Conversation with Ms Anu Kumari
Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Nagpur had the privilege to host Ms Anu Kumari on June 27, 2018 for a lecture and an interactive session with the student managers. Having secured the 2nd rank in the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2017, she ranked 1st amongst women. She also holds nine years of corporate experience.
The following is an excerpt from the interview with her.
Q1. After having a successful stint of nine years in the corporate sector, what inspired you to take up the Indian Civil Services Examination, managing not only to succeed but also to excel?
Ans. In the beginning of my career, there was a lot of on the job learning which was very exciting. The financial security that the job offered, was very fulfilling. In time, there was dissatisfaction because of the monotony; it was the same number crunching, same excel sheets and the same work. I wanted to explore other career options which were more oriented towards serving the society but I lacked courage. Finally, with the support of my family I decided to pursue UPSC. Also, the last precipitating factor was that I had only two remaining attempts and postponing it further would be the end. Being on the verge of it, allowed me to take the plunge.
Q2. UPSC being one of the toughest examinations, a lot of brilliant minds fall short of clearing it. You, on the other hand had so many responsibilities and yet, you managed to clear the exam. How did you manage to accomplish this feat?
Ans. There were two important factors behind my success. First was the constraint of being a mother which acted as a pressurising factor. I had the guilt of being away from my son, hence I could not waste a single minute. Second, I kept my sources very limited and did not have a plethora of reading materials from coaching institutes. I had very limited information presented in a beautiful manner. Therefore, a limited syllabus coupled with constant revisions, perseverance and restraints helped me succeed.
Q3. It is difficult accepting failure after thorough preparation. You were unable to clear the preliminaries for the first time by a margin of one mark. How did you cope up with it?
Ans. On a personal note, it wasn’t very difficult. There was only one and a half months for the preliminaries before my first attempt and it turned out to be great practice. I knew that I had ample number of attempts left and age was the only restriction. In short, with limited preparation, I was prepared to accept failure. But yes, it is devastating for people who prepare meticulously and are unable to succeed.
Q4. MBA being Business Management and IAS being Administration, what similarities did you find that can be applied to our corporate life?
Ans. There are a lot of similarities between Management and Administration. The former is management on various levels ranging from operational to top level, whereas administration itself is management at the top level. There are certain skills learnt during management education such as people management, handling groups through assignment and interacting with varied people which prepare us for such roles. In administration, it is all about getting things done. Another important learning is time management which plays a major role in administration as well as the corporate sector.
Q5. How does it feel to be back on campus and how has the experience been?
Ans. The feeling is extremely nostalgic and overwhelming. I graduated as a student of the institute, standing amidst the crowd with nothing special and today I have been invited back. I feel humbled. The kind of respect and love that has been showered upon me is very mortifying.
Q6. What advice would you give to the student managers?
Ans. These are the most important moments of your life. As you graduate, you will be in the corporate jungle of competition. These are the times that will remain entrenched in your mind forever, so live them and enjoy them. Get placed and have the courage to switch if needed. Pursue your dreams, be passionate and be a liberal thinker. Make great friends and cherish them.