StoriesNiharika Bhatt - Left a US Govt Job and...

Niharika Bhatt – Left a US Govt Job and Became an IPS


Niharika Bhatt, IPS 2015 batch IPS, Niharika Bhatt, has secured All India 146 rank, prior to this she has taken a tough decision of leaving her Job in US Government  and fight for becoming a Civil Servant in India and she made though it well. She hails from Lucknow where she received most of her education.


She graduated from Institute of Engineering and Technology, Lucknow in Electronics and instrumentation. She is also having an engineering degree from Michigan University, US which she earned after shifting to US.

Prior to joining the service she was researcher in Washington in Food and Drug Administration of the US government

Mains Score:

  Interview marks     198/275
   Total marks   746/ 1750
    Total   944/ 2025

Niharika Bhatt shares her story of becoming IPS

I was in a situation in 2013. I was discussing the possibility of applying to PhD programs, continuing with my research job or give a cent percent attempt to UPSC.

This is what I did. I downloaded ncert books – class 6th to 12th – history, geography, polity pdfs.
Also I searched and discussed about optionals and sociology appealed to me. To test waters and make sure that I enjoy the subject I ordered Haralambos on amazon.

As fate would have it, October 2013 had US government shut down for 2 weeks that gave two weeks off from work and solid time to read this stuff.

So I went through this material. Just relaxed reading. No underlining, nothing.

If after “skimming” through basic chapters of optional, and ncert (at least Geo and polity) you can see yourself enjoying and studying for the next 1 year with the aim to clear this exam in one attempt. Then I would say go for it.!!!

If you want to discuss more, please drop me a PM and I will be happy to clear your doubts.

Also, be very clear in your head about why you want to pursue upsc. During prep, thoughts of “why the hell did I leave a comfortable life and get into this” will come to mind, it is human nature. Clarity of goal and thought is essential to maintain the momentum of studies.

May the force be with you!


Here is a full Interview

Tell us about your background relating to education and work experience?

I completed my schooling from Seth MR Jaipuria School Lucknow, after which I completed my engineering in electronics and instrumentation from Lucknow’s Institute of Engineering and Technology. To pursue M.Tech, I chose University of Michigan, USA. I then took up the job of a researcher in department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the US government. Here, I worked for one-and-a-half year on how nano particles haven impacted human health.

While studying for engineering or in your school days, did you ever think of appearing for UPSC exams?

No, I never thought about it.

You were in USA working with a reputed organization like the FDA. What made you to leave that high-end profession and prepare for UPSC?

During my tenure with the US government service, I travelled to China. It was then I realised that the biggest impact I can make on the society is by being a part of the government machinery. And then it struck me, “Why US and not my own country?” In recent years, we as a nation have come up stronger in all the fields. We require people who have that determination to make a change and this will only happen when people like us will start contributing towards it. I always had a dream to serve my country.

You cracked the UPSC exam in your maiden attempt, while preparing did you had any plan to make it in the first go or it just happened?

First go was always the plan. I thought if I did not make it in the first attempt, I will either go back to the US or will plan for a research or a Ph.D in India.

Tell me about your study plan, i.e., schedule of your preparations etc., and what lead you to choose sociology in mains?

After coming back to India, I relocated to Rajendra Nagar in New Delhi which is also a UPSC preparation hub. I did not attend any coaching. I used to put in 10-12 hours of self-studies daily and made efficient use of internet to understand current issues. I made a list of basic books and revised them ‘n’ number of times. I was not in touch with any of my friends or family members except my parents who had my phone number. I only joined the mock tests to evaluate my personal preparation, which helped me immensely.

While deciding about the subject for mains, I looked up at the syllabus for all of the subjects which were of my interest and found sociology very interesting and it came to me very intuitively.

You being a global student, do you think others should follow your footsteps?

I feel US is a good place for higher education. After completing the course and getting some work experience, people should come back to serve the country.

What was the role of internet in your preparation?

I think Internet played a very important role. My day used to start by opening my laptop. I used to read about current affairs online. All government objectives were briefly explained on government websites which helped me in making my notes. I also used to make notes online and used to revise whenever needed. Google helped a lot as there were many topics which were easily available on a single click.

Whom (Who?) do you think of as your role model, apart from your parents?

I am inspired by T. N. Seshan & Vinod Rai. They have gained respect being public servants during their work tenure and have also brought about many reforms in their respective work areas. I even admire S.Y.Quraishi who was the Chief Election Commissioner. I used to follow him on twitter too.

When you decided to come back, what was your parent’s reaction?

My parents were amazingly supportive about my decision to come back and prepare for UPSC. My father told me if that’s what you want to do, you should go for it. (Niharika is the daughter of a doctor father and mother is a home-maker)

Do you think State governments should compete on the basis of development and what do you think we as a state lack currently?

Yes, development should be the key agenda for any government in power. I think Development and Law & Order are the two important aspects we as a state should mainly focus on, as, because of lack of infrastructure, industries do not want to settle their base in our state and that becomes a reason for the talent to move to either other states or abroad.

Tell me any three problems which India as a country is facing where bureaucracy can help solve it?

As per my view Education, Women safety (Law of Order) and Proper monitoring of Fund Flow are three main aspects where bureaucracy can help.

Education – Entire system should be properly monitored, lack of infrastructure like school buildings, necessary items needed should be given priority. Because of simple problems, attendance in schools drops down, which becomes the area for concern.

Women Safety – Which is part of Law & Order, should be the topmost priority for the administrative system. Digitization of police force should be incorporated to make them more advanced and help fight with challenges on a shorter notice.

Monitoring flow of funds- Strict monitoring of funds should be maintained and digital monitoring of funds should be done, ensuring that input and output remains the same which will also help us keeping an eye on corruption.
We at Lucknow Observer recognize Niharika Bhatt as an Inspirational Leader for our society. We wish her all the best for her future and appreciate the fact that she had the courage to follow her dreams!

The interview was given to Surabhi Mishra of Green Globe for Lucknow Observer.

Articles are written and edited by the Syskool Staffs.


  1. I am a second year physics hons student . in delhi university and i want to clear cse please tell me from where i should start my preparation and how i do .

    • Buddy, since you are doing physics hons my primary advise would be to study it thoroughly so that you dont have a labyrinthine path to decide your optional.
      Apart from that, pick up the ncerts (list mentioned in a lot of sources). That should be your starting point.
      Dont stretch the preparation for too long, you have to maintain the motivation as well!

  2. Please guide us also . How you read books with enjoying ?? Because i also want to become an ias officer.but i am just study 6-7 hours only . Even some times just read newspaer only.

  3. I am really thrilled by reading your story of becoming IPS and a big congratulations for achieving this wonderful job. I have a fascination for Indian Foreign Service so it would be great if I got a chance that how should I go ahead with it…Thank You

  4. feeling so motivated. i appeared in last year’s upsc n scored 100. n in exam i felt questions frm few areas that i haven’t read. m facing problem in source frm where i should stdy. plz guide

  5. मैडम। मै upsc के लिए किस तरह से तैयारी करू?

  6. Mam its really inspired to me after reading your back through. But still I have confusion why you left that comfertable job in US and which eternal force drags you in IPS?

    • Hi madam I’m Arun 4m Hyd I was a btech graduate in Ece department I would like ask a few queries abut civil services actually I’m preparing but where to start how to start wat to read wat not to read questions became a problem to me madam pls give me a solution for the strategy of how to go with a good understanding thank you madam

  7. Impressive….. Mam…you are awesome. I am really impressed of your action taken f coming back to India.I will feel better if you try helping other aspirant to clear in first attempt. Even I aim for the same.

  8. Hey I did political science hons from DU. It’s my dream to become an IAS officer. Please if u could suggest the books! And u read NCERT so tell us more about it. And for GK on which website or journals did u rely on?

  9. Really inspirational, thanks a lot mam u thought about nation n came back to india n be a civil servant best of luck mam for your future.

  10. firslty a heartyl congrats 2 u…..n really a very inspiring words for me.. also wanna serve country…..completing my polytechnic n also wanna crack upsc IAS n follow ur footsteps…

  11. congratulations mam
    have a nyc carrer ahead ,
    1 thing I wd lyk to know that switching such a good job in Us ,after that struggling in India to become an Ips officer is a challenging decision, if any time u felt it hard and doubtful cuz of reservation & competition. ??

  12. बहुत बहुत बधाई आपको ! जिस तरह आपने देश प्रेम को लेकर अपने विचार बनाये और उस पर अमल किया है वो निसंदेह काबिले तारीफ है ! आपके सुखद भविष्य के साथ साथ आपके लम्बी उम्र की दुआ करता हूँ और उम्मीद करता हूँ कि बहुत सारे तैयारी करने वाले छात्र आपसे प्रेरणा लेंगे !

  13. I am studying first year engineering. And I don’t know where to start from.Please help me to come out of this.

  14. helloo mam can u plz give the book list and can u plz tell me ur whole day timetable i live in a place where i am not getting proper guidance about upsc plz can u help me out….and many people confuse me …

    • yes why not u can apply for upsc ….!!!
      it’s better choice to go in govt. sector than the private sector ..

  15. Very impressive and boost up … Interview which is very motivated.

    Please give some suggestion to clear an I.a.s exam

  16. Dear mam i dont know about ias. But i want to become ias. I 28 year old. What i do for ias. I havo no time for study am working 9 to 6pm. Please advise. No time for study .

  17. hi…congrates
    …can u explain me to good subject those really helpful for me
    and also tell abt main subject…
    . I am also electronic and communication engineer..
    BT I want to take subject from arts stream,
    plese if possible reply

  18. Madam .its very nice u took a step for ur mother country .

    madam i also wnnt to become like u .but my short term goal to get a job in banking sector that support me finaclly
    after i go for it
    madam plz assist me is itpossible ..
    plz mail me – [email protected]

  19. Hi niharika mam I am IMRAN HUSSAIN B.E. Civil final year 8 semester I want your help to clear the IAS exam daily I spend 8 hours in study. But I want your tips how to appear & clear the exam. Kindly replay to this mail [email protected]

  20. Very much impressive ……terrific knowledge and fantabulous inspiration I got from u mam ….
    Mam,I wanna sit for upsc ….but my family condition sounds not so heavy ….how and when should I start my prepareation ??++?

  21. I was very courage when I was read your struggle for exam i want to become and IPS officer how did i prepare for this exam please tell about to me miss

  22. I am frm Goa , m a graduate . at present m a law student….My priority is to bcm an “IAS” Officer….I need your help ….lik…I.e..Hw to go wit the studies. N Hw to clear it in the 1st attempt….
    Plz….reply through mail..

  23. mam,i want to become an ias officer , please guide me how to star and all ,there is no one from whom i can take suggestion,,.

  24. Very impressive …..and hates off to ur confidence for taking such a hard decision and acted accord. to need of d hour……..

    Aa u told …if u would like to assist… Just mail me on” [email protected]“… Some internet sites… U used to go through and I will ask later if any further assistance I need…..

  25. Everybody knows that ias can do nothing about a country without political will (which is next to impossible currently). Nobody tells their actual reason for opting for upsc 🙂 .

  26. first of all I congrats to you mam, and I decided to put my life in civil services to our nation like you so please guide me how to prepare for this by send me a message on my e-mail I’d
    [email protected]
    thank you mam…

  27. My aim is also IPS officer mam
    plz say mee some instutions which books to read to achive my goal
    my no – 7842335094 Wtsup no

  28. tnk u mem for help our country india….india has lot of prblms…it always developing country…when it will became developed country i dont know…coruption is also tng… you also focus on this mem…any way cngts got a gd job…great job means great responsibilities…mem…tnk you mem for sharing your interview….

  29. Hats off to you Niharika Mam for such a brave decision. Your story inspired me a lot. I am Currently working as Inspector in Central Board of Excise and Custom. This is my second Govt. Job but i want to prepare for IAS. Due to financial constraints i cannot leave my job to prepare for IAS. I will be oblized if you can help me out in giving the initial direction as how can i plan to go for my dream.

    Eagerly waiting for a response from you.

  30. Hi this is akanksha i am also an UPSC aspirant, since class 5 it has been my dream for being an IAS(got knowledge about it from my school teacher) ,but as i graduated as a physical therapist i thought to the next step is to prepare for UPSC. but had a turmoil regarding it and there were doubts that would i be able to crack it ?? so i decided to get a masters degree and got admitted in NY university ,new york,US for the same.but nw i feel to give atleast one trial wid full preparation for UPSC..i need some tips.

  31. Hello mam !
    I am a Btech graduate and want to prepare for upsc please help me to choose the ri8 path to achieve this goal will be greatful with possitive response pls mail me on [email protected]

  32. I want to become IPS mam. But I am confused how can I start? From where I start? What r my optional subject? I am a Pharmacy Graduate. Currently working in Border security force.

  33. Congratulation Mam, I have engineering educational background. now i want to clear civil service exam in first attempt , but i’m confuse that how to start study from ncrt or mains and which links or site i need to preferred for current event.

    please msg me Mam ……

    [email protected] this is my email-id

  34. Wheat is least %age of marks to get into the merit ? Coz the toppers are securing only 52-53% overall

  35. hello madam m going to finish my graduation in one month.m doing B.F.SC means bachlor in fishery science in d best reputed university of odisha ie OUAT.Bt fishery is not included in IAS.then which subject i shud go for???kindly help me at [email protected]

  36. I want to become an engineer but I also have interest in civil services now I’m confused.can u clear my confusion.

  37. Very impressive mam. Actually I want to prepare for IAS can u tell me what should I prepare to achieve IAS in first go.

  38. Hi Madam

    I am starting my preparation for Ias. Please help me how should i start?
    I need guidance.


  39. I’m confused with old NCERT stuff and the new one, different people come up with different advices, I’m confused like anything and not able to find old NCERT books, should I stick to the new ones. Please help me out. Kindly msg me at [email protected].
    Abhinav Sharma

  40. Congratulations NIHARIKA for being so balanced and focused throughout. Enjoy your success.

  41. Hii mam I also want to become ias ips like you and I also started my preparation but I m confuss to choose which subject is scoring for me in mains mainly I don’t have anyone who can give me details description about the preparation for ias ips

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