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In August this year, NLIU student Avani Mishra secured the All India Rank 1 in the Company Secretary Examination, becoming the youngest Company Secretary in the country.
In this interview with Shreya Vajpei, Avani (19) talks about the preparation process while juggling law school, walking the ramp, and more.
Avani Mishra: When I was in 12th standard I was completely indecisive about what I wanted to do. My elder brother is doing CA and CS, and was pursuing B.Com back then. He was the one who initiated the idea.
My mother is also a professor of commerce. My father is a psychologist, but other than him, my mom, my brother and I are into commerce and I think it is because of this family environment that I knew a lot more than other students appearing for CS. And since my brother was already pursuing CS, he guided me really well at each stage and I think that was the initial motivation.
Shreya Vajpei: What was the preparation phase like?
Avani Mishra: There is this little strategy that most people are unaware of, which helped me save six months, which was appearing for the Common Proficiency Test.
There is a CPT entrance exam for Chartered Accountancy. Right after my twelfth standard I gave CPT and if you give CPT you don’t have to appear for CS Foundation. So, I got exempted from that and got a direct entry at CS Executive level, saving me six months.
And then I gave all the papers together. This was June 2014, when I had appeared for my inter and I got the All India Rank-13 in that. And after that I had nine more months to prepare for my CS Professional, which is the final level.
At NLIU, I didn’t really have a lot of time to go for any coaching classes. So, I subscribed to online classes and I think that’s something that really worked for me because I had 24×7 access to the archives classes. The professors there were very approachable and I could write emails to them and send them pictures of questions that I found difficult. That really helped me.
Shreya Vajpei: Were you always interested in pursuing law?
Avani Mishra: When I was preparing for my CPT, it basically had law, accountancy and economics. I used to go to a coaching centre here in Bhopal. The CA who was teaching us law used to be my father’s student in college, and he was a wonderful law teacher.
I was studying for CS all by myself, while studying for law at the coaching centre. It was then that I realised that I do have a passion for law.
It was in late March that I decided that I should give CLAT in May.
I basically had just two months to prepare for CLAT and I also had my CS Executive in June right after that.
It was a lot of things going on at the same point of time, but fortunately everything eventually fit worked out.
Shreya Vajpei: You are part of both the MCA and the Managerial Board of NLIU Law Review. How did you manage preparing for CS while being a law student?
Avani Mishra: Well, this is not really something that I would endorse but I am not on Facebook and I keep off social networking and I think that leaves me with a little more time to go and do things that are a little more productive.
I’m a day-scholar at NLIU, which would thankfully give me more time to study for CS. During the weekdays I would work for the NLIU Law Review and also ADR (i.e. the Alternative Dispute Resolution) Centre here, which kept me busy during the week. On weekends I tried to get up early and attend CS classes since I couldn’t attend them during the week and also try to solve questions of one subject.
Avani Mishra: Having a distraction in the form of a hobby gives happiness and satisfaction. And this is very important because, in some ways, it gives you a boost to get back to academics with the same amount of focus and dedication. Having extra-curricular going on side-by-side is a great idea!
Shreya Vajpei: Lastly, any advice to law students who plan to/are currently pursuing the Company Secretary course?
Avani Mishra: I think we, as law students, are far better than those who are doing just commerce because having a substantive and procedural knowledge about laws will give us a kind of insight into how those laws are working. My marks in law were primarily the reason why I am the first rank.
With law schools, I think it’s wrong to believe that one cannot do any additional courses alongside the law degree. And we have exams six times a year here, which is crazy. But I think taking time out and having the right approach to it is the key. And it’s not that difficult given that there are a lot of mediums available online to get your doubts and queries redressed.
Law did help me and having this kind of knowledge helped me answer questions that I even didn’t know. I am not saying that I wrote irrelevant things but I think in law school we are taught to track patterns and that logical approach can help you to arrive at the right answer without knowing the procedural law behind that particular question.