Chanakya IAS Academy motivates candidates to convert their weaknesses into strengths and think like civil servants.
It is not easy to talk extempore on a topic as abstract as success for five hours at a stretch. But A.K. Mishra, managing director of Chanakya IAS Academy, New Delhi, does it with ease and aplomb. Thousands of civil services aspirants attend his lectures, which are usually punctuated with anecdotes, personal experiences and film clips to make them an interactive experience. This method of lecture not only keeps the students glued to their seats but also encourages them to engage positively with the speaker.
Mishra, fondly called Motivation Guru by his peers, founded the academy with the idea in his mind of creating a different learning experience. I never believed in rote learning. But I understood the civil services examinations well. I knew what the Union Public Services Commission wanted. Almost four lakh aspirants take the civil services examination each year and almost half of them come from rural and semi-urban backgrounds. Mishra understood that the candidates from rural and semi-rural regions had the talent and strong aspiration to become civil servants but lacked the confidence to compete with more privileged aspirants. The most important part of the preparation for the civil services examination is the conditioning of the students. I realised that the very reason that made many aspirants feel inferior to others was actually their strength because they came from diverse backgrounds and knew India better. Thus, Mishra formulated the popular programme called Art of Success and evolved a specialised course called Human Software Programme Development.
Mishra tries to inculcate in his students what he calls administrative traits. A civil servant should be a person who has a good level of emotional intelligence. He should be quick and decisive and should manage his time judiciously, he says. In order to clear the civil services examination, a person should think like a civil servant and not like an academic. The candidate should give solution-driven answers instead of showing off his knowledge of the subject.
Mishra tries to hone the skills of the students. This is possible only when students orient their thinking in the right direction. He says: The power to think is the greatest power that human beings have. This is the power that makes one a loser or an achiever.
The spectacular success of the academys programmes has prompted Mishra to open more branches in all the major towns of India. Since 1993, Chanakya IAS Academy has produced more than 2,200 civil servants. The academy has two teams of teachers. One team focusses on subject matters and covers the syllabus of civil services examination and the other focusses on enhancing the skills of the students, Mishra says. And it is for this reason that Mishra is also one of the most popular trainers of the personality test, or interview, the third stage of the civil services examination.