Before you disregard the question calling it foolish and label me yet another troll , at-least go through this.
I was occupied with my job as a trader at a proprietary trading firm (which I couldn't name obviously * reason in the end) till around second week of March 2019, when one night I started seriously thinking about my career choices. It dawned upon me that I was slogging for nothing, and the only motivation that the job gave me was to make more money as compared to the day before. I would be lying if I say I hate money, but the whole idea to ascend the earning-more-everyday curve felt way too alien to me, suddenly. I would also be lying if I say that this demotivation in the job was sudden, but I suppose the reason I remember this very peculiarly and writing about it here is pretty self evident.
To cut short, I started looking for career ideas which precisely did two things. One, they filled this huge void of providing a meaning to my otherwise very self-centered life. And second, give me some sense of great satisfaction (the materialistic world of finance doesn't provide an iota of contentment, except meritocratic encouragement). You might have guessed it already that the answer which I got from most people (mom, dad, dad's friend, sister, my friends etc almost everyone) was the three letter acronym. In fact, IAS was so statistically significant that I started seriously considering that and once I exhaustively went through most of the literature (haha! dearth of a suitable word) about the service I could find on the internet, I was mesmerised. Earlier, I just had a foggy idea of the service, which might have as well encouraged that demotivation in my regular job, I suppose. Actually I had coincidentally been curious about the service since the starting of this year (maybe time spent on quora would have amounted to it since I started following UPSC there, also it was some video I guess which forced me into creating account on this forum around January). January and February are typically busy months considering trading, so kinda forgot about this completely. It was only the above mentioned incident which inspired me to take the plunge and found the impetus of seriously considering to prepare only after I talked to my parents about it. I cursed myself to never even toy with the idea of this snacc (context : Hasan Minhaj) service before.
Clueless about the form filling dates (never serious about this exam, didn't even remotely consider it until now), I checked, and found out I was just 3 days from utmost contrition. I was so relieved that I didn't have to wait another year for this, and filled the form a day later on 16 March. Also opted for the forest service exam, while I was at it. Didn't interest me as much, but decided to give it a shot anyway. It is only now, that I realize that the prelims cutoff for IFoS treads on a much higher elevation than the CSE. From 16 to today i.e. 29, I have been delving deep on what works and gaining familiarity with the exam.
So, is it possible ? I don't want to put more than a year into this, (today to CSE 2019 interview = roughly an year) and also, I believe I could do it.
The question primarily aims at finding equivalents of this feat earlier. Has anyone been able to become an IAS in this short a time frame ? The minimum I could find was 4 months before prelims, the plan I am already two months late for, but am pretty sure, the community would know someone who has been able to do it in two months before prelims, and slightly less than six months before Mains.
Why I believe I could do it ?
1. Maths optional -> Have been a math-nerd my entire life, and the optional question papers don't look too tough at first sight. They sure need practice, but I am sure, optional won't be a problem.
2. Have been a generally aware person my entire life. Have read more than around 500 novels (most of them self improvement (don't laugh !) and non-fiction).
3. Coming from a finance background, around 25% of Economics is covered. I could be highly mistaken, but the sense I got while going through the previous years questions was that 1 in 4(min) or 5(max) questions wanted some detail I either knew, or knew where to seek out.
4. Energy level and a fresh approach, obviously more than the ones that have been preparing for months already
5. Self belief, loads of it
Why I believe I couldn't ?
1. Everything except Maths (optional) and 25 % of Economics needs to be completed.
2. Fear of failure which leads to point 3
3. Procrastination and dawdling
4. Lack of proper guidance (disregard this mostly, I don't find this to be that big a handicap)
5. Time, very very scarce
Thanks for being patient. Best wishes to all of you who are preparing. I hope I could get suggestions of people cracking this exam considering preparations one months before prelims, let alone two.
• - couldn't name my trading firm since I am planning to leave the job in a week's time, legally bound to not advertise my resignation on public forums. Also, for anonymity purposes.