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'Low marks don't mean you've failed'
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June 07, 2007

We asked Get Ahead readers to send in stories of career success despite academic failure. Here is one such tale of inspiration:

I was a fairly good student at school, but somehow failed to get good marks in either Class X or Class XII.  While I would score good marks in the terminal exams, the nervousness of the board exams would make me forget all my answers the moment I would see the question paper. 

I managed to score exactly 50% in my Class XII exams, which was definitely not sufficient to get admission in any of the good colleges. That was the day I learnt a lesson and decided to not to lack behind my friends in any manner.

I decided to go in for a secretarial practice course from the YMCA. Even before I turned 18, I completed this one year course and was looking for a job. During this period, I had lived my life completely as any college student would and had also earned a professional diploma at the same time. 

I managed to get a job as a secretary with the Oberoi Group of Hotels. Since then, there has been no looking back.

In the last nine odd years of my career, I have worked with four different companies. Today, I am manager, operations, with a US-based organisation. I look after their entire operations for Delhi and earn a eight-figure salary.

This journey -- from a Rs 30,000 annual salary to a Rs 10,00,000 annual salary and lots of perks -- has definitely been very exciting. At the same time, I have had to work very hard.

Even though I failed to get good marks, I knew where I had to reach. I did not waste my time in trying achieve what I could not achieve. Instead, I concentrated on my strengths.

I knew my high confidence level and my leadership skills were my assets. I went on learning new things on the job and achieved greater heights in my career. Today, my friends who have studied much more than I have are not earning as much as I do.

I do mean to say studies have no value. But, if you have given it your best shot and have still not been able to score good marks, do not be disappointed. This could be another beginning for you.

Even if you cannot overcome all your weaknesses, weaknesses you can definitely find out what your strengths are. Concentrate on them to moving ahead in your career. Know what you are best at and pursue a career in that field.

Low marks is definitely not the end of this world for anyone... go out and the sky will have no limits for you.

*Name changed on author's request.

We invite readers who have had a successful career despite academic drawbacks to share their stories with us. If you have been successful in a vocation despite not having fared well academically, tell your story and help others in a similar situation turn their lives around.

Mail your contribution to, making sure to include your full name, age, occupation, the name of your city, and a photograph (if possible). We will publish it in the Get Ahead section of

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