There’s no surer sign of the changing times. Until recently, a job with the Indian Administrative Service meant the pinnacle of professional success – it represented status, great money, and an opportunity to touch the lives of millions. But 24 year old IAS officer Roman Saini had other ideas. He’s quit his job as the assistant collector of Jabalpur to launch his own startup.
Saini is a bit of a prodigy – he’d cleared the AIIMS entrance exam at the age of 16. In 2013, at the age of 22, he cleared the Civil Services Examination in his first attempt and became one of the youngest IAS officers in India by securing an All India Rank of 18. Yet the lure of running his own business proved too strong. Along with friend Gaurav Munjal, he’s now launched Unacademy, a startup that aims to provide coaching to students preparing for competitive exams.
“My focus is on making quality education accessible and I think the offline mode is not the way to achieve it. That is why I decided to pursue fulltime the concept of Unacademy.”, he says.
It wasn’t an easy decision though. His father, an engineer, and brother, a paediatrician, weren’t happy that the he was chucking a perfectly good “government job with security” to pursue a dream. He too had his apprehensions. “I had dedicated two years to prepare for the civil service exams,” says Saini. “There were many factors were involved, so I consulted everyone possible.”
Yet his passion won through in the end. “I have a lot of respect for the civil services, but I think education is what will drive the nation and that is why I finally decided to work in this sector,” Saini says.
His cofounder, naturally, was overjoyed. “Tu beer hai”, he tweeted, a line from the popular startup show TVF Pitchers, indicating that Saini was now following his dream.
— Gaurav Munjal (@gauravmunjal) January 10, 2016