-Deepshikha Maheshwari (PGP 2016-18)
She is a doctor, an Indian Railway Accounts Service officer and currently a first year student at IIM Bangalore. And no, these are not three different people being talked about here. We are talking about none other than Archana Maganti, the girl with the Midas touch, excelling at everything that she puts her mind and heart into.
She was adjudged the Best Outgoing MBBS student in her institute and the university topper, bagging a total of 51 gold medals. Yes, you read that right, 51 gold medals. While studying for MBBS, she decided to appear for civil services inspired by her civil servant parents. And boy, she cracked all the three stages of the much feared and revered UPSC examination in one go and secured an all India rank of 525. Her knack of excelling at whatever she gets involved in continued further with her emerging as the Best Outgoing Probationer at the end of 2 years of training for Railway Accounts Services. She is also a prolific sportsperson with swimming and badminton being her favourites and is a certified scuba diver.
Presenting to you an excerpt from the interaction with the lady herself along with her usual bursts of self-deprecating humour interspersed in between:
Q: What motivated you to move from medical studies to civil services?
A: My parents are both civil servants. After MBBS, from what I gauged from the lifestyle of my professors and my parents was that my parents were able to do much more for the society. I wanted to do something at the macro level and wanted to be involved in policy making, thus influencing maximum number of people in the country. I am very much interested in public health and would like to work in the health ministry or organizations such as WHO.
Q: How did you manage to prepare for civil services exam while pursuing your MBBS?
A: It may sound false but I never prepared much for civils. As soon as I finished my MBBS, I had to appear for the prelims exam. So, not much preparation went into UPSC exam. Every year, there are people like me who just write the civil services exam and get in without preparing a lot. It is just that these people aren’t very vocal about it. UPSC is a very strange and fascinating exam. It doesn’t just measure your knowledge but also measures your balance of mind on that day and whether you have the ability to look at a problem from all viewpoints. I think I only got in because I managed to impress the interviewers although my subject marks were really poor.
Q: Any piece of advice for our readers.
A: I would say meeting new and different people is a great learning experience. I only realized this when in my final year of MBBS, I met patients from different regions, religions and economic strata. One should dare to be different and not be afraid of taking risks. If you want to pursue something, go forward and do it.