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Einstein Once Quipped, Genius Is 1 Percent Talent And 99 Percent Hard-Work, And I Firmly Believe In It

  • KIPS Bureau
  • Apr, 2019
  • 3654
  • Interview


The KIPS Bureau spoke with Mr. Iqbal (merit number 182) about his CSS adventure, his rise to success and his views ‎on the philosophy of hard-work. But he also spoke about his strategy with which he miraculously managed to pass ‎the exams; The KIPS Bureau has included that portion of the conversation below.‎

Aakif Iqbal is all too aware of the staggering odds he had defied in making his success, but his achievement truly hit ‎home upon greeting him at the KIPS. The measure of the remarkable success he made when he dared to take on ‎the Central Superior Service (CSS) exams was starkly illustrated when he shook hands with us. His eyes still gleamed ‎with a piercing strength of purpose but beneath them his mind still carried the strength. Before that big day of his ‎life he was lauded as one of the best of his generation and was proving it.‎

Even now on the eve of his return to the campus interview, it seemed hard to believe he had still vividly ‎remembered the daunting days he had prepared for the exams. Yet, for Mr. Iqbal it was the psychological battle that ‎proved to be the greatest challenge of his life.‎

The dynamic young man, who had once found himself lucky in the World Bank training programme, in partnership ‎with Karachi’s Institute of Business Administration, did his bachelor’s in computer engineering at Peshawar’s ‎University of Engineering & Technology in 2010, followed by a master’s degree in engineering management two ‎years later at the National University of Sciences and Technology. ‎

Talking about his exam preparation era, Mr. Iqbal had made the decision to pick his optional subjects which were ‎European history, public administration, international law, sociology, and journalism to see how far he could push ‎his luck. ‘A candidate should never jump into picking a subject without due homework. This is perhaps the most ‎important part in making the critical decision towards the exams,’ he says.‎

By 2014, his indomitable refusal to accept defeat was rewarded when he devised his own strategy to tackle the ‎exams, and it was revelatory. ‘Primarily, I joined the academy to get familiar with the overall concept of the CSS. The ‎academy did me a favour in how to go about selecting the subjects and studying them. Once I got the basic ‎familiarity with the subjects and content, I got down to preparing my own notes and my own daily study schedule,’ ‎he says.‎

When the topic of his preparation time came up, Mr. Iqbal, who had managed to score 627 in written and 139 in the ‎interview though he hit the highest scores in European history (130) and international law (67), sounded more ‎philosophical. ‘In my opinion, a minimum of four to six months is needed to cover the entire course. Students ‎should never rely on the academy alone and instead they should formulate their own time-table by dividing days ‎against each subject and topics every day. Often some students deliberately delay sitting for the exams by years ‎because of the fear they have in them. Fear never opens up and unlocks one’s mind to see that maybe he or she ‎can do it.’‎

This ability to adjust to a new way of life proved to be one of his greatest assets in the real struggle, as he fought ‎what might have been debilitating setbacks during his preparation days. He goes on to saying, ‘Time management is ‎an important factor in all subjects. Students should already know that each question carries equal weight, thus giving ‎each equal time. Stats, facts, dates and other related data are an important part of most of the papers, allowing to ‎reducing monotony in writing out long paragraphs.’‎


‎‘Through the years the KIPS has propelled deserving candidates to success’‎

Aakif Iqbal

Part of the pleasure before taking on the exams is the exciting period of his great experience he had with the KIPS ‎and he boldly admits it, saying that without his faculty’s assistance and guidance he might have been more like a ‎lame duck. ‘Through the years the KIPS has propelled deserving candidates to success. For the same reason, it does ‎stand as one of the pioneers as well as the market leaders that produce civil servants every year. The KIPS employs ‎a wide variety of professional and seasoned bureaucrats as faculty who impart their valuable input through their ‎interaction with students in their routine lectures. I must confess the KIPS’ bench strength with regard to the ‎standard of teaching makes it second to none. On top of that, the Global Age publishes interviews of successful ‎candidates sharing their stories. I say that is a mammoth motivation for the younger candidates.’‎

During his ser...

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