The LUMS Office of Alumni Relations joined hands with the LUMS Career Services Office and the CSS Alumni Association on the evening of Tuesday, 12 September, 2017 for a Central Superior Services (CSS) Mentorship Session.
As an event under the new alumni relations brand, SPARK-Pro, which aims to be a premier event series for profession development and career advancement, this session was the first in what will be a series of four CSS mentorship sessions taking place over the next few months.
Every year the number of LUMS graduates appearing for the Central Superior Services (CSS) examinations increases, and more and more alumni and students incline themselves towards this career path. In light of this, the LUMS Offices, along with the alumni who are already serving after having passed CSS, wanted to cater to the community’s needs and provide them with the support and resources required for such a hefty endeavour.
The session was conducted by a panel of alumni, who are all CSS officers, and included Furqan Ashraf, BSc 2014; Ejaz Sarwar, BSc 2014; Shahzad Mehboob, BSc 2012; Bilal Ahmed, BS 2014 and Eesha Syed, BSc 2015. With over 200 alumni and students in the room, all eyes were on Ashraf as he began the session with a brief presentation about the what, where, when and how of the CSS examination. He outlined the core information about the exam, explained the differences between the various service groups, and addressed both the advantages and the drawbacks of this profession. “Civil service seems to be a very lucrative job, and indeed it is, but it is not without its challenges,” he said.
The alumni panelists then took to the floor one by one and spoke to various aspects of the CSS examination; explaining the basic eligibility criteria and timeline, offering guidance on books selection and subject selection, sharing advice on how to handle stress and manage time, and outlining the various habits and practices aspirants must adopt in their lifestyle in order to maximize their chances of success. “You need to have solid views and opinions about current affairs and international news, so you have to stay in touch with books, newspapers, and news magazines, and read as much as possible,” said Sarwar.
Many of the counselling alumni were also of the opinion that aspiring students need to diversify their knowledge, and should take advantage of their time at LUMS by taking courses completely different from their major. “This will enhance your knowledge paradigm and expand your information bank,” said Sarwar, making you increasingly more prepared for the exam.
After every alumni panelist had spoken, the group opened the floor to an interactive Q&A session. The attendees took advantage of the opportunity to seek guidance from their seniors, and didn’t hold back in their queries, questioning the alumni about everything from how to approach the exam essay to how to answer in the interview.
On describing the mindset you need to pursue this career, Ahmed said, "The CSS is a very ruthless exam but if you know that this is your life’s aim then you need to work for it.”
At the end of the interactive session, Sarwar left the students and alumni with a few final words of inspiration. “I firmly believe that every LUMS graduate has enough skill and intellectual ability to pass the CSS exam,” he said.