After a great experience of the first “Coffee with Leaders” session with Arunabh Kumar, expectations were high for the next and the second session of “Coffee” fully lived up to it!

We had an esteemed guest “Sanket Kale” with us – one of the youngest IRS officers in the country and a rank holder from the competitive exam. We started at 3.00pm at Vishranti Bungalow Hall on 28th April 2019.

Foto 5A total of 25 participants attended the session. There was a nice mix of student participants from various streams viz. Nursing, engineering, applied arts, commerce, paint technology & science. Few Volunteers & “Coffee” Core Team members including  Arunabh (Speaker of the opening Coffee session) also joined along with his IITian friend and also took the responsibility of the video shoot.

Foto 2The session kicked off with introductions of all participants. In addition to the formal introduction, each participant shared one fun fact about them.

Parag introduced the speaker and Arunabh and he actively steered the conversations.

This time it was a Q & A format with Q’s from anchors & participants. We touched on a variety of topics – it was an engaging, insightful, flowing and enriching experience.

It is difficult to derive summary from such exhaustive sessions but an attempt is made to present the highlights of the session

Here is a glimpse of some Q & As & the major takeaways.

Q: When and why you thought UPSC is for you?

A: While I was in third year of Mechanical Engineering, I thought of various options. There was something in my mind to give back to society and not just complain about everything that is going wrong around us but be instrumental in trying to put it right

& UPSC I thought would be the right platform.

Q: When did you start preparation and how long it took you to clear this examination? & how tough it was to tackle this highly competitive examination?

A: I stared from third year of mechanical engineering, took a year drop after completion of my engineering even though I had an offer from Mahindra in campus placement. It was crystal clear in my mind to clear UPSC and one year drop was a major challenge as all my classmates had started earning. I had to be very focussed, and would lock myself in a room and keep away from all distractions. I joined classes but it did not help much & I decided to focus on self study. I thoroughly researched number of previous papers and interacted  with many people who were successful in clearing this exam. & this helped me a lot.

Q: The moment for your career that gave you ultimate satisfaction?

A: Sanket described a difficult case of his life that he successfully delivered, tracking down drug mafias, finding out their suppliers to the long chain of this gang. Solving this case was not easy as it took lot of courage, thinking and great team work.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A:  I like to play video games which involves strategy and a lot of thinking. But due to busy schedule could not do this. In an interview I was asked about my hobbies and I told reading, then obvious questions were what have I read & when they asked in detail I could not speak much, interviewer then asked me to tell something which would impress us. I realised the importance of having hobbies and how it helps to socialize with others. When we mention about our hobby, then we should always have some an in-depth knowledge about same.

Key take-aways:

  • To find your passion, it is not usually “love at first sight”, you try out a few things, succeed/ fail a few times and then get to your final aspiration. It takes time to build your passion
  • In the process of finding your passion, speak with as many people as possible who had gone through the process themselves – this is much more effective than referring to general guidelines
  • It is never late to find our passion – you can find it at any stage of your life – junior education, graduation, masters or even beyond. Be open to change.
  • Lot of knowledge about Civil Services careers, exams, day in life, challenges, opportunities, authority that comes with responsibility, and various different career paths available in Govt. and semi Govt jobs
  • Academic careers like Civil Services and CA is high risk high reward – one should get into it after looking at several aspects – financial/ social background, gestation period, plan B/ fall back considerations, etc.
  • Once you decide to go for that, it needs 200% attention, focus on exam patterns, techniques, past papers, etc. – all this is important to crack the exam
  • Communication in extremely important. It is much beyond language and verbal communication – it is mutually agreed understanding – it is holistic combination of communication, listening skills, interpersonal skills, verbal & written communication, body language, getting your message across, etc. The way you come across during interviews, interactions, and meetings depends on how you have developed your character/ personality – it cannot be cracked with preparation for few months. The way you develop your thoughts, personality, reading, gaining knowledge, thinking process, balance/ clarity of mind, etc. This is a lifelong process so start today.
  • The way you come across during interviews, interactions, and meetings depends on how you have developed your character/ personality – it cannot be cracked with preparation for few months. The way you develop your thoughts, personality, reading, gaining knowledge, thinking process, balance/ clarity of mind, etc. This is a lifelong process so start today.

Sanket freely interacted with the students and answered all their queries.

Bcertificateefore concluding this exciting session, Sanket was asked- Which Two qualities you feel are most important in life to achieve success & his reply was: “Focus and Clarity”.                                          

Certificates of appreciation were presented to Arunabh and Sanket, speakers of our first two sessions of ” Coffee with Leaders. VSM is thankful to both for volunteering their time and efforts and sharing their life journeys which are so very motivating to our students.