Bhubaneswar: As candidates gear up for the upcoming UPSC mains examination in 2023, the success stories of previous year’s top performers continue to serve as a valuable source of guidance and inspiration. Among these accomplished individuals is IAS Kasturi Panda, a native of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, who achieved an impressive All India Rank (AIR) of 67 in her second attempt in the UPSC Civil Services Examination.
Kasturi — who previously served in Odisha Administrative Services — admits to being a “backbencher” during her school and college days. However, she says, being persistent is what set her on the path to success.
Kasturi began her UPSC preparations after completing her graduation at NIT Rourkela with a B.Tech in computer science. Her road to success was not without its share of challenges. In her first attempt at the UPSC examination, she faced disappointment as she was rejected during the interview round. However, undeterred by setbacks, she came back stronger on her second attempt. Her grit and the lessons learned from her initial endeavour propelled her to clear the examination, earning her a coveted spot among UPSC’s rank holders.
Kasturi says she opted for self-study as her mode of preparation. According to her, adopting a ‘smart study’ approach is essential to effectively cover the entire UPSC syllabus. She advises aspirants to begin by building a strong foundation through the study of fundamental materials. Kasturi herself followed this strategy by diligently studying textbooks from Class XI to XII. Additionally, she honed her skills by completing numerous practice test questions from the comfort of her home. Kasturi emphasises the significance of concentrating on one’s own mock tests, suggesting that UPSC candidates prioritise this aspect of their preparation.
Kasturi Panda’s journey from a “backbencher” to achieving UPSC Rank 67 is an inspiring story for aspirants across the nation. Her success sends a clear message that with persistence and hard work, even the loftiest goals can be achieved. Her story resonates with countless individuals who dare to dream big, proving that one’s past does not determine their future.