There is something magical about these words. They can make or break you, given how resilient your confidence is. It’s more effective when it comes from people close to you, your family and friends. Most people get hurt and lose their confidence when they hear them but there are some who just see it as a challenge and can’t wait to prove themselves. Luckily, I belong to the latter category and given how many people have said “you can’t” to me, it’s a bliss!
I was always a six-point someone, a happy one. Though I was attentive during the classes and never bunked, I hated studying after school. I participated in every possible contest, be it Judo, Quiz contest or a salad-making competition (only male participant and I won).
To be fair, Analytics was not a choice for me. In fact, I hated numbers. After my high school results were out, I had no clue what to do next. I hated Math, never liked Biology, did not understand why Commerce is even a subject and Arts was out of the question as according to my parents Math:Engineer , Bio:Doctor, Commerce:CA and Arts: Jobless. I went for biology for the obvious reason i.e. more text, less numbers. So I completed school, did my engineering in biotechnology and got placed in Wipro (because a bio background student will totally make a Rockstar coder #RIPlogic).
After spending some time making dashboards on excel, I got bored. I wanted to escape and MBA seemed like a logical option (#RIPlogic Part 2). So I resigned, returned home, got a terrible score (mostly because of a Joker-Level evil girlfriend) but somehow managed to get an admission offer from a decent MBA college in Philippines which I had to reject as I was unable to get sufficient funds.
So here I was, jobless, hopeless and a grown up boy living at home doing nothing and surviving on his mother’s expenses. My relatives told my mother to stop providing support and another suggested that your son might commit suicide (as a similar event happened to one random guy she knew). Rock bottom.
I won’t lie, it was a very bad time and I even thought of running away from everything but my mother acted as Jamwant for her Hanuman. When everyone labeled me a failure, every day for 4 months she was like “you can do anything and I know you will succeed”. Just like others, I was amused by her faith in me but it kept me alive.
After few months of sleeping on the couch, eating anything and everything and gaining 570.25 KGs, I came to know about a one year course in Business Analytics from Praxis business school. I had nothing to lose so I went for it. I was introduced to a new world by some of the most charismatic teachers I have ever met. After the course got over I was equipped with a clear understanding of my career path and how I am going to achieve it. I later did a one-year executive program from IIM – Bangalore.
Today I head the analytics team of Yatra.com, have led a team of 2-30 people in past, worked across different geographies, been part of a startup and worked for a fortune 30 company in the US. I regularly get invitations to speak at various analytics events in India and abroad, have authored various published articles and yes, I drive a car with sunroof, I am married to a very beautiful woman (who is BTW, way out of my league) whom I can take to restaurant and order without looking at the price (well, I peek when she is not looking).
Now, what’s the point of this? There are hundreds of people out there who are doing much better than me. Right?
It was never about the success. It’s about succeeding against all the odds, against all the “you can’t” of your life and ultimately proving them wrong. People still tell me things me like “Bank PO is better” “Government job is a better choice” or the best one “When are you going to settle down?”. It’s about not letting others decide what your limits would be, what your salary would be. It is your life and no one can decide what your dreams will look like.
Analytics is my life now. I love my job (so much that sometimes I dream about my projects). I have had my share of ups and down in Analytics but I am proud to witness and be a (very small) part of the analytics revolution in India. In near future, I plan to use my skills and knowledge to create a product in social-tech sector.
I am inspired by Shahrukh Khan, simply because he wrote and lived the best underdog success story ever. Other than SRK I am also inspired by Dr. Strange because he selflessly traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. Even after being killed so many times he kept on trying to bargain, Dormammu reluctantly agrees to leave Earth taking Kaecilius and the zealots with him.
For the young chaps who are keen on joining the sector: Analytics is awesome and If I can, you can too! 🙂 (given you have/or develop a genuine interest in data over the period of time). It’s like solving puzzles, a different one each time and with all the new tech coming in every day, it remains interesting.
When I am not dreaming, I love to travel, cook wonderful Pao bhaji, sing like a madman, bore my family with my plans of world domination and click pictures of my wife.
Meet Ritesh Mohan Srivastava : An undaunted spirit, movieholic, and Analytics aficionado