Our approach is different'

Print edition : June 17, 2011

A.K. Mishra, managing director of Chanakya IAS Academy. -

Interview with A.K. Mishra of Chanakya IAS Academy.

CHANAKYA IAS ACADEMY, with its headquarters in New Delhi and with many other centres in the country, is an institution that prepares candidates not only for the civil services but also for their lives. In this interview to Frontline, A.K. Mishra, managing director of the academy and popularly known as Success Guru, talks about his vision and mission of training young minds to become leaders by joining the civil services.

Your academy gets a lot of appreciation. What is your speciality, or USP?

We are different because our approach is different. Our USP is overall personality development of the students. They are groomed to think like civil servants from the day they join the academy. In addition to quality teaching on the prescribed syllabus, we create a personality in them that makes them successful in the civil services and in any other walk of life.

What is the focus of your Lead India Academy?

While Chanakya IAS Academy trains those who want to become civil servants, Lead India Academy equips different kinds of professionals with leadership qualities. This is the age of globalisation, and we need quality leaders in different sectors to interact with global leaders for the growth of our country. We are working on this project and we will establish it at an opportune time.

You have an impressive record of training and sending aspirants to the civil services for around two decades. What makes your candidates so successful?

We follow a holistic approach. Our Upgraded Foundation Course provides students training from the preliminary to the main examination and up to the interview level. We help them realise their true potential as I strongly feel that a person is conditioned from childhood to succeed only up to a certain level. Through the technique of human software development, or reprogramming of the mind, we help them develop administrative traits and learn how to express themselves like civil servants.

Other than the two branches in Delhi, you have opened centres in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Chandigarh and Pune. How do you manage the standard of teaching and study materials across these centres?

We have a specialised team of trainers and teachers who manage the quality of teaching and the standard of study materials. We control our teaching standards from Delhi, and our trainers enforce these standards at all the centres. At every centre we provide tailor-made study materials for guidance.

We also have a research and development team consisting of retired bureaucrats and subject and personality experts who are constantly engaged in improving the quality of the training programmes.

When should one start preparing for the civil services examinations?

One should start preparing while pursuing graduation studies, and one year should be dedicated to serious study before the preliminary test.

It has been observed year after year that those with engineering or other professional backgrounds have an edge over those with humanities backgrounds? What is your advice to humanities students?

Students from science background are precise and objective when answering questions. But those from humanities are lavish in explaining things. So my advice to students from humanities backgrounds is to be precise. They should do lot of prcis and comprehension exercises to get over their weaknesses. However, the essay paper gives humanities students some edge over students from the science stream.

What, according to you, are the soft skills required to become an IAS officer?

Success requires knowledge, skill and wisdom. While knowledge is common to all professions, skills are different for different jobs. Certain traits are distinctive in the case of the civil services: leadership qualities; tact in crisis management; decision-making capabilities; empathy; objectivity; communication skills, both written and verbal; and time management.

Moreover, the personality of a civil servant should develop on the lines of the spirit of and the guidelines in the Preamble to the Constitution. We are soon going to launch a separate Bodhi Tree programme to address this aspect.

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