Five People Who Prove That Excelling at Academics Isn’t Everything


Last Updated: September 5, 2022
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When it comes to picking a job, there was a period when the masses didn’t have much of a say. Engineering, medicine, CA and MBA were – and in some cases, still are – the norm. However, there has been a gradual change in the mindset. More and more individuals are leaning towards creative, offbeat, even quirky career options. Still, the change is gradual. There are masses who continue to pursue India’s all-time favourite traditional careers. And many do so without any real interest or proper research. For instance, around 12 lakh aspirants appeared for JEE Mains – the engineering entrance examination –  in 2016, from which only 2 lakh students qualified. And even those who do qualify and make it all the way to graduation aren’t always better off. About 94% of engineers are deemed as not fit for hiring. And that’s just one traditional career option.

Consider this: whether you choose a course, stream, or career path, you’re dedicating the next four to six years of your life to it while also investing a lot on the popular courses. You’d expect some kind of ‘return’ on this investment once you enter the workforce. This is why it is important to study the ‘job market’ for the career you’re choosing. What are your chances of employment? What is the scope for growth? Where do the opportunities lie? It is important to know these details before committing yourself or your child to such a course.

Thanks to the internet, technology and rapid progress, both the educational market and the job market are expanding. Newer opportunities spring up regularly and your options are aplenty. Even if your course doesn’t leave you with much scope in terms of job opportunities, your passions or interests could lead you to success. 

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Take a look at these inspirational stories of individuals who ditched their conventional starts to follow their dreams!

Biswa Kalyan Rath

Education: B.Tech in Biotechnology, IIT Kharagpur

Profession: Stand-up comedian, YouTuber

Biswa Kalyan Rath


If you’re a stand-up fan in India, you’re likely to have come across Biswa Kalyan Rath. He’s making waves on YouTube, even got ‘memed’ and also has an Amazon Prime special under his belt. Armed with an engineering degree from IIT, Biswa once worked in the field of design and software in Bangalore! In 2014, Biswa bid goodbye to his job at Oracle and chose to become a full-time comedian.

Rohinton Mistry

Education: BA in Mathematics and Economics, BA in English and Philosophy

Profession: Author

Rohinton Mistry

Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia

Born in a Parsi family in 1952, Rohinton Mistry got his degree in Mathematics and Economics, emigrated to Canada and took up a banking job. He always had a love for books, so he and his wife would attend literature classes at night school. He even calculated that if he wrote five pages every weekend, he could whip up a short story in three weeks. However, he chose to call in sick at work one week to come up with On Sunday, his first story. Since then, he has gone on to win awards like Commonwealth Writers Prize, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, Neustadt International Prize for Literature for his works.

Rajesh Mudki

Education: MBA

Profession: Aerial Choreographer, Mallakhamb artist with Cirque du Soleil

Rajesh Mudki

Source: Facebook

Cirque du Soleil translates to “circus of the sun”, and is a Canadian entertainment company established in 1984. Rajesh Mudki is the only Indian artist in the Cirque du Soleil troupe and an ace Mallakhamb artist. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Mallakhamb is a mix of yoga and wrestling practised while balancing on a wooden pole. Says Rajesh, “Initially, my parents were not okay with it, they wanted me to study. I did my MBA, studied a lot in fact. After all that, I knew I did not want to do it. It wasn’t meant for me.” Rajesh waited 12 years for this golden chance; he had applied to Cirque du Soleil back in 2006.

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Preity Zinta

Education: Masters Degree in Criminal Psychology

Profession: Actor, Owner of an IPL cricket team

Preity Zinta

Indian millennials will remember Preity Zinta as the fresh and bubbly Lyril girl. She went on to appear in several other ads, movies and soon rose to fame as a Bollywood superstar. But acting wasn’t always the path she planned to pursue. After completing her masters, she took up a few modelling jobs. A lucky meeting with a director at a friend’s party led her to her first role;.and the rest is history. Preity Zinta also has an acumen for business; she was the first woman to own an IPL (Indian Premier League) team when she invested in Mohali-based Kings XI Punjab team.

Hannah Gadsby

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Curatorship

Profession: Lecturer, Actor, Stand-up Comedian

Hannah Gadsby

Source: Facebook

Recently, Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up special on Netflix, Nanette, took the world by storm. It was a heartwarming, gut-wrenching stand-up comedy that left its audience with mixed feelings of awe, despair and anger. Hannah, however, began with an art history and curatorship degree! She began conducting comedy art tours at the National Gallery of Victoria and eventually chose to pursue comedy full-time.

We get that it’s tough to make a career choice, especially before you’ve even had a chance to fully experience what the world has to offer. However, that doesn’t mean you “go with the flow” and pick the popular options. What if you were never meant for them? What if you were meant for something far greater? The people whose stories we’ve shared here were fortunate enough to have found their true calling, but not everyone gets to do so. Over 55% of India’s working population is unhappy, frustrated, and unsatisfied with their jobs, owing primarily to poor career choices. Don’t allow yourself to become part of this statistic. Let us help you make an informed, accurate career decision based on your passions; you’re bound to find happiness and success in it.

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