Akhilesh Mathur > Career

A summary of my career.










Career summary

1960 – 1971

ISC (Indian School Certificate) from Timpany School, Visakhapatnam (Vizag). I am fortunate enough to have been to only one school.

1972 – 1975

B.Sc. Physics (Honors) from St. Stephen's College, Delhi.

1975 – 1976

Structural designer with Despamont Constructions in Panjim (Panaji), Goa. Also did one year of a master's program in mathematics from the Centre for Postgraduate Instruction and Research, Panjim.

[Intending a career in structural design, I become a student member of the Institution of Engineers within days of reaching Panjim. I plan to make my fortune from the construction boom in the Middle East after qualifying as an engineer. After six months, however, I decide to compete for the Indian Foreign Service. Goa is the fundamental turning point in my life. I became a civil servant instead of a civil engineer.

It is frightening how life can pivot on a single decision. What might have been if my career had continued as originally planned? I still speculate about this. Mathematics and engineering are my first loves. Never underestimate the grip a first love can have on your mind—be assured that this grip never relents.]


Stay in Delhi. Do a lot of long-distance cycling, including a 160-kilometer ride to Saharanpur. Win the Delhi State Cycling Championship on 20th March. Study structural engineering, international relations and current affairs for the Civil Services exam—to this end, use the libraries of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and the India International Centre.


Take the Civil Service competitive exam in October. General Knowledge, English, and Essay papers are compulsory, and three other subjects must be chosen. I choose Mathematics, Physics, and Applied Mechanics. We must also list the services we are competing for. I list the Foreign Service, the Administrative Service, the Police Service, the Railway Traffic Service, the Customs Service and the Postal Service. I do well enough in the written exam to qualify for the interview, and am interviewed by the Union Public Service Commission in May 1979.


Receive my appointment letter from the Government of India in July. I join the National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie to do the four-month foundation course common to all services. We study Public Administration, Economics, History and Law. We also live in a rural village for a week to learn the basics of land records and to interview residents about their socio-economic conditions. [My group goes to Silawan village in Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur District.] The Indian State vests an unusual degree of authority in its civil servants, and we are taught to exercise this carefully and responsibly.

Our stay at the Academy is a life-changing experience. This is the first job for many of us. We must do PT in the mornings. We learn horse riding. I win a few athletics prizes. I trek to the Mana Pass on the Chinese border with a group from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

I join the Indian Postal Service after the foundation course.

1980 – 1981

Training at the Postal Staff College, Delhi. We have classes and do on-the-job training assignments. I get to travel extensively, and fondly recall my work in the jungle districts of Madhya Pradesh. We also do a brief attachment with the Army in Siliguri.

1981 – 1982

Assume my first charge as Senior Superintendent of Post Offices (SSP), Hoshangabad Division. Hoshangabad is a town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The Division is the basic administrative unit: all staffing, operations, buildings, investigation, inspection, liaison and legal matters are looked after by the SSP. Hoshangabad Division—extending from Khandwa in the west to Jabalpur in the east and from Hoshangabad in the north to Itarsi in the south—covers 6,000 square kilometers.

1982 – 1983

Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Gwalior Division, and Assistant Postmaster General (Savings Bank) at state headquarters in Bhopal.


Vigilance Officer, Northeastern Postal Circle, Shillong. Am responsible for investigating corruption, fraud and terrorism. I see northeastern India thoroughly and enjoy the challenges there despite the terrorism then prevailing in the region. Shillong is known as the 'Scotland of the East.'


Return to Delhi as Assistant Director General (International Mails). My first exposure to international operations.

1986 – 1988

Appointment as Assistant Director General (International Relations). My first "diplomatic" assignment. I go to the Asian-Pacific Postal Training Centre in Bangkok (my first visit abroad) from March-May 1986 to learn international operations. [I have now been there several times as a consultant.]

18 March 1989

Join the Universal Postal Union. The UPU, a UN specialized agency based in Berne, Switzerland, recruits managers globally.

3/1989 – 5/1993

Statistics Expert

6/1993 – 8/1998

Deputy Head of Informatics

9/1998 – 3/2001

Deputy Head of Letter Post and Postal Security

4/2001 – 7/2006

Mail Programme Manager

8/2006 onwards

Programme Manager, Standards and Certification

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Page created on 30th August 2004 and last reviewed on 23rd December 2012


Akhilesh Mathur, Berne, Switzerland

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