SBI PO 2017 Topper Interview: NT Vaishakh (AIR 26) - “Concept clarity & mock tests are key to success”
Bachan Thakur, 01 Dec 2018, #SBI PO

Think of a scenario where you need to pull yourself up every day to dig a well to quench your thirst. This has been the situation of NT Vaishakh when he took up jobs at Byju’s, followed by an education firm, but sooner or later left all of them for the sake of his inner calling – teaching students for Bank PO exams. While he himself could not afford to coach, he started coaching others. The concept of  “sharing is learning” worked well for him and this boosted his confidence to take up Bank PO exam. Though the road he had to travel was treacherous (wherein he would just earn his bread and butter to sustain), however, walking the path of his inner calling was prime for him and the outcome of which at the end was gratifying.

Latest: [Start preparing for SBI PO 2019 with S Chand Test Series ]- Start Practice 

Though he could not crack SBI PO exam in the first attempt, it was grit, perseverance, handwork, and never giving up the spirit which made him sail through, till he could succeed. Burning the midnight’s oil, NT Vaishakh left no stone unturned to make it to the cut off of SBI PO exam in his second attempt in 2017. Finally, the celebratory day arrived when he got to know that he has secured an All India Rank of 26 in SBI PO exam. His success is not a flash in the pan, but the one which will continue to inspire the aspiring minds. 

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In a conversation with Careers360, the Probationary Officer at the State Bank of India, RASMEC Aluva, Thiruvananthapuram Circle wears his heart on his sleeves to share what does it take to crack SBI PO examination. He also talks about the preparation strategy and the importance of mock tests and sample papers. Go through the excerpts below.  

Excerpts from the Interview:

Careers360: Tell us about your background and when did you qualify SBI Bank PO exam? What was your All India Rank in SBI PO exam?

NT Vaishakh: I did my B.Tech in Biotechnology from VIT University, Vellore. I worked in Byju’s Classes and taught students online prior to joining SBI as a Probationary Officer on December 29, 2017. My AIR was 26. 

Careers360: Did you take any coaching? If yes, from where and for how long?

NT Vaishakh: No, I did not take any coaching. All my training was through online videos and mock tests only.

Careers360: Tell us about your current role and responsibility at SBI?

NT Vaishakh: I work as an Officer under training at SBI. In this learning stage, no specific responsibility is assigned to us. We need to do pretty much everything for a brief period of time.

Careers360: Which of the educational backgrounds best suit for Bank PO job?

NT Vaishakh: Any educational background is fine as long as you work well under pressure.

Careers360: Is coaching important for cracking the Bank PO exam? If yes, then how much and can you suggest some good coaching institutes from where one must pursue coaching? 

NT Vaishakh: Whether coaching is important or not depends on the candidate’s abilities. I recommend everyone to give a few mock tests (at least 15) and check their marks. Try taking a few exams without bothering about the results. Go for coaching if you see no improvement. 

Careers360: In case of self-study, how much is the probability of cracking the exam? What should be the preparation strategy for self-study?

NT Vaishakh: Probability of cracking the exam is subjective and depends from one candidate to another. However, if one plan for self-study, just follow these steps:

  1. Learn concepts from online videos.

  2. Practice basic level questions to get a hold of shortcuts.

  3. Attempt mock tests and analyze them. (80% of your prep should be devoted to this)

Careers360: Can you refer some good books with Author names for all the sections of Bank PO exams?

NT Vaishakh: Since most of my study was through online content, I can recommend a few good channels on YouTube. Study Smart (if you can understand Hindi), Feel Free to Learn, Study IQ are some of my usual go-to links. I have my own videos on Unacademy as well and I have pretty much covered 90% of the syllabus. 

Also, Read – Best Books to prepare for IBPS PO examination

Careers360: Do we need to have different strategies for prelims and mains exams?

NT Vaishakh: Yes. Mains Exam is of a higher level and requires further practice and strategising.

Also Read – How to prepare for IBPS PO examination 

Careers360: Any online test series you suggest for bank PO exam?

NT Vaishakh: PracticeMock for high-level questions, OliveBoard if you are a beginner.

Careers360: Please describe a typical day at work for Bank PO.

NT Vaishakh: As a PO, you are not given any responsibility. You are there to learn and train in different aspects of banking operations and business. You are expected to reach by 9:30 am and your work could stretch to 6:30-7 pm. You are expected to help out other managers in their work and also learn in the process. You get to sit in every department for a brief period and learn the nuances of the job.

Careers360: What are some of the major challenges that one must be ready to take head-on when considering a career in the banking industry?

NT Vaishakh: This is my personal opinion. I have always felt that Banking is a job which does not require much use of your brains and skills. Just follow procedures and you’ll do fine. Two important skills which can ensure a fruitful career in the banking industry are People Management and High-Pressure Tolerance.

Careers360: How should one prepare for PO interview? What are the common points where candidates can be rejected in the interview? What should one keep in mind while appearing in the Interview? 

NT Vaishakh: The GD and Interview are the most crucial stage of the selection process. A candidate must be aware of current affairs and be skilled in presenting his/her views in a constructive manner. But remember that a good Mains score would greatly improve your chances of getting selected.

Common reasons a candidate can be rejected can be a lack of confidence and inappropriate attitude towards work and life in general. Also, low marks in the Mains exam. 

My two golden rules for interview are:

  1. Don’t bluff

  2. It doesn’t matter what you say, but how you say it.

You may also like to read – How to prepare for Bank PO Interview 

Careers360: After which stage is the document verification done?

NT Vaishakh: For SBI PO, it is during the interview stage. If you fail to present any documents for genuine reasons, you could do it later during joining.

Careers360: Is there any medical test also? If yes, kindly share the medical test procedure.

NT Vaishakh: For SBI PO, I had a medical test after the final results. It is a tedious process where Rs. 3000 worth of body tests are conducted, which can be reimbursed once you join. From simple body fluid tests to ECG and USG, I had to spend a whole day for this. Generally, they don’t reject candidates because of physical problems. Even colour blind, partial deafness, asthmatic and diabetic candidates are selected. But this medical record is kept with them and is referred to when he/she goes for promotions (Scale V and above).

Careers360: Is there any training tenure after one is selected as a PO? If yes, kindly share the process.

NT Vaishakh: A PO needs to undergo training throughout his/her career. One may get 1 or 2 trainings per year. Trainings are the most relaxed and enjoyable time of one’s career. It is the time when one can bond with other POs and develop strong relationships. For an SBI PO, one will be deputed to an SBLC (State Bank Learning Center). Food and accommodation will be provided apart from the allowances and ticket reimbursements for attending the training. I earned Rs. 18000 extra when I attended my training for 2 weeks in SBICRM, Gurugram.

Also know all about SBI PO Selection Procedure 

Careers360: What are the things one should keep in mind while filling the circle preferences in PO exam?

NT Vaishakh: Choose a circle in which you are comfortable working. Many rumors go about for circle preference like branch business, work pressure etc. The scenario is the same throughout India. In case, you’re posted in a branch where there is tremendous pressure, at least he/she should feel relaxed when he/she returns from branch, where the climate and food should not cause trouble to him/her. This is one of the reasons why I opted for my home circle (and I did get it). But bear in mind that many may not be as lucky as I was.

Careers360: What is the career progression after joining a bank as a Probationary Officer?

NT Vaishakh: SBI PO is a job which provides multiple avenues for a bright career. Depending on your performance, you can become a Scale II officer in 2 years (Confirmation+Promotion). You will be posted as a Branch Manager and subsequently go up to Scale V i.e. AGM (Asst. General Manager) in around 12 years. With the fast track promotions introduced, one can become a Chairman in 25 years of service. Apart from this, one can become a JIBO (generally after Scale II) and get posted in a foreign branch for a period of 3 years. 

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Questions related to SBI PO

Showing 214 out of 214 Questions

sir kya mai eligible hu sbi po k liya graduation m mera 51.7777% tha mai obc category se hu please reply sir because i am very confused.

Apoorva Student Expert 21st Nov, 2019

Hello dear student,

All those students are eligible who have qualified their graduation from a recognised university or by any Central university to meet the eligibility criteria for SBI po exam . There is no minimum marks required to be eligible for the exam it's just that you should have qualified your graduation. While as you said you are an OBC candidate then you are allowed to give exam for 7 times. While there is a eligibility criteria for age that is lower age limit is 21 while upper age limit is 30 if you want to appear in the exam . I hope this was helpful

Best wishes

1 View

if we preparing sbi po clerk exam from past 1 year can we crack in first attempt or not?

Bhaskar Nakkina Student Expert 21st Nov, 2019

Hii ,

Cracking Any exam in the first attempt purely depends on one's Capability and his knowledge.  As far as I know SBI PO clerk exam Questions are of easy to Moderate level. But the one who can get the Correct Answer in less time wins. The exam is of 60 Mins Duration comprising of 100 Questions. So It is difficult to crack At one time. But can do it in 2 to 3 attempts. If you feel that i have knowledge and time management skill you can clear that.


if my main focus is on competitive exams like SBI PO, RRB and civil services. Is it ok choice to choose BCA as my graduation degree??

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 17th Nov, 2019


The three exams that you've mentioned have different exam pattern, but the eligibility criteria is common that is graduation in any discipline from a recognized university(I'm also referring this for RRB Graduate level exams).

People from different background have cracked the above mentioned exams as they have put efforts, so you can also crack any of these exams with BCA degree. During your graduation time period itself, you can go through the syllabus of these exams and start with the subjects involved, with little steps you'll be definitely able to succeed. Going through syllabus, previous year questions, doing mock test regularly and most importantly practice, revision are extremely important in cracking any government exams

Now, coming to your question, if you are particularly interested in cracking one exam among the three, then I'll suggest from the onset, you go with that. As I mentioned, these exams have different pattern, so preparing for all three at one time will become highly difficult for you.


Hello, My birth date is 25 April 1990 (General category) so will I be eligible to give sbi po 2020 as I have seen in ibps website that the age limit should not be more than 30 yrs as on 1st June 2020?

Tejal Nemlekar 21st Nov, 2019

Yes, you are eligible. As per  SBI PO 2020 eligibility criteria, candidates must be between 21 to 30 years (general) can apply for SBI PO. Candidates must be born not later than April 1, 1998, and not earlier than April 2, 1989, to be eligible for SBI PO 2020.

1 View

my dob is 21-01-2000 can i apply for sbi po??? if not for what Ill be eligible...

Bhaskar Nakkina Student Expert 11th Nov, 2019


For SBI, the Basic  age eligibility criteria is the candidate must be minimum 21 years of age and maximum age is 30 years of age. And also the candidate must have passed graduation from a recognised Board of University with minimum 50% marks. As your DOB is 2000 , you are not eligible to apply for the exam.

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