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IAS Success Story of Working Professionals

Civil Services are considered symbols of great power and prestige in India. Lakhs of candidates appear for the Civil Services Exam(CSE) conducted by UPSC every year and very few make it to the list.


The number of applicants appearing in the Civil Services Exam (CSE) in India has more than doubled in the last few years.


Working professionals form a major part of it. Despite securing good jobs, they try to look for novelty in their professional lives. After a few years of working are again exploring career options that provide job satisfaction and meaningful purpose in life.


After the 7th pay commission, salaries of the Civil Servants have come at par with those in the corporate sector. Apart from the attractive salary, the perks, and benefits associated with the job, the Diversity of work, opportunity to participate in nation-building and make a difference in the lives of people make Civil Services the best career option anyone can dream of.


The vastness of the UPSC syllabus, the unpredictability of the exam, intense competition makes this exam tough to crack. Many aspirants put in 10-16 hours of their time into preparation and still fail to clear.


Working in a full-time job along with preparing for civil services can be challenging. However one needs to adopt the right strategy and ace time management.


It is important to compartmentalize work life and the preparation and also prioritize what is more important during the day. If you prepare well at the right time and in the right direction, you can surely crack the UPSC exam, and studying for Hours is not Mandatory.


The blog takes you through the success stories of Working professional who cleared UPSC with flying colours:


Saurabh Bhawania’s:

  • He cleared the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) in 2018 with an All India Rank of 113.
  • The 32-year-old scored third highest marks (201) in the interview round in his second attempt after he failed to crack the Mains in his first attempt in 2017.
  • Saurabh topped the competitive exams while being a full-time parent and a working professional in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • He mainly focussed on revision, solving mock papers, answer writing practice, and reading only selective books.
  • He says-“It does not matter if you are a parent or a working professional. Taking out five hours is not impossible. All you have to do is sustain the momentum. Do not let a small headache or a family function come in your way. Willpower and discipline are two of your biggest strengths, exploit them wisely. Set your goal and embark on it without fear and doubts.”

Dinesh Kumar C:

  • He secured an All India Rank of 24 in UPSC CSE 2016.
  • This was his first attempt. He prepared for civil services while working as a Site Engineer in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd
  • his optional was Political Science and International Relations
  • He says-Focus, time, effort, and a little bit of sacrifice are enough to make it happen. Completing the syllabus is what is needed and hours of study do not matter at all-‘TRY TO WIN EVERY SINGLE DAY at a time

Nitin Sangwan :

  • He secured All India Rank of 28 in UPSC CSE 2015:
  • He worked in a private firm and then joined Indian Revenue Service (IRS) before he cleared the IAS exam in 2015. This was his 4th attempt at UPSC CSE and except for the first, on all the other attempts he made it to the final rank list at the age of 32.
  • He says-“Use your time very prudently. Don’t waste even a single minute, but at the same time also don’t overstress yourself and maintain good health”.

Pujya Priyadarshini-

  • She secured All India Rank of 11 in UPSC CSE 2018:
  • She cleared the Civil Services in the 4th attempt and joined the prestigious Indian Foreign Service.
  • This was her in 3rd attempt. Her optional was Sociology.
  • She completed her graduation B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce (Delhi University) and worked with a multinational accounting company and thereafter with Reliance Foundation.
  • She says-“Know yourself. Be who you are and play with your strengths.”

Mittali Sethi:

  • She secured All India Rank of 56 in UPSC CSE 2016
  • An orthodontist who was married and working when she had started preparing for CSE. She started preparing in 2014 and cleared the exam in the third attempt even though she was unable to clear Prelims in the previous two attempts. Her optional was Psychology.
  • She says-“Stay calm, and no matter how much you have read or not read, go out there with an open, positive thought. Enjoy the journey!

Anjali S:

  • She secured All India Rank of 26 in UPSC CSE 2017
  • She was a working professional and started preparing for Civil Services simultaneously. She hails from Kerala
  • She could not clear Prelims in 2 attempts, but in 3rd Attempt gets the 26th Rank!
  • He Optional subject was English Literature.
  • She believes that “Working gives you a sense of guiding, when you have failures.. it also gives you a solid place to fall on and you don’t fall on the ground!”

R Vaithinathan

  • He secured All India Rank of 37 in UPSC CSE 2015
  • This was his fourth attempt
  • What makes his achievement commendable is that he was working as a doctor in a Delhi hospital while preparing for the UPSC exam. He had to work for 24 – 36 hours at a stretch and then study during his 2-day break between hospital sessions.
  • Despite facing parental opposition for changing the career track he marched ahead and faced all odds in pursuing his IAS dream.
  • He says- “Don’t let a moment of defeat define your life’s outcome.”


The following summarizes the advice given by the UPSC toppers to aspirants who are working professionals:

Being in a full-time job, one can ideally study for 4-5 hours daily compared to the other full-time aspirants who dedicate around 9-12 hours on an average.


It is best advised to work with the time you have and make the best use of it rather than comparing yourself with others. Use the time available with you judiciously like time available during traveling to the office, short breaks, and so on. Utilize weekends and holidays to the maximum extent.


One can also join a weekend class or opt for a test series from one of the Best IAS Institute in Bangalore and the link for the same is given below for your reference:


Financial independence supports your preparation, one tends to be less anxious, be stable, and support their family and their preparation and having a job can be a backup plan. If the job is you need, you can continue to work without compromising your preparation with the right strategy and proper time management.


Everyone stressed the need to be very careful about your sources and book list. Do not rely on multiple resources, rather focus on limited books and get clear with the concepts.


If one misses out on reading their daily newspaper, they can opt for a monthly current affairs compilation from any of the Best IAS institutes in Karnataka, it provides a well compiled and organized study material for current affairs and saves a lot of time.


Setting a routine can be the most challenging part. A study routine of 4-5 hours a day is best advised. Proper planning and prioritizing coupled with quality and efficiency are needed.


  • Pick up a pace slowly and stick to it. Revision is the key and make the best use of technology during your preparation.
  • Never have a thought that preparing for UPSC while working is unique and is a difficult task. All these stories are live examples which prove that age or even a time crunch is no bar to clearing one of the toughest exams in the country.
  • Experience and the right mental attitude can prove to be your best assets. The stereotypes about the exam should not back you down.
  • Nothing is tough. Run for your life as this is going to be surely a life-changing experience!

February 2024