterminds Stories

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