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IIT Delhi Grad Quit His High-Paying Corporate Job to Pursue UPSC Dream

IIT Delhi Grad Quit His High-Paying Corporate Job to Pursue UPSC Dream

Robin Bansal, an IIT Delhi graduate who quit his high-paying job within a year to prepare for UPSC CSE, secured an AIR 135 in his fourth attempt. He shares his learnings for aspirants trying to crack the exam.

The long-standing joke of Indian parents wanting their children to bag that sarkari naukari (government job) was a reality for the now 25-year-old Robin Bansal.

He was able to bring this dream to reality when the results for UPSC CSE came out this year. Clearing one of the most difficult exams in the country, Robin secured an All India Rank of 135 in his fourth attempt.

However, this was not Robin’s first attempt at cracking an important exam. Before attempting his civil service exam, he had prepared and passed JEE in 2015 to join IIT Delhi, from where he was placed in a high-paying job at Samsung in Bengaluru.

“The moment I got the job, I started to wonder if this really was my calling. Soon, I had this urge to quit and throw myself completely into the preparation for UPSC CSE,” he tells The Better India.

Reaching the last mile

Robin was born and raised in the small town of Lehragaga in the Sangrur district of Punjab.

“Growing up in a small town, I could see that it was only the civil servants who had the last mile reach in our country. If anything comes up, people in rural areas and small towns only have the government agencies to fall back on. So public service was always something that interested me,” he says.

“Thanks to my parents, the seed for becoming a public servant was sown in my heart when I was just a child. So I always had an inclination towards the profession, and I wanted to try my hand at it,” he adds.

After completing his schooling in his hometown, he cleared JEE and got admission to IIT Delhi in 2015.

“Getting admission to IIT Delhi was great as I had a keen interest in physics. I studied diligently in college. However, the urge to become a civil servant never died. Even when I was in college, I knew I will give the examination one day,” he informs.

Robin's parents sowed the seed of becoming a public servant when he was a child.
Robin’s parents sowed the seed of becoming a public servant when he was a child.

While life was busy shaping a different path for Robin, he had already made up his mind about attempting UPSC CSE.

“After graduating in 2019, I got placed in Samsung and moved to Bengaluru. While I was working there, I also started to prepare for the exams,” he says.

“Surely, the job was well paid, but it did not give me the satisfaction I was seeking. While I did start preparing for the exam while I was still working, I was not able to manage the timings and workload. I wanted to give my 100 percent to the preparation, and therefore decided to quit the job,” he adds.

Robin got a warm reception from his family on his decision to leave behind a high-paying job. “My family was as happy as I was with my decision. They always wanted me to become a public servant, so they supported my decision wholeheartedly,” he says.

In 2021, Robin quit his corporate job and fully committed himself to preparing for UPSC.

Talking about the motivation to quit his job and keep attempting the exam again and again, he says, “It was the passion of becoming a public servant that kept pushing me to work harder. I could see that my grades were improving, and I knew if I focus more, I will be able to crack the exam.”

Having cleared the CSE, Robin is keen on joining the Indian Police Services, given a choice.

‘What I learnt along the way’

Robin, who attempted the UPSC CSE three times before succeeding on his fourth attempt, emphasises the significance of learning from past mistakes. He provides valuable advice and helpful tips for aspiring candidates aiming to crack the exam.

  1. Detect your mistakes

UPSC CSE is one of the toughest exams to crack in India, and many times, it requires more than one attempt to clear it. “The good thing about various attempts is that you can always figure out what went wrong in the failed attempt. The aspirants have so much space to learn if they have the right mindset,” he says.

  1. Learn from the mistakes

“In my case, when I attempted the exam in 2019, I was not successful because I was not able to give my full attention to General Knowledge. I saw my shortcoming, so the next year, I worked hard to better myself in that category,” he shares.

Learning is a continuous process and even if you fix one mistake, there is always a chance of committing another error. Robin says, “I was not good at writing, so I had to practise writing fast and clearly. This I felt was one of the reasons for yet another failed attempt.”

Robin cleared the UPSC CSE on his fourth attempt.
Robin Bansal cleared the UPSC CSE on his fourth attempt.
  1. Self-study or coaching?

While coaching has been helpful to many students, Robin has a countering view. “The entire package that the coaching centres provide to you is not always the best option. I had enrolled for coaching, but it did not really work for me. I suggest people have a good mix of both self-study and coaching,” he says.

He continues, “Never depend on just the material your coaching centre provides you with. The syllabus of the exam is as vast as the sea and few notes cannot cover it.”

Robin advises a judicious use of the internet, top recommended books, peer groups and other study materials for preparation. “If you are facing difficulties in a particular subject, then coaching would be a good option. Take help when needed for those subjects but also come back and self-study, and evaluate if those notes are enough for the exam,” he advises.

  1. Never forget to solve the previous year’s papers

The key to cracking the exams, Robin opines, is by solving the previous years’ papers. “Many aspirants get so indulged in covering the vast syllabus that they forget about the previous years’ papers,” he says.

“This is a mistake. The papers give a keen insight into the pattern of questions that can be asked in the current year. Solving previous years’ papers is one of the most important tricks that helped me crack the exams.”

  1. Take care of your mental health

The syllabus of UPSC CSE is vast and the repeated attempts can be tedious. “It can be harrowing on your mental health, so it is important to address that. With failure comes a lot of self-doubt. This makes it very important to have a safe and peaceful environment around you,” he recommends.

“Keep yourself in a comfortable and loved environment. During the preparation for this attempt, I stayed with my family at home. Having people who love and support me helped me to keep a cool and sane mind throughout the preparation and examination,” he says.

  1. Relax with your friends

Robin says that leisure time is also very important and advises aspirants to take breaks from studying and meet a few friends to relax from time to time.

He adds, “The basics like practising hard, revising subjects, and learning new things that you are not familiar with are some aspects that most of us are aware of. However, what we forget is that it is very important to give yourself time to breathe and release pressure. I was lucky enough to have good friends who helped me during the process.”

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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