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IAS Interview Strategy Series-I





We are starting with the interview series for the candidates appearing for the interview this year. This is an initiative by the Toppers to share their interview experiences with the aspirants. This will be of immense help to design candidates their preparation for the IAS interview. In this strategy series we would try to share toppers experience on the following points:

• list of important questions asked in interview
• what was the focus of interview
• what were the areas of cross questioning
• Do you think, any mistake done in the process of facing interview board
• Suggestions for future aspirants..Etc…


Chairman of the Interview Board : Manbir Singh, IFS (Retd.)
Marks obtained in Interview: 189

List of Questions:

• Since I worked in McKinsey & Co. in Brussels, they asked me about significance of Belgium for India, the EU-India relationship etc.
• Why civil services after such an illustrious career in investment banking and strategy consulting?
• Difference between tactics and strategy?
• Issue of Rajat Gupta and SEC in New York? My take on the issue.
• Comments on loss of ethical standards in commercial practices.
• Since my hobby was cricket, I was asked questions on why IPL was successful and not IHL (Hockey), comments on Tamil Nadu banning SL cricketers in IPL, favorite cricketers etc.
• Some questions related to M&A (mergers & acquisition) in India….why there was slowdown in inward M&A and surge in outward M&A deals.
• Basic questions related to aircraft engines design as I had worked with GE Aircraft Engines in US for about 2 years after graduation from IIT Delhi.
• Questions related to IIM Bangalore and IIT Delhi. Specifically, the issues related to JEE entrance exam and difference in pedagogy methods between IIM B and IIM A.

Focus of the interview:

• “Why I was keen on joining civil services after such an illustrious career in investment banking?”

Area of Cross questioning:

• Ethics and contemporary business practices

Any mistake done in the process of facing interview board:

• “Was quite diplomatic related to Rajat Gupta issue, I could have been more forthright admitting that anyone involved in insider trading should be punished?”
• “Could have been more articulate in expressing contemporary ethical issues with respect to business practices in India. Forgot to include pharma patenting (Nexvar Issue), Cyber security related issues (alleged collusion between Microsoft and NSA) etc.”
• “Used highly technical language in both engineering and management related questions. Could see their faces turning blank and they never questioned back on many issues. Not sure, if it was right or wrong to do.”

Message for the future candidates appearing in interview:

• “Be thorough with your facts and CV.”
• “Be yourself……it’s good to think for 10-15 seconds, jot your thoughts together on the piece of paper and answer articulately in a logically coherent and structured manner.”
• “In most cases, your knowledge is better than the panel member’s knowledge, so, be humble yet confident.”


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