Subscribe print version with complimentary e-version @Rs.530 per annum; Subscribe only e-version @Rs.400 per annum. || !! ATTENTION ADVERTISERS !! Advertisers are requested to give full details of job Vacancies/ Minimum size will now be 200 for shorter advertisements || Click here to become an e-resource aggregator of Publications Division || New Advertisement Policy || ||

Success Stories

Issue no 05, 04 - 10 May 2024

UPSC-CSE 2023 #2 Animesh Pradhan's Success Mantra


Animesh Pradhan, a Computer Science graduate from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Rourkela, accomplished a remarkable feat by clearing the UPSC Civil Services examination in his maiden attempt, securing an All India Ranking of #2. Amidst the rigorous preparation while balancing his professional commitments, Animesh encountered significant personal challenges. In an exclusive interview with Chandan Kumar Chaudhary for Employment News, Animesh talks about how he managed to excel with resilience and determination.

Q: What was your key strategy for preparations?

A: Consistency was my guiding light. I adhered steadfastly to a routine of continuous study. Though faced with the inevitable ups and downs over the course of two years, my unwavering commitment stemmed from the desire to fulfill not only my own aspirations but also those cherished by my late parents. Despite the hurdles encountered, I remained resolute in my pursuit, unwaveringly dedicated to my goal. I primarily relied on standard preparatory materials and dedicated ample time to practicing answer writing.

Q: How difficult was it to prepare for the exam while also dealing with other commitments?

A: It's hard to put into words how I managed it all and what my situation was like. My strategy revolved around recognising the exam's demands and focussing my studies accordingly. Balancing a full-time job at Indian Oil Corporation Limited with exam preparations and household obligations limited my study hours to about five to six hours a day. Each day felt like a battle against various challenges. But despite it all, I drew strength from my mother who was battling cancer during that time. I was aware that time was running out, and I desperately wanted her to witness my success. It's heartbreaking that she couldn't be around to see it happen.

Q: Could you share your experience of the interview with our readers?

A: My interview experience was quite positive overall. Although I scored slightly below my expectations, I found the day enriching with new insights and experiences. Despite some room for improvement, I felt content and happy with the performance. The interview panel focussed on probing my life experiences. Hailing from Odisha, I was asked questions about my state's culture and landmarks like the Jagannath Temple. I was asked about the historical link between the Jagannath Temple and Sikhism, which was quite fascinating. It stems from Guru Nanak Ji's visit to the temple; it's believed he also established a Sikh Math during his time in Puri, Odisha. Additionally, as a computer science graduate, I tackled inquiries about my field as well as current affairs both national and international.

Q: What's your forward plan? Any specific priorities once you enter the service?

A: My top preference is serving the people of my state by choosing the Odisha cadre, with a strong inclination towards grassroots level works. I aspire to leverage my position to enact tangible improvements in the lives of ordinary citizens, particularly in areas like education and healthcare.

Q: How did your job at Indian Oil Corporation contribute to your success?

A: Indian Oil has been more than a workplace; it's been a pillar of support throughout my journey. My colleagues rallied behind me, fostering an environment conducive to my growth. Moreover, my role in machine learning and AI provided valuable insights applicable to my exam preparation.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring candidates preparing for competitive exams?

A: Persistence is key amidst the myriad challenges of exam preparation. At times, the journey may seem daunting, but it's crucial to revisit your initial motivations regularly. Lean on your support system and maintain a resilient mindset, focusing on continuous improvement and growth.

(The interviewer is a senior journalist. Feedback on this article can be sent to

Views expressed are personal.