[Topper’s Interview] Gaurav Gupta (CSE-2013/AIR-117): IIT Kanpur, History Optional, Technopreneur

topper cse 2013 rank 117 Gaurav Gupta

[Topper’s Interview] Gaurav Gupta (CSE-2013/AIR-117): IIT Kanpur, History Optional, Technopreneur

  1. Candidate Profile
  2. Education
  3. Introduction
  4. Electronic Vs Paper material
  5. Tempo and style
  6. Struggle of a Senior player
  7. Working professional
  8. Prelims (CSAT) General studies
  9. Prelims (CSAT) Aptitude
  10. Prelim accuracy
  11. Mains: Compulsory language paper
  12. Mains: Essay
  13. General Studies (Mains) paper 1
  14. General studies (Mains) paper 2
  15. General studies (Mains) Paper 3
  16. General Studies 4: Ethics, Integrity, aptitude
  17. GS4 Ethics case study answers in Mains 2013
  18. Mains answer-writing?
  19. Mains Optional Subject – HISTORY
  20. Before the interview
  21. During the interview
  22. CSE-2013 Marksheet
  23. Career Backup
  24. Views on UPSC reforms
  25. Insecurity about profile
  26. Wisdom
  27. Credit: Friends/family
  28. BOGUS Marketing Propaganda

Candidate Profile

Rank in CSE-2013 117
Roll No. 153451
Age 28 Year 10 months
Total attempts in CSE 2
Optional Subject History
Medium chosen for Mains answers English
Schooling medium Hindi/English
College medium English
Home town/city Kanpur
Work-experience if any 5.5 year
Details of other competitive exams, including success/failures NA
Details of coaching, mock tests, postal material for any competitive exam (if used)
  • Prof BRA Rao Institute at Bangalore for GS
  • Vision IAS Test series (For GS Paper-II and III)
service preference #1, 2 and 3 IAS, IFS, IRS
state cadre preference (top3) UP, MP, UK


% in class 10 79
% in class 12 82
Schooling (Medium) Hindi/English
Graduation course and % 7.4
Name of college, city, passing out year IIT Kanpur, Electrical Engineering, 2006
Post-graduation NA
Any other professional courses NA


Q. Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?

topper cse 2013 rank 117 Gaurav Gupta

I have been born and brought up in Kanpur and then completed Engineering also from IIT Kanpur. After that I along with my friends started company – Aurora Integrated Systems developing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and shifted to Bangalore in 2007. During the job I had opportunity to interact and watch closely government (both civil and military domain) and got inspired to do more and contribute bigger towards nation. I felt by being in public sector I can contribute more. Challenges faced as entrepreneur inspired to get into the system. The job profile of administrative services also attracted me. So finally decided to take up civil services examination in 2012 and till that time our start-up was also stabilized and could be taken further by my friends. I was well supported by my wife in my decision. My parents live in Kanpur while younger brother is also graduate from IITK.

Electronic Vs Paper material

Q. In recent times, there is spur in electronic material- blogs, sites, pdfs, RSS-feeds. Many aspirants feel bogged down by this information overload. So, how much do you rely on electronic material and how much on the paper material (Books, newspapers)? If possible narrate a typical day in your studylife. What is your style of preparation

  • I personally believe in notes making so that I can revise them at the end moment
  • I had a great friend circle with whom we used to debate/discuss/frame questions/write answers in a given time frame/discuss the answers etc – this “cooperative learning” helped me a lot
  • I heavily depended on electronic material/internet but one has to make sure that one is not reading the same thing/issue/topic from multiple sources. One really has to make sure that once you have fixed that you will read some topic from this source (after evaluating its efficacy) just stick to it and don’t get distracted to alternate material available from different source unless it is offering something very different.
  • I used to dedicate days to various GS papers and optional so that I can distribute equitable days to each subject. And I had fixed the sites/magazines/books I will refer and then I only relied on them.
  • For anything which was not covered in above fixed sources (based on syllabus), I will research it separately using internet search and make note of it.

Tempo and style

Q. People know what books and syllabus points are to be prepared. But most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how do you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings and distractions?

  • Consistency is very important and fortunately I have been consistent since my school days and don’t believe in eleventh hour study and rush.
  • I used to make weekly targets (topic vise), and daily routine of study hours and tried to achieve those (but flexible in terms of what to study depending on the mood)
  • I also had revision targets before 1-1.5 month of Mains and 15 days before prelims.
  • All this helped me motivated and stick to my schedule and maintaining the consistency.
  • Regular (weekly) meeting with serious candidate friends kept my motivation and spirit of competition. Also support of my wife who always helped me to maintain the motivation level.

Struggle of a Senior player

After 1-2 failures in any competitive exam, a phase of mental saturation comes. The person knows the booklist, he knows what is necessary to succeed. But it doesn’t yield result. The armchair ‘experts’ would point out UPSC is ‘testing’ emotional intelligence of the candidate or UPSC wants to break the backs of senior players, daily conspiracy theories on orkut involving DP Agrawal….…Not to mention all the emotional struggle-against those irritating neighbor and relatives ..My question are two:

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