Interview: NLU Delhi’s Harshit Bansal | UPSC Civil Services Rank 333: He mooted, didn’t intern; left coaching in 20 days and was surrounded by doubts

Harshit Bansal is a 2014 graduate of National Law University, Delhi. Harshit secured a rank 333 in the UPSC Civil Services Exam, 2014. Here is his interview. Interview conducted by Aishwariya Sunder. 


Please tell me about your family background and your educational background, schooling, college etc.

My family has a small textile business in Panipat city and my mother is a housewife.

I did my schooling from D.A.V. School, HUDA, Panipat.

I joined NLU Delhi immediately after school in 2009 and completed my B.A. LLB (Hons) in 2014.

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I opted for studying law as I like things involving analysis, arguing and which is open to interpretation.

What prompted you to prepare for the civil services, and when did you decide that you will opt for it?

I started considering myself suitable for Civil Services in 2012 and having thoughts of taking this route.

I finally decided in April 2014 to opt for civil services.

How was your college life at NLU Delhi? Your academics, extra circulars, internships etc.? Was UPSC in your mind as you planned and participated in all of this? If so, how?

College life at NLU Delhi was full of activities. My college life included playing Age of Empires, Badminton, etc. in college along with various other activities.

I would like to believe my academics were fine: I scored 6.78 GPA out of 8. I was member of various student committees, such as the mess, hostel, Anti Ragging, Academics, etc. in different years.

I was passionate about mooting. I represented university in 20th Willem C. Vis Moot 2013 and Oxford IPR Moot, 2014.

I was a part of the runners-up team in 2011 GLC Chennai Moot and the winning team of 3rd Pre Vis Moot at NALSAR in 2013.

I have not done many internships- I stopped interning after 5th semester and I was mostly using that time for mooting during vacations. I remained a member of the NGO Blood Connect since 2012 and worked there whenever I had time.

UPSC was not on my mind till 2013. However, afterwards, I made a habit of reading newspapers and current affairs magazines and kept participating in all other activities.

nlu delhi's harshit bansal who cracked upsc civil services exam 

What were your subjects and how did you prepare for them? And when did you start preparing seriously for it? Did you go for courses or did you choose to study by yourself?

Now-a-days, there is only one optional subject. My optional was Law. I did not have much time to prepare for law subjects, I just studied the basic books and relied on law school training. I started preparing seriously for UPSC on 12th June 2014.

I enrolled for courses at Vajiram and Ravi for General Studies for 2015 attempt. However, I discontinued with my classes within 20 days and relied on self study for both General Studies and law papers.

How difficult was it to not get tempted by corporate jobs and placeents in top tier firms, and rather choose this option of appearing for the civil services?

I did not sit for placements but for SC Judicial Clerkship interview. It was not tempting, but sometimes when I was surrounded by doubts, I wished for things to be different.

However, I was able to keep myself motivated with help of friends and my sisters throughout this journey.

How did being a student of Law help you in your preparation for Civil Services Examination?

For General Studies papers II, III, IV, I believe that I was able to understand legal implications of questions more easily, and add an additional perspective to it. GS Paper II is more of law and administration paper.

The law optional paper has a comparatively higher success rate than other optional papers.

Do you have any advice for UPSC aspirants?

Be analytical and critical in your approach and answers. Don’t be afraid of failure and be confident.

Cracking the UPSC Civil Services Examination promises a good career and great opportunity to contribute towards nation building.

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