Oracle Engineer Kiran PB Topped UPSC CSE 2021 Personality Test in His 5th and Last Attempt
- Ayodhya Prasad Singh
- Published on 30 Jun 2022, 9:15 am IST
- 6 minutes read
- 32-year-old Kiran PB from Thiruvananthapuram cracked UPSC CSE while on a full-time job.
- He didn’t leave his job of a Principal Applications Engineer at Oracle to prepare for the exam.
- He credits his success to time management and a healthy work-personal life balance.
- Kiran PB (Credit: Youtube)
Success stories are always a hit because they inspire and make people believe in dreams. They drive home the message that dreams can come true through hard work and consistency. The success story of Kiran PB, who shares the 1st rank in interview in UPSC CSE 2021 with Ashutosh Kumar, will inspire all those working professionals who aspire for more but feel they don’t have the time to work on their dreams.
32-year-old Kiran was working as the Principal Applications Engineer at Oracle in Thiruvananthapuram for the last 10 years. He prepared for and cleared UPSC while doing his job. Indian Masterminds spoke to Kiran PB to bring you his inspiring UPSC journey – a journey that he covered while on a full-time job.
Kiran refuses to call his journey extraordinary. He says it was like any other working professional’s journey, who dreams of working for the country and the best way to achieve this goal was by clearing the UPSC exam.
He P B hails from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He graduated in B.Tech Electronics and Communications from the Government Engineering College Thiruvananthapuram. Then he joined Oracle and worked there for 10 years till selection in UPSC CSE-2021. Unlike most UPSC aspirants, he did not quit his job for preparation for the exam. He continued his IT job and studied for UPSC in the mornings, evenings, during weekends, and whenever he got some free time.
His UPSC journey started in all earnest in 2017. He gave his first attempt in 2017 without any proper strategy or study. In the next attempt in 2018, he did not even qualify for prelims, though his preparation was much better than the previous attempt. In 2019, he gave his third attempt and reached till the mains exam, but could not pass it. In his fourth attempt in 2020, he could not make it to even prelims. But, in his last and fifth attempt in 2021, he cleared all three stages of the exam to come out successful. And the cherry on the cake was that he topped the interview round! He shares this honour with another successful candidate, Ashutosh Kumar.
Talking about his success, Kiran said, “I only read what was necessary and did not waste time doing research. For the mains, minimalistic reading from limited textbooks and practicing test series were the real game-changers for me.”
He also said that as he had a 9-6 job, it was very hectic for him but he always managed to put in some study time before 9 and after 6, and especially on weekends when there was no office. “I prioritise my things with smart work. I also did not go for many books, rather preferred on fundamental book for a subject.” Kiran believes that smart work is the key to success in UPSC, not just hard work.
His optional subject was Public Administration.
MISTAKES THAT HE DID
About the reasons for failing to clear the exam in his previous attempts, Kiran said, “I made a huge mistake in my first attempt by giving the exam without preparing. In the next attempt, I studied but did not do practice sessions for MCQs. So I could not adjust to the exam atmosphere. In my third attempt, I had done enough practice, studied a lot, had solved mock tests and MCQs, so I made it through prelims, but had not prepared enough for my optional and got very less marks in it. So, in my next attempt in 2020, I studied my optional subject more. But it was a Corona year and I was not 100 per cent fit. So, I could not crack this time either. But, in 2021, in my last attempt due to age, I learnt from my all my previous mistakes and made it to the final list.”
That is why he says that analyzing where we are going wrong is very important to attain success in life.
About getting the highest marks in the interview round, he said that his strategy comprised of two things, which are very basic – DAF (Detailed Apllication Form at the time of interview) analysis and Mock Interviews. He took out a print of his DAF and note down all the key words from it. Then, he prepared multiple dimensions of these key words. Apart from this, he gave a lot of mock interviews, which, he says, helped him a lot.
“My actual interview had both types of questions, expected and unexpected. As I came with 10 years experience in the corporate world, some questions from there were expected.”
Elaborating further on the questions asked, he said that the panelists asked him that since he came from the IT field and his optional was Public Administration, so were start-ups possible in Public Administration. He replied that it was possible and then they all discussed about it.
It’s important how you improvise on your knowledge during the interview and apply it to the question. We all have the requisite knowledge. It is just the question of presence of mind and staying calm in the process. Also, there is no need to answer all the questions. If you don’t know an answer, humbly say so. How well and calmly you handle the situation will give you the edge.”
Kiran says that UPSC preparation is possible without leaving a job. But time management is important to have a healthy work-life balance. He also says reading daily newspapers, following TV news channels are important to keep oneself updated. “Before you embark on the UPSC journey, you need to figure out what works for you and which coaching caters to your demands. Once, that is sorted out, you can start building daily goals and set a time table for oneself.”
As for the interview round – where he fared the best – he suggests concentrating on very small details and giving as many mock interviews as possible to simulate the actual one, so that one is well prepared and calm on the D-day.
HOW TO BEAT STRESS
Kiran said that the best way to beat stress is to always have a strong Plan B ready. “It is a must to have a solid backup plan to stay focused and clear about our next move. In my case, my job was the safety net that saved me from the psychological hassles.”
END OF THE ARTICLE
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