Poonam Singh

The Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) Civil Services Examination (CSE) stands as one of India's most formidable challenges, a dream harboured by many yet realised by few. Amidst these aspirants was Nandini KR, who emerged as the UPSC 2016 topper and achieved her dream of becoming an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Nandini's journey is nothing short of an inspirational saga, filled with resilience and triumph.

According to the News18 report, Nandini hails from the Kolar district in Karnataka and is the daughter of a teacher. Her academic journey began in a government school, where she laid the foundation for her future achievements. 

Later, she moved to Moodabidri constituency in Chikmagalur district to complete her 12th-grade studies. Her unwavering dedication was evident in her exceptional academic performance, as she scored a remarkable 94.83 per cent in her 12th-grade examinations.

Nandini pursued engineering at the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology and eventually secured a job in the Public Works Department of Karnataka. It was during her stint in this government role that Nandini's interest in civil services began to blossom. Witnessing the government's work firsthand ignited her passion for serving as an IAS officer, compelling her to start her UPSC preparation journey, according to the News18 report.

In 2013, Nandini took her first shot at the UPSC examination, but she faced disappointment when she couldn't clear the initial stage, the UPSC Prelims. Undeterred, she returned for a second attempt in 2014 and displayed remarkable resilience as she secured an All-India Rank of 642. This achievement earned her a position in the Indian Revenue Service in December 2015, a significant accomplishment for most. Yet, Nandini's vision transcended her IRS role, and she set her sights on her greater aspiration: becoming an IAS officer. This decision led her to move to Delhi, where she enrolled in a coaching centre to bolster her UPSC preparation.

Nandini's pursuit of the IAS post presented even greater challenges. She faced the UPSC exam thrice, enduring the disappointment of multiple failures and experiencing the hardship of battling dengue before her third mains exam. 

Regrettably, her medical condition forced her to skip that examination. However, Nandini's dedication and unwavering spirit eventually bore fruit when she clinched the top spot in the UPSC 2016 with an All India Rank of 1.

During this period, when the UPSC 2016 results were unveiled, Nandini was employed as an IRS officer in Faridabad, demonstrating that tenacity, perseverance, and unyielding determination can convert setbacks into triumphs.