While the journey has not been easy and a long road lies ahead but I must say that it has been easier than most. Coming from a small town and moving to a big city can be intimidating especially when you’re docile.
Right after 12th Board results were declared congratulations started pouring in and people gave all sorts of advice to my parents. I had plans to follow my sister’s steps and move to Ahmedabad for CA IPC coaching and pursue CA. Clueless, I had never heard of SRCC, now I know better. I didn’t know that people dream of getting into SRCC since childhood. It was never my dream but I was smart enough to get into it. Reluctantly I joined SRCC and within the 3 years I spent there, my personality took a 360-degree turn. I was more outspoken and unafraid. The one thing that I regret the most is not giving enough to my college as the college gave me. But all that is in the past, if allowed to do over I would want to do much more, put myself out there, face every rejection possible, and participate in everything under the sun.
Although I have some regrets of not giving my 100% to college, I managed to get All India Rank in CA IPC and CS Executive. Being smart I was arrogant and also lazy, I didn’t prepare enough for my articleship interviews and I was rejected. I didn’t even try all the big fours, accepted the offer I had from Grant Thornton. Easy was always my way but in the end, it all turned out good since I learned more in GT than I could’ve learned in a big four. Did I tell you I was always kind of lucky?
Then came the arduous task of CA finals. While I was shitting bricks, I had composure in front of people. I was smart, wasn’t I? All those people telling you that CA Final is damn tough, it is true. CA Finals is tough for people who start at the last moment just like me. The gargantuan syllabus drove me to a frenzy so much that I almost had a nervous breakdown. Before every exam, I was puking and my parents worried sick that I might not be able to even write the exams. But I was stronger than that, despite my mind playing tricks I convinced myself, what’s the worse that could happen if I fail? I will fail and maybe or maybe not I will try again.
On the day of the results, I sat quietly in a room refreshing the page, and finally, it came out. My eyes automatically darted towards the words that said “Pass”. I was so choked with emotion that I couldn’t form two words and tell my mother “Mumma I passed”. Teary-eyed I just managed to tell her and she cried with me. She had seen my struggles, all the expectations getting to me, I still become emotional remembering the day. All the result days I have cried because I knew that I could do better but on CA Finals' results day I cried because of joy because I gave it my all.
The battle didn’t end with graduating CA. You have to work extra hard just to get your resume to the right place and let me tell you the process is frustrating. Patience is the key and learning from your mistakes. Every mistake that you make in an interview will prepare you better. For every job, there are thousands of applicants and it is very cut-throat. Everybody is from a good college and with multiple degrees. How do you stand out?
Before going to an interview there are a few things that you should remember, this is not the end of the world, rejection is inevitable, be honest when you don’t know anything, try to be calm. Just take a moment to answer the question. Speaking from personal experience when you stop and think, the answers do come to you, and sometimes the interviewer also steers you towards the right answers.
Doing my articleship in statutory audit I knew that I was not interested in it. All I wanted was to get into finance, I interviewed for only core finance roles but I always kept an open mind. My first interview was with Avendus and it was as smooth as it could ever be and I am so thankful to Mr. Deepak Bhandari. Talking to him put me automatically at ease, I just wished I could’ve gotten selected in the last round to experience what would it be like to work with him. Finally, I got into Cushman & Wakefield, it offered a great platform to freshers to learn the entire process of investment banking. Never would I have thought in a million years that I would be interested in real estate. The job came with its own set of challenges but was very rewarding in terms of learning. I learned so much in a short span that I couldn’t learn all those years auditing real estate companies.
My move from Cushman to Bank of America was controversial. An ambitious person like me doesn’t go from the front office to the back office, it was vice versa. I did what I thought was right then. Due to a lull across the real estate sector, the deals were slim and I was feeling stagnated. Bank of America presented an opportunity to get perspective on the global financial market and so I took it. It all depends on the people what they make of an opportunity and I am still in the phase of constant learning. The FinTech market in the US in more mature than in India with companies getting listed every day. There is so much intrigue around the valuations of these companies and I am one among many curious about the same. So what’s next? Maybe valuations!
Side note: I tried to convey my journey as honestly as possible. Not everybody will have the same experiences. It could be better or worse. Through it all I just want to share my learnings, be patient, not everybody will have the same journey. Be persistent, all goals require hard work. Start small if you have to, just start. CA seems scary but doesn’t make it more than what it is and start preparing right from the start.