Interview: Ajay Yeshwanth (Prod-2015)

Ajay is an officer trainee (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) in Indian Audit and Accounts Services since August 2017.

Hi Ajay, could you tell us why you chose to pursue UPSC?

– See, I didn’t see myself working in the private sector. I did think of pursuing research initially, but then I changed my mind. There are 3 reasons why I wanted to take up UPSC. First was the Impact factor. In a government job, you can meet a lot of people and face a lot of challenges. The government being a mammoth organization provides a
lot of opportunities to influence more people.

– The second reason is the unparalleled job diversity. I’m currently an accountant and comptroller. The department I work in is responsible for auditing various government functions and providing accounting services to different government divisions and organizations like ISRO, Health, Revenue and many others.

– Finally, I chose this field because the learning curve is continuous. With a highly diverse nature of work and people to interact with, you get a lot of learning opportunities in this service. There are very few organizations that provide such opportunities, one other such organization is the TATA entrepreneurship program.

– This field also provides me a lot of leadership opportunities, a chance to work hard and prove my skills. For instance, once I complete this training successfully, I’ll be working with 400 auditors under me. This sort of leadership opportunity doesn’t come easily anywhere else. The learning curve is continuous.

What’s very important while preparing for UPSC?

– You need to have the dedication and put in a lot of hard work. Preparing for UPSC demands at least 9 to 10 hours a day. Most importantly, you need to have an interest in your exam subjects, having an interest in social sciences definitely helps. Before you start preparing for the exams understand what your subjects entail. Self-awareness and self-confidence; knowing you fit in this field or you’ll be able to work in this field will help in your

When should students start preparing for UPSC?

– I would suggest everyone try engineering first. UPSC is a career choice you could make after some time. Don’t miss out on college experience to prepare. If you’re assured that this is your career choice, at college you could read newspaper editorials and keep yourself abreast with current affairs. Preparing way too much in advance isn’t advisable, I would suggest you prepare seriously after graduation.

What skills can one pick at college to pursue a career in this field?

– You get the chance to develop a personality that you carry forward at college. If you want to shine, develop soft skills. At college. Ensure you improve your soft skills and study well. Understand how the society works, do more meaningful social responsibility activities.

What kind of internships can students undertake in civil services?

– This is a bit tricky. You could mail collectors and they could give a project or internship. One collector gave me a project to improve the efficiency of tube lights in Perambalur. Even though the project was complicated and require more expertise, it gave me an understanding of how government offices function and the work of officials. This experience is different. You’ll never know whether you like it or not.

Is it advisable to sit for UPSC after working for a few years or months?

– UPSC, you have to give it time for preparation. After quitting a job you get a break in your resume and it could mess your resume. You can pursue rural development fellowships to get some experience otherwise, but if you want to pursue Civil services, do so immediately after graduation. Every time you feel low, you should remember you’re
missing your bus and that itself should drive you to prepare even better. It’s unpredictable and the ratios are unpredictable, but giving yourself an exit plan or alternative to UPSC will not help you clear it.

What other opportunities are there for civil services?

– There are 20+ services under UPSC, every service will have its pros and cons. I think students should give it a try, not only aim for IAS, every opportunity to serve in the civil services is a leadership opportunity and definitely worth taking the risk for. There are so many other departments that might meet your expectations and give you a challenging career. For instance, any production engineering student can relate to this. The Indian Railways is the second largest organization in the world(second only to the Chinese Army) and it ferries a population equal to the population of Australia on a daily basis. You can imagine the amount of planning and effort that goes into running such a large network. In recent times the Indian Information Services is gaining momentum. I can’t insist enough that every opportunity is a learning opportunity here.

What would you like to tell your alma mater?

– People have many inhibitions about UPSC. It is difficult to get here, but it’s worth taking the risk. It is much more satisfying compared to the private sector. Apart from Civil services, any service or job you get, do a SWOT analysis, check if you’re suitable for the job, then clear the exam, don’t lose college life for preparation. I’m also open to any
doubts, students can message me on Facebook.

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