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Numbers Whiz Cracks UPSC After Grueling Battle

Indian Masterminds Stories

Samiksha Mhetre from Thane just aced the UPSC exam, getting an All India Rank 302 in 2023! Her story is inspiring because it shows that success doesn’t always come easy, but with hard work and self-belief, you can achieve your goals. Speaking with Indian Masterminds, she shared details about her journey. 

CIVIL SERVANT PARENTS 

Samiksha wasn’t sure about becoming a civil servant, even though her family is full of government officials. Her father is an Indian Engineering Services (IES) officer, her uncle has a similar job, and her mother works in central GST. Samiksha’s childhood was surrounded by talks about public service, but it wasn’t her initial calling.

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT 

“Numbers interested me more,” Samiksha explains, “so I decided to study Commerce. I was good at it and became a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2019.” 

Samiksha decided to take the UPSC exam, which is notoriously difficult. She tried three times but didn’t qualify for prelims. It was discouraging, but she didn’t give up. “When I didn’t clear it for the third time,” she remembers, “self-doubt crept in. I questioned whether I should take the fourth attempt or not.” But then she persevered, thinking, “Maybe I’ve come this far, then why not give it another try?”

PREPARATION

This time, Samiksha studied even smarter. Instead of just reading her textbooks repeatedly, she made clear, concise notes that she could easily review. “This helped me focus on the most important information,” she explains. She also subscribed to online courses and test series designed for current affairs. This way, she stayed up-to-date on what was happening in the world and practiced answering questions in the UPSC format. Finally, Samiksha knew that time management was key to success in the UPSC exam. So, she practiced writing clear and well-organized answers quickly. “This way, I wouldn’t run out of time during the actual exam,” she says.

IES FATHER’S HELP 

Samiksha’s father, a seasoned IES officer himself, played a crucial role in her journey. He understood the grueling nature of the UPSC exam and the determination it required. “He not only motivated me throughout my preparation,” Samiksha recalls, “but also shared valuable insights from his own experience.” He guided her on how to approach the syllabus, stay focused during long study sessions, and most importantly, manage setbacks. 

During the interview preparation, he emphasized the importance of authenticity and advised Samiksha to present her true self to the panel. Her father’s constant support and guidance were instrumental in helping Samiksha overcome challenges and achieve her dream.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 

Samiksha’s interview round was based on her Detailed Application Form (DAF). One question Samiksha was asked was about her experience with Kathak, a classical Indian dance form. She had mentioned learning Kathak in her DAF but had stopped ten years ago due to her studies and other commitments. 

Another interesting question was about the names of the leaders of Ukraine and Russia. “I answered the name of the Russian leader, but didn’t know about Ukraine,” she shared. Samiksha couldn’t answer this due to both the leaders of Russia and Ukraine having the same first name. Her calmness and curiosity about the answer impressed the panel. 

Her story is all about keeping your dreams alive. It shows that it’s okay to take breaks, change your mind, and try again. “In the first two attempts, I was okay,” Samiksha says, “because many people don’t clear prelims in the first try. But the third time was different. That’s when I had self-doubt.” With hard work and confidence, you can achieve anything you set your mind to! 


Indian Masterminds Stories

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