When we say that the RBI Grade B examination is tough, it means a selection ratio of mere 0.1% to 0.2%. Cracking such competitive examination which attracts talent from all over this country is an achievement in itself. In our Demystifying series this interview is first in the series of interviews we are going to publish in coming days.
Today we had a discussion with Ms. Kanika Berry, who is a resident of Patiala and a commerce graduate from SRCC, DU. Coming from a simple family it was a change of course from her family tradition. We had an online discussion with her and based on that an interview transcript is published below:
MB: Ma’am, congratulations for your grand success in the RBI Grade B 2019 examination. You have cracked one of the toughest fought examination in the recent times. What was your first reaction when you got the news?
Kanika: I couldn’t believe it. I rechecked my roll no. thrice in the pdf. Even downloaded the pdf again to cross check if I am actually selected.
MB: What was the reaction of your family and friends?
Kanika: My friends and family were really very happy. I am the first one from my family who cracked such competitive exams, So the happiness on everyone’s face was priceless.
MB: When did you realize that this is the right career for you? How you came to know about this examination?
Kanika: I had joined Deloitte after my graduation (as part of campus placement). I was very enthusiastic for joining my first job. After working for few months, I realized that this was not my calling. My earlier workplace had great opportunities, but I wanted to work in a more diverse environment. It was then, that I started looking for other options and found that central banking had the plethora of opportunities I was looking for.
MB: The first impression about this examination is confusion. Not enough of guidance and quality study material is available. How you started? This question is very important from the point of view of newcomers, because they miss the track from day 1?
Kanika: I think the best way to clear the confusion is to talk to someone who has experience in this field. Once you get a broader idea, then start getting comfortable with the learning process and see what kind of strategy works for you. Do not blindly follow strategies of other people. Every one has a different way of learning things. For me the best way to study was to study with the dedication I had in school. And I think, nothing works better than getting back to your own personal strategy of school learning.
Kanika’s brief education profile
|Professional Degree||CFA level 1 & 2|
MB: How important is preparation for phase 1? Mostly, it is a tendency that aspirants ignore phase 1 of the examination. What was your strategy?
Kanika: Phase 1 preparation is very important. No matter, how well you are prepared for Phase 2, if you fail phase 1 all the efforts will be in vain. I myself have failed phase 1 in my first attempt. I was not very clear with LR concepts, so I had taken classes for the same for some time. Once I got to know the concepts, I started practicing. I had practiced from books of TIMES institute as well as online mocks of BankersAdda, MagguBhai, Oliveboard, Practicemock and Ixambee. Attempt as many tests as you can. I even used to appear for prelims of other exams to get a better idea of how to face pressure on exam day. Practice and analysis of your tests, this is the only thing that can help you ace phase 1. For current affairs, I used to do two magazines for each month.
MB: There is a common perception that RBI Grade B is only for IIM guys or people with strong finance and quantitative skills. Do you agree with this?
Kanika: The fact that the RBI itself allows non finance background people to write the exam, is enough to prove that non commerce people can crack it. I know many non IIM people and engineers who have cleared this exam. Even if you are not good in quant, it does not matter. I am also not good in quant, but I made sure that I compensated for this in other areas.
MB: What you did for preparation of Finance? What was your strategy? Can you throw some light on this, as many aspirants are just too scared of this section.
Kanika: I have commerce background and through out my journey I was involved in some or other finance exam. So, my main focus for finance was on current affairs as I was good with static part. I used to read circulars on website of RBI. Reading a business newspaper also helped a lot.
MB: What you did for preparation of English? What was your strategy for this often-ignored section?
Kanika: Do practice for essays and precis. Even if you attempt 5 essays, It will help you to refine your thinking process. You can write as much as you want on any topic, but the main trick lies in knowing how to write in a strict word limit and yet maintain quality content. Pease practice on laptop or computer specifically for people who do not have good typing speed. I had practiced for English well before the Prelims exam, so that I can revise other topics before mains. I had given given my few essays for evaluation to MagguBhai team. This helped me to get a feedback on where I stand.
MB: What you did for preparation of Management? What was your strategy? Any books you would like to recommend? –
Kanika: For management, I used to study from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/
I did not use any other source. My main focus was on revising various management theories.
MB: What you did for preparation of ESI? How you tackled ever confusing schemes?
Kanika: For ESI, my main focus was on current affairs and government schemes. For government schemes, I first completed the ministries which are more important from exam perspective. I also thoroughly studied recent government schemes. I used to make my own mnemonics to memorise government schemes. Revision is very important
MB: How much Economics (subject knowledge) is actually in ESI? Toppers over the year suggest that it is more of current affairs than core economics.
Kanika: Basic knowledge of economics is enough for ESI. As long as we know the basics and prepare current affairs well, we will be good to go.
MB: What you did for preparation of Current Affairs? What was your strategy? Any source you referred.
Kanika: I used to study current affairs from BankersAdda as well the Spotlight magazine by Anuj Jindal. I used to attempt daily quizzes on BankersAdda and AffairsCloud
MB: How you prepared yourself to face the interview? Can you share some details?
Kanika: Practice as much as possible with other interview candidates. This helps in increasing confidence and a friendly feedback is always easier to digest. Be confident and polite in the interview. I used to read newspaper daily. RBI website was like bible for me, I had studied it very diligently.
MB: Please share your brief interview experience?
Kanika: Overall my interview experience was quite good. The board asked me questions related to profile only. Some of the questions which I can recall are- Why RBI, measures of money supply, financial crisis related question and some related to size of RBI balance sheet.
MB: Can you suggest, top 5 websites which are essential for RBI Grade B preparation?
Kanika: Yes, they are – Management StudyGuide, OliveBoard, BankersAdda, RBI and LiveMint
MB: 5 books which a beginner can’t miss?
Kanika: I had basic knowledge of finance, management and economics. So, I personally did not read any particular book. My major focus was on current affairs.
MB: During the long course of preparation any set-back you faced and how you tackled that?
Kanika: Failing the prelims in first attempt was disheartening for me. With the support of my family and friends, I again prepared and worked on my weak areas. I started reading novels in this process, and It worked wonders in keeping me calm.
MB: How you managed your studies with work?
Kanika: I worked as a freelancer, so It wasn’t that tough for me to adjust my work hours. I used to take on only such projects, which do not consume more than 4-5 hours a day.
MB: What was your study routine? How many hours and months you devoted to this examination?
Kanika: My efficiency level is more in morning. I always used to complete my current affairs revision in morning till 10-11 am. In the later part of the day, I used to give one mock for Quant, English and LR. Sticking to the school routine, I never really studied beyond 6-7pm except a few days. To be honest, hours and months don’t matter as long as you are spending quality time in studying. There were many days, in which I never touched RBI preparation and focused on my other finance exams and work. Whatever time you are devoting to preparation, do it with sincerity and dedication. Studying for 8-10 hours daily is not necessary.
MB: In case of current affairs, how many months you need to cover for phase 1 and phase 2?
Kanika: I did 8 months of current affairs for Phase 1 and 6 months for Phase 2
MB: The final selection ratio is less than 0.2%, so there is always uncertainty. What was your back-up plan? Do you really think we need a backup plan?
Kanika: I had left my job, with the basic idea that I will not give more than 2 attempts. If it does not work out, I will move into Investment Banking. I kept on doing certain professional courses along with preparation, so that I can move back into industry at a later stage with ease.
MB: What is your ultimate career aspiration?
Kanika: My ultimate career aspiration is to be a great economist, who is credited with her own economic theory.
MB: Any personality you admire and follow?
Kanika: My elder brothers
MB: How you kept yourself motivated, it is a grilling process?
Kanika: For someone, who had never seen failure before in life, it was very challenging to accept it. I used to read novels, watch movies for keeping myself motivated. The main key for me was to remain busy through out the day, so that I don’t get time to over think or over analyze.
MB: Any advice to new aspirants based on your experience? Things which we shall not do and things we must do
Kanika: Develop some hobby along with studying. If possible, go out with friends and family to calm your mind and get some fresh air. (Of course, in moderation). Stay away from Facebook and Instagram during exams. Its better to watch a good movie and relax your mind rather than spending time on FB.
MB: Your message to women candidates.
Kanika: Your decision of preparation will be challenged at many points of time, but do not deter. Stay focused and calm.
MB: Anything you like to say to other aspirants.
Kanika: Do not just study, do something along with it- be it sports, freelancing, dancing etc anything. Do not cut off with your friends completely. They are in similar stage of life and sometimes it good to just have an honest rant with them.
So this was something about what and how about RBI Grade B preparation from Kanika Berry.
Kanika is a Benedict Cumberbatch fan who wishes to have a beach vacation preferably in Spain or Maldives. She is developing reading as a hobby and her favorite book is “The Da Vinci Code” . She is planning to do Masters in Finance and her childhood dream which is still on the cards that is to have her own restaurant.
Our team wishes her a grand success in her future endeavors.