From being diagnosed with multiple tumours to being born with 100% visual impairment, we have received some of the most poignant and inspirational stories of aspirants who made it to their dream B-schools despite extremely unfavourable circumstances.
To inspire you to achieve the same and make it to your dream B-school in 2020, we have compiled 20 of the most inspirational stories - some of which will leave you awe-struck, and some that will leave you teary eyed and at a loss for words.
"I felt as if I lost everything, my health, my job, my money and my future promotions, the only thing I hadn’t lost was hope and believe in myself."
Manavdeep Singh, a GEM, met with an unfortunate accident that left him bedridden. In his first ever mock test, he scored a meagre 47%ile, that left him even more demotivated. But that did not deter Manavdeep. In this inspirational post, he highlights how he kept himself motivated and managed to ultimately score 99.4%ile in CAT, and converted the top B-schools of the country.
"I started preparing for CAT amongst constant repudiations from almost everyone I knew. My parents, friends and family, all told me that my eyes would get in the way of placements."
Shreya Upadhyay was born differently abled, and faced numerous challenges beginning right from her childhood. She went ahead and pursued Psychology, excelling in it and ultimately deciding to pursue an MBA. In this motivational post, Shreya describes her journey from the small town of Ujjain to becoming a PGP student at IIM Udaipur.
"I suffered from a brain haemorrhage during 4th phase of an ongoing operation. This dreadful misfortune left me devoid of my abilities of speech and almost immobile and made me temporarily paralytic."
Ankit Gupta had one goal in mind - to pursue an MBA from an elite B-school. As he planned to work towards his goal, tragedy struck - Ankit suffered a brain haemorrage that left him temporarily paralysed. Undergoing severe mental stress due to factors apart from his health, Ankit managed to gather the motivation to overcome challenges and ultimately fulfilled his dream of getting into an IIM, and becoming one of India's most employable MBA graduates. Read his story in this morale-boosting article!
"My family never approved of me attending an English medium school and wanted me to pursue my studies in the village school. They just wanted me to get married as soon as I turned 18."
Sancheeta Sankalini Pradhan is a dancer, a topper, and an alumna of IIM Calcutta. But none of this came easy to her. Hailing from a small village in Odisha, Sancheeta had to go against her family's wishes to get educated in an English-medium school, break stereotypes, and pursue management education from one of the world's top B-schools. Read Sancheeta's story in this post, and the impact her mother has had on her life!
"Everything came crashing down when my grandmother suffered a brain stroke and was admitted to the ICU. CAT seemed too futile. I could barely concentrate on studies anymore!"
After rejecting SPJIMR and IIM Indore, Chirag Tibrewal decided to give CAT another shot and become a part of the 99+%ile club. He left his job to prepare for CAT, and was ready to give it his all. But life had something else in store for him. After various family tragedies, he was left unnerved. Despite all the odds that were against him, Chirag managed to remain undeterred and managed to get admission to IIM Ahmedabad. Read his story in this post!
"I had not gone unconscious and was screaming for help. I was taken to the hospital. It was a life and death situation and the ER doctors really worked hard to save my life."
At the age of 14, Shwet met with an accident that changed her life forever and shattered her dreams of becoming a Bharatnatyam dancer. Paralysed from the waist down, she knew that moving forward, life would be tough for her. But instead of letting this misfortune demolish her dream, Shwet decided to fight negtivity and depression and made it to one of the finest management institutes of the country. Read her inspiration story in this post!
"When I was on the verge of losing everything, all I wanted was the capacity to do the regular stuff like using the washroom by myself."
At a young age, Nitesh Pasari had a spinal cord injury that restricted him to a wheelchair. But instead of treating this as an impairment, Nitesh used this as motivation to excel in life; so much so, that he landed a job with Goldman Sachs and DBS! Nitesh's story will leave you inspired and will most definitely drive you to overcome life's obstacles and reach new heights!
"Someone who was considered as destined to fail due to the severity of problems is now pursuing excellence just because my family refused to bow down."
Lakhan Menghani was born with severe visual impairment, and faced many obstacles and rejections in his life due to this unfortunate handicap. However, possessing grit and business acumen from a young age, he got out of his comfort zone and helped his father with his business, became an IT professional, worked with one of the world's largest brands, and managed to make it to an IIM. Here's how he did it.
"After watching my father lose his battle with cancer, I never thought I'd have to face those demons myself."
As a college student, Shyamala Iyer was determined to crack entrance exams and get admission to top MBA institutes. However, her plan was disrupted when she was diagnosed with tumours in her breasts. Having already lost her father to cancer, Shyamala was now faced with the same predicament. But the disease could not defeat her. Shyamala not only cracked SNAP, but also got admission to SIBM Pune - one of India's premier management institutes. Watch her inspirational story in this post!
At the age of 5, Reema Raykar was diagnosed with arthritis. With immense pain and constant clinical observation, she spent most of her life taking medical support. Often dejected by her fate, Reema found strength in her parents and determined to go ahead in life, no matter what! Beating all odds, she fulfilled her dream of getting into a B-School and pursue the career she wanted for herself!
"Our school did not have any lifts or ramps, and they shifted my class to the ground floor. I spent all my schooling in just one classroom."
We met Chitra on a rainy day at IIM Indore. Her journey from studying in a single classroom in Jammu, to rejecting top schools of DU because of logistical problems and her current life at IIM-I is truly inspiring. Her love for animals and someday pioneering change in the Indian healthcare sector is what keeps her motivated along with the people in her life who believe in her!
"You see, my story is a little emotional. But I didn’t want to show it that way. It should not look begging for sympathy. It was really crucial for me. I didn’t want to convey the message that since I cannot see, that is why please take me."
Ritesh Agarwal, born in Guwahati, was filled with anxiety when he first came to Calcutta to pursue his MBA. In this article, Ritesh takes us through the various challenges he faced/expected to face at IIM Calcutta as a visually impaired student, and how his life has changed as a PGP student at one of the world's most elite business schools.
"I thought I was meant to go to a premier college, and I was dead wrong, and I still remember the night the results came and I didn’t make it to any of the colleges I wished for. That entire night, I cried, with my mother’s words, “What will I tell the neighbours?” "
Here is how the author describes himself - "I am Durga Madhab Satapathy. Just another average GEM from Odisha who never gave up on his MBA dreams." Having faced many obstacles and rejection in his life, Durga Satapathy considered himself to be mediocre. Having been struck with a family tragedy, it became immensely challenging for him to focus on preparing for MBA entrance exams and get into a good B-school. Despite all odds, Durga managed to convert some of India's top B-schools, and ends his story with some inspirational words for MBA aspirants. Take a look!
Ami Ukey was 8 months pregnant when she sat for her GD/PI round at TATA Institute of Social Sciences, and it was then that she fell in love with TISS. She was at home with her 10-day old son when she got a call confirming her seat at the institute. Ami was surprised but certainly worried about how she would be able to leave her son behind to attend college.
This is Ami Ukey’s journey – from being a mother to a student at TISS. Here’s her take on the challenging yet exciting life as a TISS student and what she thinks the future holds for her and her son.
"My mother had set 3 targets in her last days - I should go an pursue an MBA from a good B-school, finding a suitable groom for my sister, and good education for my brother."
Harsh Sinha had to make a tough choice between taking care of his ailing mother and joining his dream B-School. Life is not always fair and is full of challenges. This IIM Lucknow management student has gone through a lot of them in life and is keep pushing the boundaries every passing day!
"For any kid, the saddest moment is to see his father break down. After arranging money for admissions, my dad fell short of 200 rupees to travel from my village to Chennai right before the admissions night. He cried that day, blaming his inability to support me for my studies."
Not everyone makes it to a B-school in the first CAT attempt, and Agni Udhayan was one such candidate who attempted CAT many times before achieving success. In this post, he tells his story of making it to a premier IIM, dealing with a severe inferiority complex and coming from an impecunious background. This is one of the most viewed stories on InsideIIM.com, and has left thousands inspired. Take a look!
Getting into a b-school can seem like a struggle in itself. It’s even more challenging when all the odds are against you. In the face of adversity, it matters what you do to overcome it. Where you start doesn’t determine where you will end up being. It’s all about what you do to be where you want to be. Isn’t that why such stories are inspiring? Here’s a motivating story of Bhimsingh Rajpurohit, a JBIMS student, who comes from a small town of Rajasthan, youngest of the six siblings and the only one not only in his family but in his town to be this educated!
"The issue of depression got confirmed when I started giving blank sheets in my examinations, despite attending all the classes and sitting for hours at a stretch in the examination hall."
It is a misconception that those from premier colleges have it easy, and the author of this motivational article took it upon himself to dispel such myths. Hailing from an elite engineering college and an alumna/alumnus of a top B-school, the author went through a bout of depression that left them mentally exhausted. In this brilliant article, the author delineates how one can deal with and overcome depression even when the future seems bleak and forlorn.
"I lay in one of the corner side beds in the general ward looking at my parents engaged in a conversation with the surgeon. “We have tried our best, now you people should be ready for any eventuality”."
Sometimes, life can throw a curve-ball that can disrupt any plans that we might have to achieve success. At a young age, Suhail Kautub was dealt a blow when he was diagnosed with cancer. After going through unbearable chemotherapy cycles, Suhail survived the disease and started his "second life". From not knowing if he would survive to getting into one of India's elite management institutes, Suhail's journey to XLRI is guaranteed to leave you with tears in your eyes and a smile on your face!
"I spent hours crying before my mother, pouring it all out. The medication was not helping at all. It was, in fact, worsening the situation. I felt dizzy for the most part of the day."
Dealing with anxiety and depression can be an arduous and enervating experience. While many suppress their feelings and succumb to their depression, this anonymous author decided to come out of it. The author has faced rejection and disappointments, but never gave up hope, despite many failures. Ultimately, their perseverance prevailed and they made it to XLRI. In this article, eead this extremely detailed account of the author's struggles on their journey to an elite B-school!
We hope that these inspirational and thought-provoking stories left y0u with a smile, and we certainly hope that you are now driven, more than ever, to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. You can read more such stories here.