UPSC 2013 Civil Services Topper Interview: AIR 2 Munish Sharma
UPSC Civil Services Exam 2013 All India Rank 2 topper Munish Sharma cracked the prestigious exam in his second attempt.
A Graduate in Biochemistry and Post Graduate in Management from Delhi’s LBSIM, Munish worked with reputed firms like KPMG before entering into Civil Services preparations.
In this interview with Careers360, Munish Sharma says that he found adaption to the recent pattern changes by UPSC easiest part of his preparation. He also shares an embarrassing moment during his interview stage where he could not answer complete name of ‘Noida’. We bring you more interesting insights from his preparation journey for Indian Administrative Services in this special interview with the topper.
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“I never kept myself limited to silos of information. I followed a lot of newspapers and participated in meaningful discussions with my friends and teachers at my coaching institutes. I focused more on basics than cramming data and facts.”
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Careers360: Congratulations for your outstanding performance in Civil Services Examination! How did you celebrate your success?
Munish Sharma: Thank you. I have learnt to take success and failure in my stride. I took time out to be with my friends and family.
Careers360: What were the key factors behind your brilliant performance?
Munish Sharma: I have always been a voracious reader. I was good at all subjects during school days. I also have good experience in teaching.
I am always open to constructive feedback. All these have made the difference.
Careers360: Share your preparation strategy for different stages?
Munish Sharma: I can't think anything specific for different stages. This exam must be seen as a whole.
Careers360:Tell us something about your academic background and work experience?
Munish Sharma: I consider myself a scientist at heart, though working in the corporate sector has instilled the sense of business principles. I went to MCL Saraswati Bal Mandir for schooling. I did my Graduation in Biochemistry from Sri Venkateswara College, and Post Graduation in Management from Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management. The common denominator at all these places was dedicated pool of faculty and a focus on basics.
I have worked at different organizations including The Smart Cube, KPMG and Team Computers.
Careers360: What was the key career ambition that kept you motivated towards IAS? Where did you get inspiration for IAS?
Munish Sharma: My school teachers motivated me a lot to write these exams. The desire to take them was rekindled after interacting with my Professor's husband, who is an IPS officer. I felt that Civil Services provide right opportunities to bring ‘change’.
Careers360: What was your preparation strategy?
Munish Sharma: I never kept myself limited to silos of information. I followed a lot of newspapers and participated in meaningful discussions with my friends and teachers at my coaching institutes. I focused more on basics than cramming data and facts.
Careers360: What were your subjects at mains level?
Munish Sharma: I opted for Law as an optional subject. Other subjects are compulsory for everyone.
Careers360: Which were the easiest and the toughest part of your preparation?
Munish Sharma: The easiest part was adapting to recent changes by the UPSC. The changes are for good. The toughest part was to battle various issues at home; for instance, my mother had to undergo an open-heart surgery and my grandmother was detected with cancer. Besides these family health issues, just two days before the exams, we had a theft at home, which made us all very high-strung.
Careers360: Please share a few questions asked to you by the interview board? Which was the toughest question for you to answer?
Munish Sharma: I didn't know the full form of NOIDA; had read it many years ago. I didn't know more than five synonyms for 'boiling' (I had indicated cooking as a hobby). I was asked basic questions from my background. There wasn't anything tough. It's never a test of knowledge, but of personality. The board was very cordial and supportive.
Careers360: What was your interview score? Did you also find any uneasy moment during your interview?
Munish Sharma: I got 204 out of 275 in the interview round. There wasn't anything like that. Everything went smoothly.
Careers360: How important is coaching for preparations for top jobs exams like Civil Services?
Munish Sharma: Coaching surely makes preparation simpler, but one needs to be careful while selecting the institute.
Careers360: Besides studies, what do you do? Which sport do you like most?
Munish Sharma: I am into experimental cooking, reading fiction and on science, writing poetry and listening to melody-based music. Though I am a tennis fan, I cannot play it well.
Careers360: Which are your favourite movies and books? Which movie did you watch and book you read last time?
Munish Sharma: I last watched Filmistan and read Infero by Dan Brown. I have many favourites, but love the Lord of the Rings trilogy (books as well as movies) the most.
Careers360: Are you active on social media. How should aspirants use these platforms?
Munish Sharma: I am not on Linkedin; haven't felt the need for it. I sometimes look at the public posts of my favourite singers on Twitter. I just follow scientific and academic journals and newspapers on facebook and share interesting stories on my timeline. It's a good way to keep in touch, but everyone needs to draw their own lines, should these start becoming counterproductive. Personally, following these pages helped me a lot with current affairs.
Careers360: Please share your valuable tips and message for Civil Services aspirants.
Munish Sharma: I would advise the aspirants to takeall subjects seriously. Don't lose focus. Civil Services are not the end of the world; prepare well, but be stoic about the results.
Careers360: You would soon be joining bureaucracy. What are the top three agenda that you believe, should guide a bureaucrat?
Munish Sharma: A bureaucrat needs to be dynamic, neutral and sensitive. I look forward to learning more about the expectations during the training.
Careers360: How big is corruption a problem? What is your model for solving this evil in our system?
Munish Sharma: I think the locus of battling corruption should be internal. Make a start with yourself. Blame game won't bode well for our country.
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) declared results of Civil Services Examination 2014 on Jun 12 this year. As many as 1,122 candidates selected for India’s top jobs including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS).
Gaurav Agrawal topped the list by securing maximum marks in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2014, while Munish Sharma and Rachit Raj secured second and third positions respectively on the UPSC Result list.
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