Career Guidance: A Long and Winding Road

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‘What do you want to do after IIT?’- A question that’s asked frequently and yet one that’s very difficult to answer for most people. Picking the right option is never easy and guidance is essential. With this in mind, we decided to embark upon an ambitious journey – a series of Career Guidance sessions for our Internal Fellows, most of whom are in the second year.

It didn’t take us long to decide which career option to focus on in our introductory session. I-A-S was clearly the buzzword among our fellows. Yet, most of them had a very vague idea of what this career option actually entailed and where it would take them. To give them perspective and some hard facts, we brought in the experts!

Our first speaker was Abhishek Upadhyay, a final year student preparing for the civil services, who tried to throw some light on the preparation that goes into giving the exam. He was quick to bust a popular notion that IAS was taken up only by people who were not sure what else they could do by highlighting how it was one of the most competitive career options. He also stressed on the importance of exploring different options before deciding that IAS was what one wanted to do, before proceeding to talk about the exam itself.

But preparation is only one side of the story. Where will the civil services take you – in life? To answer this, we called upon the vast experience of Mr. Mohan Pyare, an IAS officer who has served for the last 23 years.

He provided a historical perspective on the IAS, narrating its role in providing the structural backbone to the country since independence. He went on to talk about how the civil services have historically been among the few professions where “non-English speaking” people from rural backgrounds have not been at a disadvantage.

The session actually went on for much longer than we had planned as the Fellows got absorbed in the stories they were told. Being an graduate of IIT Delhi himself, Mr. Pyare was able to connect with them and offered them a perspective they could understand and identify with. A particularly memorable moment was when he proudly recalled the long afternoons spent working with hostel-mates towards an elusive goal and the satisfaction of actually being there today was evident.After sharing other experiences and anecdotes from his long career, he encouraged the Fellows to come forward and ask questions themselves.

Fellows like Chander and Prince, who are extremely enthusiastic about joining the civil services, seized the opportunity and got answers to different questions that had been bothering them“How easy or difficult is it to work in a diverse range of sectors as an IAS officer?” “Is it possible to pursue one’s passion for social work after joining the civil services?” For over an hour, they threw question after question at our speakers, who were more than happy to see the enthusiasm they exhibited.

The vibrant Q and A session was a testament to the success of the introductory session. Choosing the right career may well be a long journey. But we are confident that our Fellows are off to a great start.

– Abhilasha Sinha

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