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Turning the Tide: How Pranshu Srivastav Overcame Obstacles to Ace the IES Exam

March 27, 2024

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3 Minutes

Table of Contents

“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can, that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”


IES Pranshu Srivastav is synonymous with perseverance and self-belief. The above dialogue from the movie Rocky contributed significantly to his journey. He says,

“Whenever one thinks that they have lost all their potential to try again, that is exactly when one should put an effort to try again as this will make all the difference.” 

Born into a middle-class family in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district, Pranshu’s initial academic journey was marked by a lack of seriousness. Despite securing a place in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Gorakhpur and later, a state government engineering college, he spent much of his time on entertainment rather than studies.

His wake-up call came after graduation when he failed to secure a job in a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) due to a low rank in the GATE exam. This setback led him to pursue an M.Tech at IIT Bombay, where he unfortunately repeated his earlier mistakes.

Turning Point: The Journey to IES

The real turning point in Pranshu’s life came during his second year of M.Tech when he realized the need to make something of his life. He had heard about the Indian Engineering Services (IES) exam under UPSC but lacked confidence in his ability to clear it. After an unsuccessful attempt at the IES exam, while working, he decided to take a break from his job and dedicate himself to preparation.

This decision was not easy. In his 20s, with the pressure to earn, he sought advice from his father, who had faced his own struggles. His father’s story of perseverance in a legal battle for employment for 15 years inspired Pranshu to stay focused on his goal.

Also read: From Cricket Captain to Civil Servant: IDES Saquib Alam's UPSC Story

Overcoming Hurdles

Pranshu faced several hurdles in his journey. In 2019, he cleared the prelims and moved to Delhi for coaching for the mains. However, he made the mistake of consulting too many sources instead of focusing on a few relevant materials. This, combined with a lack of focus on test series and answer writing, led to his failure to clear the mains by a margin of 15 marks.

Adding to the challenge, in 2020, the number of vacancies in the Engineering services was drastically reduced, further diminishing his chances. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent halt of interviews and exams added to his difficulties. To make ends meet, he started freelance teaching, which unexpectedly became a boon as it helped him revise his old notes and prepare better for the mains.

IES Pranshu Shrivastava on Josh Talks

The Breakthrough

Despite the odds, Pranshu’s persistence paid off. In 2021, he cleared the mains exam and, to his surprise, the interview as well, securing an All India Rank of 16. This achievement was a huge confidence booster for him. However, Pranshu faced another dilemma when he received a job offer from a PSU with a strict joining deadline. In a bold move, he declined the offer, choosing to focus on his preparation for the next attempt.

His risk paid off. In 2022, Pranshu cleared the IES exam with an impressive All-India Rank of 5. His journey of five attempts had finally culminated in success.

Lessons for Aspirants

Pranshu’s story is an inspiration for aspirants facing their own battles. He advises setting a clear path from the beginning and putting continuous effort toward the goal. He emphasizes the importance of practice in answer writing and test series. Moreover, he advises against the temptation to read excessively from multiple sources. Instead, he suggests making clear, concise short notes and focusing on quality study materials.

Conclusion: The Rocky Road to Success

Pranshu Srivastav’s journey is a reminder that success is not just about talent or intelligence, but about resilience, hard work, and the courage to keep going when the odds are against you. His story echoes the words of Rocky Balboa,

“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can, that's what makes all the difference in your life.”

His journey from a carefree student to an IES officer is a testament to the fact that with determination and the right mindset, one can turn their dreams into reality.


Also Read: Charting the Course from IIT to IES: Shrichand Pooniya's Voyage from Village to UPSC Victory

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Table of Content

Turning Point: The Journey to IES

Overcoming Hurdles

The Breakthrough

Lessons for Aspirants

Conclusion: The Rocky Road to Success

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