The specifics of her success
Archana Nair - Photo: S. Gopakumar
She proved that her decision to quit a multi-national company and prepare for the Civil Services Examination was not wrong. It was determination, hard work and systematic study that enabled Archana Nair to came seventh in the all-India examination and take up her dream career in Indian Foreign Service.
Ms. Archana also got the distinction of becoming the Civil Service topper among Keralites this year. "I had dreamt of Civil Service right from my college days.
The question before me was when. After a brief stint with American Express in Gurgaon, I quit the job in June 2004 to prepare for the examination. My selection has shown that my decision was right and I have now got the opportunity to serve the nation," Ms. Archana, who is on a vacation to her home city, told The Hindu.
In fact, the Civil Services examination results came when she started preparing for a second attempt and was awaiting the results of the Indian Economic Service exam.
"It is an era of economic diplomacy and IFS appeals to me more than IAS as I hope I can do a lot for the country by joining the foreign service.
In an era of globalisation and India all set to be a super power, foreign service has an effective role to play in the coming days," says Ms. Archana, on why she chose IFS as her first option.
Daughter of K. Radhakrishnan Nair, administrative officer with the Border Roads Organisation, New Delhi, and Lalithambika Pillai, Ms. Archana hails from Brahmin's Colony in Kowdiar.
Though born in Thiruvananthapuram, she completed her studies in Dhanbad, Jodhpur and New Delhi where Mr. Nair had assignments.
After completing B.A. Honours (Economics) from Sri Ram College, New Delhi, she took her masters degree from the Delhi School of Economics in 2003.
After a brief stint with Wipro, she joined American Express. "The postings of my father to different States was a blessing as it enabled me to adjust to any situation," says Ms. Archana, who can only speak Malayalam.
She sought the help of a coaching firm in New Delhi only to prepare for the interview. Ms. Archana, who took economics and public administration as the main papers and Hindi as the language for the examination, preferred to do the studies alone.
"I preferred to do the studies at night and in the company of music from the FM stations". She says empowerment of women without political and economic empowerment will not yield the desired result.
Women are conditioned to behave and that should change. Lot of changes have taken place, but we need to do a lot. The "mind block" has to be tackled to solve women-related issues like gender bias and dowry, she feels.
"My family and friends were supportive and there was Almighty's blessings. I relied on yoga and reading for overcoming stress."
"Setting up of Kerala Civil Services Academy by the Government in the capital is a good attempt," she says. Ms. Archana, who is against Civil Service aspirants running after coaching centres, says guidance and study materials should be made readily available.
Pointing out her decision to stick to commerce, she says children should not be forced into a profession and they should be given the freedom to select their career.