I ardently believe in the Japanese proverb “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” and have diligently practiced it in my personal and professional career. This ingrained quality has helped me stay motivated and overcome failures to excel in multiple endeavors.
As a teenager, I wanted to serve the nation from the battlefront and in this pursuit applied for SSB in 2013 where after three attempts I was finally recommended for CDS (Combined Defense Services) entry at Varanasi. As luck would have had it, just a week prior to this interview, I was conferenced out at the Allahabad SSB in UES (University Entry Scheme). I was extremely dejected and my morale was at an all-time low. I did a thorough introspection of events in the past interview and realized that I was probably pushing a little too hard to impress the committee and in the process probably overshadowing my natural self. Hence, I made a conscious note to self to focus on just my core strengths, enjoy my 5-day evaluation period at Varanasi, and get involved in things, which I genuinely liked such as playing cricket, volleyball and foosball with the other 63 applicants. Even during the interviews, I maintained my composure and used logic while answering tricky questions. Finally, my efforts paid off and I was the only person to be recommended by the committee at the end of evaluation. This was one of the proudest days in my life as I was able to overcome rejection within just 10 days and get backing from the toughest CDS boards.
Most recently, I was rejected by all the Business schools I applied to last year. However, I was determined to improve myself on academic, professional, and personal fronts to make a strong case this time.
Firstly, I completed two online certifications – the lean Six Sigma Green belt issued by Benchmark Six Sigma, and the Data Analytics with R programming issued by IIT Kharagpur. Here, I learnt about ways to make data-based decisions instead of intuition-based ones. I applied the learnings in my work as I designed a model to correlate the fuel consumption of vehicles used in our plant with several parameters and devise utilization improvement strategy.
Secondly, I broadened my scope of work to take up additional roles in Service Contract Formulation, Feasibility Studies, Capital Procurements etc. – most of which don’t have set mandates and are strategic in nature. These projects have made me realize the extent of long-term impact I can have on organizations and have peaked my interest in a consulting career.
Lastly, the current COVID crisis gave me an opportunity to impart education to tribal kids around our plant. Regular classes for these children had stopped and they couldn’t afford online tools. Seeing the plight, I pooled in some of my colleagues, and we conducted night classes for these children.
In today’s highly competitive and dynamic work environment, I consider this ability to ride the highs and lows of life gracefully as a trait that is worthy of being considered special.