“Leaving a good-paying job in Singapore for attempting Civil Services Exam was huge risk; but, clearing it one attempt was always been top-of-my-mind” says Agrawal Akshay Sunil (AIR 43; CSE 2018)

Intelligent, smart and with an aggressive attitude Agrawal Akshay Sunil has achieved a brilliant success in Civil Services Examination 2018.

Akshay picked up his battle smartly and gave it all to crack it in his first attempt and secured 43rd rank.

He also got selected in Indian Economic Service Examination 2018 (AIR 4).

He has gone ahead with his own subject Economics as optional subject.


27years old Agrawal Akshay Sunil, B Tech (Mechanical Engineering) from College of Engineering, Pune and MSc in Economics from National University of Singapore has accomplished his goal in the first attempt itself and has secured 43rd rank in Civil Services Examination 2018.

Recounting every moment about choosing career in Civil Service and how it became his immediate destination Akshay said, “I was working with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy as a researcher and I happened to meet many Indian Civil Servants there who had come there to do their mid-career trainings. Interacting with them made me realize the excellent work they have been doing and the amount of good work one can do for the society in Civil Services.”

“An inclination towards understanding the Indian society right from the childhood and love for reading and listening to different people has helped a long way. I chose Civil Service as a career for one simple reason that I found it the most intellectually challenging, physically demanding, and emotionally testing. At the same time, it is the best way to give back a measure to the society that we receive from it. Civil Service pays you decently as well. What can be a better career for anyone when one can get the best of all worlds in Civil Services!”Akshay-Sunil-Agrawal-IAS-Topper-CSE-2018-43rd-Rank-first Attempt-UPSC

It was not an easy decision as leaving a good-paying job in Singapore for attempting Civil Services Examination was huge risk; but, clearing it one attempt was always been top-of-my-mind.

My parents have been a huge support in all the decisions of my life and it was the biggest relief.

Acknowledging family’s contribution and showing gratitude Akshay said, “My family has my parents, my sister, and my grandmother. My father is a businessman, and my mother is a homemaker. My father showed me the dream of joining Civil Services since childhood but he never foisted his wishes on me. My sister and brother-in-law have been an immense support throughout my preparation since I stayed with them while I was studying. The success couldn’t have been possible without all the sacrifices my family made for me.”Akshay-Sunil-Agrawal-IAS-Topper-CSE-2018-43rd-Rank-first Attempt-UPSC

When it came to the right advice on preparation plan, I followed many people and picked up what I felt was suitable for me. Since I started preparing in Singapore, I was greatly helped by blogs of previous years’ toppers, many online videos on YouTube, and a lot of material available online for free.

I must mention that I got substantial amount of right advice from my friend, Vishwanjali Gaikwad, who is into the Foreign Service. Also my friends, Pranav Manghat, Sarang Junghare, and Sumit Kumthe have been a great source of information since this was my first attempt and I was as clueless as a new-born child. Dr Vivek Kulkarni, Jnana Prabodhini, Pune, has been the ultimate adviser, and Mr Mahesh Bhagwat, Senior IPS officer of Telangana cadre, was my go-to person for interview tips and preparation.Akshay-Sunil-Agrawal-IAS-Topper-CSE-2018-43rd-Rank-first Attempt-UPSC

It was channelized approach to studies contributed the most in getting top ranks in this attempt.

Doing a little extra from what was planned every single day, having patience with the exam process, and keeping away from social media helped me a lot.

In terms of strategy, notes making and revising them at least 2-3 times before the exam play a part.

Secret of Success

There is no shortcut to success and the path to success passes through the corridors of fun and adventure. Belief in this is the biggest secret.

Credit for Success

The entire ecosystem in which I studied; it obviously included my parents, my sister and her husband, my friends in India and Singapore, including my boss at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, DrKanti Prasad Bajpai, who have been a constant emotional support, and I must not miss my cook (aunty).

Apart from this, my mentors and philosophers, Sriram Sir, Vivek Sir, Bhagwat Sir, and most importantly, the Almighty!

Also Read: Preparation-Plan of Akshay Sunil Agrawal (AIR 43; CSE 2018)

Advice to motivate future aspirants

Success belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Always keep the beauty of getting into the Civil Services into mind and this will give you a big shot in the arm!

Also, staying abroad, I have realized that Indian Civil Service is one of the best and most glamourous careers in the world. Nothing can be a bigger motivation than the thought of getting into one of the world’s best careers.

I really think the first attempt is the best attempt since there is an excitement about something unknown in the first attempt. Hence, one must really prepare a good timetable for preparation and make sure that one honours the daily, weekly, and monthly targets.Akshay-Sunil-Agrawal-IAS-Topper-CSE-2018-43rd-Rank-first Attempt-UPSC

Last Update Monday 15th July 2019     

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