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'Marks are no barometer of a person's ability'
Rohit Daga
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June 26, 2007

Faring badly in an important exam can be traumatic.

With the Class X and XII results out, many students find themselves under tremendous stress about their career and their future.

In case you have not done as well as expected, do not be disheartened. Failure (or not doing well as expected), as the old adage goes, is just a stepping-stone to success.

We asked Get Ahead readers who had not fared well in their exams to share their success stories with us. Here is what Rohit Daga had to say: 

I fared poorly in my graduation (BCom) scoring just 53 per cent. It was quite depressing when friends and family asked me about my marks; it kept me down for quite a while. People, it seemed, judged me based on my marks. At various stages of my career, I tried to get jobs that I knew I could do, but not having first class was a major obstacle. However, this only put the fire in my belly; I was determined to do well.


During my three years of senior college, I spent a lot of time in other activities. I became a distributor of a leading cosmetics company in India. This helped me understand the sales and marketing aspects of business in a very real and practical manner.


I then began investing in equities. That was the turning point of my career. It was just before the dotcom bubble burst, a time when everything was in a state of flux. Having to keep track of what was happening in the business world and why, really opened my mind. I was able to understand how businesses really worked; how what is good for one company might spell disaster for another; and what moves the market -- the policies, capital flows, etc.


I made good profits initially. Then, I over-leveraged and made big losses. That was a time I will not easily forget and that is what made me a stronger person. I subsequently set down some ground rules, which helped me make profits. Those lessons keep me grounded and practical.


I gradually began learning about my family business from my father. I also spent a lot of time reading (business-related magazines, fiction, IT magazines, etc), playing strategy-based computer games and participating in quizzes. All of these activities helped me boost my business acumen and improve my critical thinking.


After graduating, unlike most of my classmates, I initiated a web-based start-up company with a friend. It was named Enterfun (later rechristened Triverge Web Technologies).


I worked full-time for the first three months. Once the work stabilised, I started working part-time and then finally moved to my family business. I learnt the nuances of the business in the 12 months I worked there. Dealing with suppliers, customers and managing employees were among the many aspects I was monitoring and learning.


However, I always wanted to chart out my own career. So, I moved to AXA BS. The 22 months I spent there were fruitful; that's where I found my mentor -- Mr Chatterjee. His guidance was critical to my success, in AXA and outside. He constantly helped me and guided me with suggestions and tips. I had implemented improvements across all the processes of our team, was awarded for my performance and jointly managed the quality of the team.


What my first 3 years of full-time work experience did was provide me with a lot of diverse learning. It made me flexible and open to new ideas. My first start-up failed, but I learnt a lot from it.


I decided to initiate another start-up after AXA. The company would supply air-conditioning components along with maintenance and servicing contracts for the same. My father extended his support. From managing orders to managing people to managing the delivery schedules -- it was fascinating. The venture was profitable and was doing well.


At this point, I decided to pursue what I had always dreamt of -- an MBA.


By my 24th birthday I had seen many ups and downs; had faced success and failure. When I look back on the first phase of my career, I would term it a success. My marks or the lack of it only made me put in extra effort to succeed.


I would spend most of my free time reading about business to keep myself updated. I limited the amount of time I spent on movies, going out, etc. That was the price I had to pay. Looking back, I would say it was worth it. Nothing comes easy, as long as you are prepared to work hard, you can achieve your dreams. I believe that my poor marks were my stepping-stone to success.


In life, we face a lot of challenges and failures. What matters is how you pull yourself up after a fall. Be positive and have faith in yourself!


Rohit Daga, 25, is currently pursuing an MBA in Finance from Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai.



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We invite readers who have plotted 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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