Aparna H.S. (Rank-613/CSE16):
Public Administration Optional, B.Tech from Bangaluru, NABARD officer
Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?
Shri Chattar Singh
Q2. How long was the interview?
Around 40 minutes
Q3. Why do you want to join civil service? Why don’t you continue in your graduation field? Social service can be done from private sector too. [Since I don’t know whether they ask you this question or not. But if they had asked- what will be your reply?]
I was not asked this question, thankfully, as I till the previous day I hadn’t framed the perfect answer to this question, as I wanted the answer to be unique as well as truthful. (so if any of you haven’t arrived at the proper answer, its okay, have a framework and say it, they wont judge solely on this one answer)
I would have told something on lines of my grad background restricting me to the technical aspects of things, while civil service provides opportunity to take this technological innovations to a larger level, reach out to more people, enable improvement in sectors through technology, by being involved in the ground level as well as policy level etc. Also I would that my experience at NABARD has given me taste of public sector, and shown how much more potential for work is there by getting into civil services.
Q4. Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did you reply and other pleasant or uncomfortable experiences during the interview. (Earlier some toppers only tell me their question but not their answer. I would appreciate if you give both Question + your original answers)
Ch – is this you (showing my photo)
Me – yes sir.
What is keeping u busy these days
Me – told about working in nabard
Ch – How long
.Me -around 3 months sir ( it was almost 6, don’t know why I said 3)
Ch – very new then, what is NABARD
Me – national bank for agri and rural development, it’s a developmental finance institution.
Ch – (cut me short) can I open an account there
Me – No sir, its not a retail bank
Ch – Why then bank
Me – (I fumbled, and was explaining about lending to other banks, refinance, nabard’s status as DFI, and mentioned direct lending )
Ch – So, it does direct lending also now?
Me – ( was excited , as I wanted to speak on pros cons of going to direct lending, was prepared for follow up questions etc started to tell about whom nabard does direct lending..was cut short)
Ch – Ok, that’s okay. computer science, do u study more of hardware or software
Me – Software sir
Ch – Why more software
Me – ( I don’t remember what exactly I said, but it wasn’t very clear/accurate, many questions followed)
Ch – Why in any stream not much of hardware is taught, say electronics also..
Me – ( I was talking of demand supply, hardware is still taught etc)
Ch – Why is India not prominent in manufacturing (guess this arose of my talking of demand supply)
Me – Spoke of 2nd IR we missed, but we caught on the IT revolution, opened our markets at right time, brught in investments, and even home grown companies like infy became world renowned
Ch : We only provide services, In software also there i-s not much innovation, no patents?
Me – Sir, patents are not allowed in Software in India
Ch – (smiling, thank got he didn’t go into IPR! ) I mean there not many products, or anything new for that matter
Me – Yes sir it is true we have focussed on services. But that was the demand then. Now more or less that secotr is saturating, BPO, consultancy etc and hance the focus is on products and innovation. And even in India, this change is happening, companies have to reinvent themselves otherwise they will soon become redundant. That is also the reason, product innovation focus is also there in our Startup India programme. IOT is coming up, AI , ( I spoke something on these lines and more)
Ch – Yes, so this brings automation , job loss, where will ppl go, what shud we do? Even in manufacturing before so many wud produce some quantity, now very less human power needed? What to do for our youth in this scenario
Me – Sir automation will definitely come and will lead to job losses. We cannot say no to automation too, coz even if we say no someone else will do it, some other country, and market mechanisms of the world will ensure we end up loosing. So what we should do is prepare our youth for whats coming, make curriculams of schools and colleges better, so the students can cope with the changes. Ensure success of Skill India and similar programmes, so our youth can find jobs in the changing scenario. It is not that all jobs will go, only their nature and quality will differ, and we should prepare our country for it.
M1- You are from, chikkammagaluru, an historical event in Indian politics happened there
Me – Yes sir, Indra Gandhi’s election
M1 – yes yes most memorable anyway u weren’t born then
Me – ( just smiled )
M1 – you have good extra curriculals, you have taught in schools, what are some of the problems u see?
Me – sir do u mean in education, in the schools ? (I had taught English to govt school children through an NGO Youth For Seva )
M1- not necessarily, anything we have lots of health, societal problems, where does Ur interest lie?
Me- health sir, the primary health system in our county. (I elaborated a bit, spoke on phc etc)
M1- what are the problems in phc?
Me – spoke on lack of doctors, absentism, infra problems, apathy etc I also told about how free supplies from government were diverted in my village, and also sold as fertilizers!
M1 –but phc is also for set of villages., how will everyone come there even if all these problems are solved?
Me – I talked about asha workers, giving them tablets for telemedicine, connecting them to doctors
M1 – have u worked in a phc
Me – No sir, but I have visited in my village
M1 – You worked in Motorola, it lost out its space to Nokia then Samsung, why? It was such a famous brand before
Me – Told about how Motorola didn’t adapt to changing times. But even Nokia didn’t, I t didn’t adapt to smart phone era, It entered agreement with Microsoft long after Samsung started with Android phones. I also told how Motorla regained its space after being acquired by Google, when it stormed back into market with Moto G especially in India.
M1 – did u work in any communication technology there
Me – not exactly sir, I was in the software development centre in Bangalore, I worked on Android apps involving camera technology
M2 – he was blinking and opening eyes wide repeatedly, dunno if he had some problem or he was trying to distract me
M2 – Internship in engineering – Why is it necessary
Me – I spoke of how engineering curriculum doesn’t always reflect present needs, and working in industry gives exposure to that. Mentioned survey that many engineers unemployable
M2 – Technology changing at fast place, so even if you learn something in internship, it will soon become outdated, so What’s the point of internship
Me – Sir , in college there is prescribed syllabus, reading material, which will ensure marks/ grades to pass the course. Howeve in a working environment, there is very little handholding, we need to learn on the job on our own, with requirements that change very fast, so internship prepares us for this sort of learning on the go, by ourselves, and putting into action, rather than any one technology in particular. So this will be major takeway to know reality of workspace, and how to make ourselves suitable for it
M2 –Ok, Why can’t we have a common engineering curriculum instead of different branches..I think that’s better. In medicine there is no specialisation in Graduation
Me – but sir we do learn basics of all branches in first year, then we move on to specialization of our branch. In each of these there are so many specializations ,so if we learn the branch in particular, it will help for post grad
M2 – (he cut me while speaking ) In first-year do u learn chemical engineering
Me – No sir, but we have chemistry in one semester
M2 – Chemistry and chemical engineering is wholly different isn’t it
Me – said yes sir, but — told something – don’t remember
M4 and M3 had friendly laughs on who shoud ask next, then chairman said any of u ask
M3 – You mentioned Startup India before, – why do u we need startups, already big companies are there
Me – I talked of how its hard for big companies to innovate as they have their markets , customer portfolio , technology, and any change will be very costly . while its easy for startups, plus new ideas. We have so many problems in our country – societal, health, education. Startups can be the answer etc…
M3 – So u did some startups?
Me – no sir, but I worked in couple of them
M3 – So what do startups want?
Me – firstly, they need funds and capital backing
M3 – Why is outside funding necessary? Have u heard of crowd funding.? Some feel outside funding scuttles innovation..isn’t it so
Me – I said there are pros and cons of both. Outside funding may give much needed capital backing, and also bring in expertise of experienced investors who know market, does not always scuttle innovations. While more freedom in crowd funding or bootstrap (self funding) there are limitations in terms of outreach etc
M3 – So in case u do not get into services, consider u want to do a startup, what are the key things u wud look at?
Me – First sir, I would get a good team
M3 – Yes yes that’s very important, then
Me – Then secondly., I would want an idea, a problem to solve, which will create impact on being solved , make a mrk. And funds of course
M3 – Say u are heading district, or say u r director of startup india, how will u promote /help startups
Me – I said something on lines of facilitating the startups, connecting them to investors, connecting them to market, giving specific problems ,seeking solutions , gave example of startup india hackathon, and incorporating the solution from a government level – if its for health etc
M3 – So facilitating startups, that will give u satisfaction right (he was widely smiling)
Me – I said startups only means, not ends, if they lead to good ends like solve problems of our country, then yes I ll be satisfied. But currently in India mostly retail based startups, so many doing the same thing wont be sustainable
M3 – yes yes indeed we want technology to solve problems
M4 – Why computer science u took as Ur engineering discipline
Me – I was telling on how I ws not sure, now the trend is to do engineering then think what to do, wasn’t interested in electronics, good work opportunities in cs after grad..
M4 – (he cut me) so good job was the only attraction?
Me – No sir , I was also interested in programming since school, that time I didn’t know what all CS engineering entails, closest to liking coding was cs engineering so I took it
M4: which areas in computer science do you like
Me – Mobile Computing, IOT ..
M4 – But now, there are so many Security issues in internet of things, isn’t Information Tech a demon now?
Me – Sir in any are there is always a risk, it depends on how we use innovation. IoT opens up a lot of potential to change many things as we know it, to better lives of many. For instance, in college I was part of project where we developed an Android Application which could communicate to Arduino microcontroller in a drip irrigation system,so farmers could control the irrigation by sitting in their homes. Now even Govt is doing something similar on mass scale. This is just one example of IoT. But , I do agree, while terrorisms and bombs may have been the hugest things 10 years back, there are even now, but now cyber terrorism may soon become threat. For instance 2 days back we saw the Wanna Cry attack. It boils down to there are opportunites and threats, how we utilize the opportunities, reduce the threats ( my answer was on these lines, may not have been an easy flow like it appears here)
M4 – So how do we tackle these
Me – Sir, first and most important is education and awareness. If people are vigilant enough, that itself will go a long away in preventing these attacks. For instance, having a strong password for neworks and systems, following good safe practices, keeping systems updated with latest anti virus defintions etc, having latest software. For instance sir the core reason of Wanna cry attack also was because systems were running on Windows XP for which support has been stopped by Microsoft plus they hadn’t applied the patch which Microsoft had released for the vulnerability. Also, I have seen durng District Training in Nabard that even banks are running on outdated software n OS eg APGVB Andhra Pradesh grameen vikas bank, this opens up the systems to huge number of possible attacks
M4 – So is it so easy, if systems are updated and ppl are vigilant will it solve all problems
Me- No sir, but it will definitely reduce them to a minimum and we can ensure have defence systems to tackle the rest. If not making things totally fool proof, we can ensure risks are reduced.
Ch – thank you Aparna
Board was very cordial, about M2 dunno if his eye movements were intentional or not, M1 had gone out in middle, they were having tea and snacks in between, M3 and M4 were smiling most of the time. The chairman was busy writing when others were asking questions
Q5. Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions? Was it a stress interview, did they ask any uncomfortable questions? If yes, how did you handle it?
Looking back it feels I should have expected the way my interview went. However, I felt it was very unexpected as it almost entirely focused on technology, IT. The mistake was on my end – I Had filled too much in my DAF, in hobbies, extra curriculars, achievements. I had Carnatic music, poetry, blogging etc in hobbies and had prepared extensively on them. But there was not a single question. However I enjoyed the way my interview, and felt satisfied on my performance when I came out of the room.
A word of advice to those filing DAF – fill crisply, don’t give details in DAF so that they can quiz you on them, and keep everything clearly visible in points
Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?
Nothing as such
Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?
Nothing as such, though I heard many facing problems because of high bmi. Ensure its below 30, you will be fine.