Karthik Gurunathan Iyer had only one burning ambition in life ie; making it to the Indian Foreign Services and he finally achieved it by scoring All India Rank 7th in Civil Services Exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission 2011 at the age of 22 years. Karthik Gurunathan Iyer is an icon and a true inspiration for the millions of Indian students and showed that nothing is impossible.

Marks Obtained by Karthik Gurunathan Iyer

 Total Marks  Marks Obtained
Total (Written)  2000 1069
 Interview 300  240
 Total  2300  1309 (56.91%)

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Family Background

Karthik Gurunathan Iyer is born and brought up in Nagpur. The UPSC topper’s father, MR Gurunathan has retired from the Maharashtra State Textile Corporation in 2003 and mother Kamlam is working with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd in Bangalore.

Educational Background

Karthik Gurunathan Iyer has always been a bright student. Karthik Gurunathan Iyer did his tenth from Bhavans, Nagpur, and then joined Services Preparatory Institute. He did his twelfth standard there from the State board. After class 12 he did B.Sc in Physics (Honours) from Fergusson College, Pune. Then Karthik Gurunathan Iyer joined MA Political Science in Distance Learning mode from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). He was still pursuing the course when Karthik Gurunathan Iyer cleared the Civil Services Exam.

Even when Karthik Gurunathan Iyer was studying at Fergusson College, his only aim was to clear the Civil Services Examination. An MA from IGNOU was the means to achieve his aim. IGNOU was a good option because it has better structured programmes and outstanding course study material which was already popular among the IAS aspirants.

Karthik Gurunathan Iyer was passionate about joining Defence Services and wanted to become a fighter pilot. He stood sixth in the all-India ranking merit list in the National Defence Academy Exam, but his dreams were shattered when Karthik Gurunathan Iyer failed the medical test. “I always wanted to be a fighter pilot,” Karthik Gurunathan Iyer said.

Aversion to join the corporate world and desire to serve society made him appear for the UPSC Examination. Iyer’s preference is the Indian Foreign Service as he believes he would get a chance to represent the country abroad.

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Optional Paper

For Prelims, Karthik Gurunathan Iyer chose Political Science & International Relations. For Mains, he opted for History and Political Science & International Relations as his optional subjects. Karthik Gurunathan Iyer did not have any definite strategy. He prepared to the best of his ability. He chose subjects he was keenly interested in, and it helped Karthik Gurunathan Iyer to enjoy studies a bit more.

Karthik Gurunathan Iyer did not join any coaching class. IGNOU notes were extensive and helped to lay a good foundation in Political Science & International Relations. This helped him to score well in the Mains.

While it took time and effort to complete reading the books, they surely boosted his performance by getting good marks in optional Political Science & International Relations subject. He used the text material for value addition in his answers and got very good scores. He have secured a total of 346 (181+165) in his two papers of the subject, and he believe his notes helped him achieve this.

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Karthik Gurunathan Iyer cleared the CSE in his first attempt. Indian Foreign Service was his favourite one. From a very young age his ambition was to represent country as a diplomat one day.

22 year old Karthik Gurunathan Iyer had almost lost hope when he failed in the NDA medical test. With no coaching to his credit, the IAS topper cleared the exam in his first attempt and maintained that notes from IGNOU, which laid a good foundation for him in Political Science.

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Source of Inspiration

Karthik Gurunathan Iyer source of inspiration was his ambition to become a diplomat one day. He drew on all the setbacks he had received in life to give him energy. He tried his best to draw upon his past disappointments and anger into constructive study for UPSC examination, and that gave him plenty of energy!

Message for Aspirants

Civil Services aspirants come from a diverse background, and one way of learning cannot be labelled a better choice for the entire category of aspirants. At the end of the day, we all need to find what works for us, and do things accordingly. Be honest to yourself, and back your potential to the fullest! The only thing that can overcome Hard Luck is Hard Work!!

Having appeared for the Exam with Political Science and History, his advice to aspirants is that hard work and dedication are the two keys to success. “The examination is not tough at all,” Karthik Gurunathan Iyer said.

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