A native of Karnal, Haryana, Vineet Kumar has secured an All India Rank 1 in UPSC engineering service exam (ESE) 2021 and will soon join the coveted central government job. But this is not his only feat, despite hailing from a middle-class family where his father was the only breadwinner growing up, Kumar has always had a sense of purpose of earning not just money but also respect. By the age of 26, he already has cracked some of the most prestigious exams including IIT entrance JEE Advanced, IIM entrance CAT, and PSU job entry exam GATE.
He is currently working as assistant executive engineer at ONGC, however, it is the sense of purpose which derived him to take the UPSC exam. Cracking the UPSC ESE not only gives one the opportunity to work for one of the best technical jobs but also offers a “chance to serve people and contribute to the nation’s growth,” the 26-year-old topper informed News18.com.
But success at his dream UPSC was not easy. In his first attempt at UPSC ESE, Vineet had scored 791 marks, however, the final cut-off was 9 marks higher at 800. This was his first time facing a failure at exam, however, he did not let it get to him and decided to take the exam once again in 2021.
“I analyzed my performance and scores at each stage, identifying the areas requiring improvement. I focused more on these areas, devoted specific time each day for revisions and attempted an increased number of mock tests. All of these things aided me in clearing and securing AIR 1 in ESE 2021,” he told News18.com.
For his ESE preparations, he first got himself familiarized with the syllabus and formulate a study plan, says Vineet. “Thereafter, I started studying as per the study plan with main focus on the basic concepts and fundamentals. After completing each topic, I used to practice previous year questions of ESE and make short notes,” he adds.
“Considering the huge syllabus to prepare for, I had assigned a specific amount of time for revision of the previously studied subjects daily. It helped me in keeping my concepts clear, easier to recall and boost up my confidence level. It is also important to familiarize with the exam environment before the actual exam. For that, I took various mock tests and analyzed my performance in a detailed manner. Thus, I was able to identify the improvement areas and this enabled me to make up a strategy for attempting the exam paper,” he said. He also took help from coaching institutes including Ace Engineering Institute.
Before cracking UPSC exam, Kumar had appeared for IIT-JEE in 2012. It was during his preparation for JEE, he says, that he “got to learn the importance of consistency and proper planning while preparing for any entrance exam or learning something new. This helped me greatly in clearing JEE and now, it has helped me in clearing ESE as well.” Based on his JEE score, he got admitted to IIT-Delhi where he pursued mechanical engineering.
After completing his BTech Kumar joined a logistics company Rivigo, in 2016 via campus placement. He worked there for a little over a year as a business analyst but was always fascinated by mechanical engineering and wanted to work “where I could be utilizing my technical knowledge.” He joined ONGC as an assistant executive engineer in September 2018 through GATE.
Not just GATE but in 2018, Kumar cracked both CAT – IIM entrance and GATE. His percentile in CAT was 99.93 while he secured AIR 106 in GATE. Through CAT, he was selected for the IIMs while through GATE, he got various job offers at PSUs including ONGC.
“At that moment, I was in a conflict whether to opt for IIM or take up a job at a PSU. Since the decision would take my future in two entirely different directions. Since mechanical engineering has always fascinated me and after MBA, I might not get the opportunity to work in my technical domain, I decided to join a PSU. While working in a PSU, I could contribute towards nation building as well. Considering these factors, I decided to join ONGC,” explains Vineet.
He hails from a lower-middle class family. While his father runs a shop in Karnal, his mother is a homemaker, says Vineet. He did his 12th from CBSE-affiliated Pratap Public School in Karnal where he scored 90.4 per cent.