From medicine to Indian Foreign Service
A man of medicine and a member of the Indian Foreign Service, Sumit Seth combines these two
contrasting abilities in ample measure. Seth speaks his heart out to Bureaucracy Today about his success mantra for the Civil Services Exam.
Sumit Seth is a career diplomat and is presently posted as Deputy Chief of Protocol in the Ministry of External Affairs. Anxiously we ask Seth about his secret of success in the Civil Services Examination. In his calm composure, Seth replies, “To climb the ladder of success, one needs a perfect blend of hard work, sincerity, intelligence, perseverance, discipline, dedication and a dash of good luck. Although there are some time-tested techniques and principles, yet there is no midas touch or a magic formula”.
Is there any secret to understand and read the pulse of the Civil Services Exam which is divided into three stages, the preliminary, the main examination and the interview. Seth remembering his preparation days says, “As far as the Prelims is concerned, it requires speed, sharpness and extensive knowledge. For the Mains the candidate should lay stress on intensiveness and depth of understanding of the subject and his or her ability to write a coherent essay within the time- limit. An interview is a test, where one requires a long- term preparation in order to groom one's personality. Pleasant demeanour, articulation, ability to think on one's feet, spontaneity, the presence of mind, and the wide reading habit are some of the indispensable traits of a distinguished and mature person”.
Sumit Seth is an alumnus of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. He has also authored a best-selling book for medical students, Review of Forensic Medicine. We curiously ask Seth that what motivated him to choose the Civil Services as his career. Seth humbly replies, “I had the fortune of meeting some retired Ambassadors, including the legendary late. J.N. Dixit. My conversations with them inspired and convinced me of the career I wanted to be in. I was happy and satisfied working as a doctor and but still left my medicine profession to be a part of the Indian Foreign Service”.
About his experience as an IFS officer Seth says, “My experience has been very enriching, much more than I had expected. I have got an opportunity to learn a foreign language (Spanish), which has added new software to my thinking process and opened up a new world of experiences. My job requires me to travel extensively, meet new people, and create new circles of friends across the globe. Above all, it gives me a chance to do some meaningful work for my country and feel the pride in representing India to the best of my abilities”.
As a piece of advice to future aspirants, Seth says, “Don't join the Civil Services for wrong reasons like earning quick money, power and fame. Unless you are intrinsically motivated you will not relish the Civil Services. So getting selected should not be the only target. What one will do after that is what determines one’s happiness, satisfaction and zest”.