Executing The Right Way: IES Manu Mishra
I was always ready for failing and again studying for next year without even a pinch of stress.
Replied Mr Manu Mishra when asked about clearing the most respectable service in India's engineering, Indian Engineering Service. A perfect quintessence of dedication and diligence Manu Mishra is a dual degree graduate (2015 batch) in Mechanical Engineering who secured an AIR 23 in ESE-2017. Along with securing a good rank in GATE, working in a PSU and preparing for ESE alongside, he has achieved the incredible. Indian Engineering Services remains the most sought-after career for the engineering graduates in India who want to contribute to the development of the country. With its stature almost similar to Civil services in the technical sense, it's an engineer's dream!.
Team Monday Morning caught up with Mr Mishra, who went on to share his experiences and preparation strategies in achieving this remarkable feat. Read on to stay inspired and know more!
Monday Morning (MM): How did NIT Rourkela happen to you?
Manu Mishra: Rourkela is a four and half hours train journey from my hometown, Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh). Naturally, NIT Rourkela was my third choice in AIEEE counselling. I have done 5-year dual degree, B.tech in mechanical engineering and M.tech in Mechatronics and automation- 2010-2015 batch.
MM: Please share with us some fond memories at NIT Rourkela. How did it pave your path towards achieving success in the later stage of life?
Manu Mishra: Bunking the class in between and having tea under the banyan tree inside the institute; going to the back post, having Dilip Bhaina ke samose after classes was an everyday ritual. Interaction with zone seniors was challenging at starting, but after the 1st year, we realised we made many memories in the process. Studying the whole night before the sem exam in a group, and that too continuously for five days in one week is memorable. However, 5th-year biometrics twice a day was a real pain. Partying and Playing carrom, which irritated the nearby PhD students was real fun. I can say that without any doubt, hostel life was full of fun. Vikram Sarabhai hall, F-corridor, was my home for four years where most of the lifetime friendships emerged. Everyone in the corridor knew each other well and responded to every shout with an equal response. One of them was Datta Sugave. He would miss classes and get grade backs, to watch movies on zee cinema in 55 inch Sony TV in the common room. Gem of a person, he ran from the swimming pool to Vikram Sarabhai Hall and back in 10 mins to give hungry me, two bananas before the swimming competition. My roommate, Manas Mishra, had the remarkable ability to bunk class by jumping from the window during lectures in the main building, daily, just after attendance. Ishan Jaimin, my neighbour and mate, spent 8 hours in the institute, 1 hour for creative slangs and rest 15, sleeping. Aditya Bothra, the only friend I knew before entering NIT Rourkela, had so much love for the institute that he completed his degree in 6 years. Vaibhav Baid and I always had a new excuse in mind for coming late or bunking for drinking tea. Even the strict professors after some time started saying “Aur, Chai pee ke aa rahe ho na. Aa Jao. Koi baat nahi”.Overnight DOTA, started with Vivek Verma, Chirag Agrawal, Fernando, Shivin Singh, Sandeep Sahoo and Manish Naik for fun, but it became our part of life. We still play DOTA online on steam daily.
MM: When did you decide to go for IES Services?
Manu Mishra: I decided to prepare for the government sector at the end of the 3rd year. Some of my NIT seniors' experiences after some years of the job also paved my interest in it. I started by studying for the GATE exam, but later on, inclined towards Engineering Services. It was one of the most coveted and respected services for engineers in our country.
MM: What challenges did you face while making into the arena of Indian Engineering Services (IES)?
Manu Mishra: Like most NIT Rourkela students, I also had the habit of studying for semester exams only a week before, usually by studying only the class notes. Hence my basic concepts of engineering were inadequate. The most challenging part was from where to start studying and study material. So, I decided to enrol in a 2-month crash course of Ace Academy for GATE in Hyderabad in winter holidays during 4th year. Although I could attend only one month of the course, I got the initial push and study material to prepare further.
MM: As you prepared for IES along with your job, how did you manage your time to get the best of both the worlds?
Manu Mishra: The good thing about studying alongside a job is, you won’t have undue thoughts of failing in mind due to job backup. I was always ready for failing and again studying for next year without even a pinch of stress. I also maintained cordial relations with fellow seniors so that I won’t be bothered after 6 PM and study well.
MM: After you cleared the prelims and mains, on which aspects you focused on for the interview round?
Manu Mishra: Apart from the engineering discipline, I prepared on general issues in the news. In addition to that, swimming was one of my hobbies. I had medals in NIT Rourkela open swimming competitions which I also mentioned in DAF, so I was sure some questions would be asked from hobbies. I also revised some technical aspects of my job and organisation. I also prepared about my final year project, Underwater Robot, in which I had published a research paper in IEEE. I got 146/200 in the interview, one of the highest marks given by the UPSC panel in 2017.
MM: What was your first reaction when you realised you aced the exam? And what was your parents' response?
Manu Mishra: I cleared Engineering Services in 2017 with AIR 23. I was quite happy as the rank was good enough to get into Indian Railways. My parents went to the temple immediately when I told them that I had passed the exam.
MM: You worked as an Assistant Engineer at South Eastern Coalfield limited for almost two years. Tell us about your placement journey, and working experience there?
Manu Mishra: I got placed in TCS, Bhushan Steel and Coal India Limited from campus placement of NIT Rourkela. Being a PSU, I joined CIL in 2015 and got posted in SECL, in Korba, near my hometown. CIL is a mining oriented company with harsh working conditions in mines. The positive side was, it taught me how to work in a challenging environment.
In 2017, I got a good rank in GATE and got selected in NTPC, ONGC, IOCL, NMDC and many other PSUs. I joined NTPC in 2017and worked there until I joined Indian Railways through Engineering Services.
MM: Walk us through a day of your preparation for the IES in your job days? What were the materials you used for your preparation and the X factor of your preparation that helped you be one of the best in the field?
Manu Mishra: On a normal day, I used to go to mine at 9 am and return at 5.30 pm. I studied from 6 to 9.30 daily. I used the handwritten notes of Ace Academy, which are available in the market accompanied by classic books.
Consistency was a key factor for me, as I could not attend any coaching and preparation time was also less due to job.
MM: When was the last time you visited NIT Rourkela? Did you notice any changes since your graduation in 2015?
Manu Mishra: I last visited NIT Rourkela in 2016. I was happy to see Moksha and Dosa plaza had opened inside the campus, Satish Dhawan Hall of Residence was functional, and the Golden Jubilee building was also being constructed.
MM: What is your say about the type of atmosphere that NIT Rourkela provides towards making into IES?
Manu Mishra: In our NIT, there is a very feeble atmosphere regarding IES. No guidance, as rarely does someone qualify the exam. I had to pave my path of self-study without guidance.
Academically, in our NIT, some of our professors are good. I got some exceptional professors in Mechanical Engineering like Prof P.K. Ray and Prof D.R. Parhi, who would spark an interest in the subject by their teaching itself.
Dual degree branch mates and Prof D.R. Parhi, my project mentor
MM: How active are you in the activities of NITRAA and according to you, how can the alumni help the institute in a better way?
Manu Mishra: I am significantly less active in NITRAA. During my institute days, I had the right guidance from some of my graduated zone seniors. In my opinion, a database of alumni with their organisation’s name should be made available for the current students of NIT, so that they may contact them for any guidance.
MM: What piece of advice and guidance would you like to give to the students having a similar aim as yours in life?
Manu Mishra: For the current students, I would always suggest attending lectures of our professors properly for the core subjects, something which I realised after 5th semester. Our academic curriculum is far better than the others. Now there are many online coaching available, which were not there in my time. Take help of that. If anyone needs any help/guidance for engineering services, just message/ping me on Facebook. I will be happy to help.
MM: What shall be your final message for our readers and the entire student fraternity of NIT Rourkela?
Manu Mishra: If any student has taken admission in NIT Rourkela, he/she already has the potential and calibre to clear any exam.
Never underestimate yourself and prepare for the exam, company, or your desired goal, whatever you want to pursue. Enjoy your institute days, as NIT Rourkela has one of the best campuses among NITs. Cherish your friendships as they will be lifelong ones.
NIT Rourkela is the best thing that happened to me in this whole life, and I am sure it will be the same for you. Let the flag of NIT Rourkela fly higher and reach new heights. All the best!
Team Monday Morning congratulates IES Mr Manu Mishra for achieving all the success throughout his journey. We wish you all the very best for all your future projects.