Graduating from PSG Tech in May 2012 to be working in Deloitte until December 2013 and to getting inducted into the Indian Navy as an ATC officer is the journey of Sub-Lieutenant S RAGHAVAN (MSc Theoretical Computer Science, 2007-12). The Bridge caught up with its alumnus when he was off duty after his training exams.
Q. Regarding your passion to pursue a career in the Armed forces; What sparked the interest in you?
I was part of the NCC during my school days and very much wanted to be in the armed forces as I grew up. But in college, I couldn’t continue my association with NCC as I was pre-occupied with sports. This passion was reignited during my final year when I was inspired by one of my school friends who joined the NSG.
Q. How did you come to know about the opportunity?
As I began seriously considering the options available to pursue my passion, I went through the armed forces websites. I spoke to many Ex-Servicemen and got an idea about what to expect if I join the forces. All of their inputs convinced me that the armed forces were where I wanted to be.
Q. What is your take on the selection procedure?
The armed forces selection or the SSB interview is very famous for bringing out the true character of an individual. It is a week long process which tests a candidate for their common sense, general awareness and their performance in a team. It is a wonderful opportunity for knowing about oneself and to meet people from various parts of the country who have unanimous passion.
Q. Give us a brief about your preparations?
I focused on knowing the interview process more than preparing specially for it, but there are lots of coaching centers across the country which train aspirants for the process. I got inputs about the process from my friends, Ranjani S (B.Tech IT, 2008-2012) and Karthik B (B.E ICE, 2008-2012) who had already cleared the same.
Q. How should one pace one’s journey towards the defense forces?
There is no definite timeline as such but the characteristics expected out of a candidate have to be developed over time, one cannot build it overnight. One’s surroundings, family and friends play an important role in shaping the character of the person and I am fortunate enough to have got that combination perfectly. One cannot adapt their character based on the demands of the armed forces but can decide if armed forces is what they want based on who they really are.
Q. Tell us about one of the exciting experience during the selection and training.
I was the first in my family in the forces so couldn’t get any firsthand account of the “tough” training regime. So every experience was unique and I focused on being myself in every one of those situations. The most amazing one being the passing out parade from the Indian Naval Academy on May 31 with my whole family witnessing the event. It was the culmination of 6 months of rigorous physical training and was once in a lifetime event.
Q. How is life at the Indian Naval Service?
There is lot of emphasis in the forces to develop an individual professionally, personally and socially. Lot of importance is given to studies and physical fitness. Exams are part of the routine. The saying – “Work hard party harder” is taken very seriously in the forces.
Q. Tell us about your PSG experience.
I cannot dwell more on the role my college played in shaping the person who I am now. The HOD of my department Dr. R. Nadarajan, the faculty and most importantly my course mates instilled the need to do something worthwhile in life. The need to keep focus and work hard to achieve the goals was imbibed into each one of us.
Q. What role did NCC play?
As mentioned earlier, being part of NCC in school was the starting point but more importantly my focus on sports and the lessons I learnt from it in college, proved to be a turning point. Apart from being physically fit I became mentally strong because of my involvement in various sporting activities which proved to be very helpful during my initial training phase in the Naval academy.
Q. What kind of personality is required for a career in the armed forces?
The most important qualities are honesty and integrity apart from all the qualities previously brought out. It is important to imbibe these qualities in your daily life and not focus on them only because somebody wants to be part of the forces. Be goal oriented and most importantly be mentally strong to achieve them. Take up some sport and try to be good at it.
Q. Give some crisp advice to aspirants.
Keep short term goals and focus all your energies to achieve them sincerely. Develop good relations with people especially during college as it comes along with you throughout your life. Last, but not the least, get inspired from others and be an inspiration for others.