Campus Placement: Failure is a new Opportunity

Failure is not final or fatal. It gives you a chance to strategies things even better and provides you with the courage to achieve your target. After giving umpteen interviews, GD and aptitude tests, Samarth Chhabra finally got placed with Kantar GDC, Pune, as Project Manager Analyst. He overcame several hurdles before getting his dream job. Corporate Citizen finds out more

His ‘never give up attitude’ is contagious. He lives his life by his rules and makes sure to enjoy each and every moment. Never a dull moment in his journey, Samarth Chhabra makes the most of every situation. Be it the education course he chooses, the strategy he plots to achieve his dream job or the way he maneuvers his moves for a 3-pointer shot in a basketball ball match, his resilience always shines in the outcome. A true Punjabi at heart, Samarth was born and raised in Ashoknagar, Madhya Pradesh (MP). However, his dreams were just not restricted to this small town. His roots are still intact, but his love for learning, a quest for knowledge and his zeal to earn a livelihood takes him places.

Samarth Chhabra enjoying with his family during his cousin’s engagement

Patience is the key

All through his school and college days, Samarth was always a studious kid. He cleared his SSC boards in flying colours from Tarasadan Senior Secondary School. To gain more exposure and to get the right kind of education, he moved to Guna, MP, to complete his further studies.

His decision to appear for the entrance exam of Chartered Accountant (CA) changed his life. Samarth’s urge and fortitude to clear the CPT and IPCC exams unknowingly taught him several virtues of life. Before appearing for the CA entrance exam, Samarth had just learnt to socialize He made several good friends who stuck with him through thick and thin. He made sure to enjoy each and every day.

However, the moment he started preparing for CPT, things changed. His life revolved only around studies and he would study for almost ten hours a day. “The goal was clear in my mind. I had to clear the CPT entrance exam. For months, the only thing on my mind was studies. I would lock myself in the room and study for hours together,” says Samarth.

His hard work bore the sweet fruits of success. Samarth cleared the entrance with good grades. Now to become a CA, he had to overcome another hurdle. The second intermediate level for CA was IPCC. Within the next couple of months, he appeared for the entrance exam. This time the exam was different, but the routine was the same. He burnt the midnight oil and studied his heart out. With that, he took nine months of rigorous coaching for the same. In 2015, he appeared for the exam. However, luck did not favour him this time. He could not clear the IPCC exam in the first attempt. But he did not lose hope. He studied even harder, made notes, read and re-read the chapters. This time, he a gritty, Samarth passed the first level of IPCC.

But, after all the hard work, hours and hours of studying and after appearing for two entrance exams, Samarth had a revelation. “My heart said, I wasn’t meant to do CA. And I went with my guts again and dropped the plan of continuing with CA,” he said. And in 2017, he took the decision of enrolling himself for MBA-International Business at SBS, Pune.

Talking about the whole shift and experience, he explains, “Yes, I gave up on CA, but that does not mean I did not learn anything. I guess the pathway to entrance exams for CA taught me the most valuable lesson - patience. And that virtue has stuck by me. I will forever be grateful for this experience.”

“I always wanted to explore the field of market research. At my current job, I am able to do that. I am quite content with my growth. With that, I hope to achieve a work-life balance and expect to achieve enough opportunities to prove my mettle”

Samarth Chhabra with his friends during a monsoon retreat

Samarth Chhabra poses with his close friends during his Panchgani trip

The placement saga

Before bagging the job his heart desired, Samarth applied to 36 companies and appeared for 23 aptitude tests, 24 personal interviews and 26 group discussions. Failure is inevitable, he knew that. But at every stage, he made sure to give his best.

He considered every failed attempt as a lesson learnt. Each interview was a new experience for him. And at the end of every challenge, he emerged as a better person. “I am quite proud of my journey so far. For a long period of my placement session, I never got the job I wanted. There were times where I cleared all the rounds but would miss the chance of getting placed by a whisker. Failure gave me the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently,” he said. Further adding, “However, I never gave up! After every failed attempt, I never got discouraged. In fact, it gave me the strength to fight harder.”

During this, he realized that he had applied several filters and had numerous expectations from the company. “I was hoping for a specific kind of package. Also, I wanted to work in the same city and was looking for a precise position that suited me,” he explains. But as time passed, he toned down his expectations. This was a game changing decision for him.

Nonetheless, the whole campus placement period was a great learning experience. “These failed attempts did not hamper my confidence or determination. After every interview, I would analyze myself and improve in the next round. Yes, luck plays a great role, but what makes the driver’s seat is your willpower. In fact, the whole process has changed my perspective on life. I have emerged the most optimistic version of myself,” he says.

Finally, his hard work paid off. On January 25, he cleared the aptitude test at Kantar GDC with flying marks. The next day, he was all geared up for the personal interview. The moment he entered the Kantar GDC arena, he knew he belonged there. And this time he knew he was going to crack the deal.

Samarth had to clear nine rounds that day. He was up for the challenge. While his peers couldn’t go past round three, Samarth was one of the few who cleared round eight. One after the other, he aced the rounds-GDs, creative tests and others.

Then came the personal interview. “I was calm during the PI. I did not pretend to be who I wasn’t. I spoke to them openly and answered every question to the point,” he quips.

After two days, while Samarth was enjoying his time off with his friends in Panchgani, he got the greatest news of life. He got a confirmation from Kantar GDC. “That was the happiest moment of my life. I still get goose bumps when I think about it.”

Work is worship

Hardly a month after getting placed with Kantar GDC, Pune, Samarth had realized that his work meant the world to him. A part of the International Project Management team, his work involves negotiating with the stockholders and managing the line of process. As a project manager analyst, he has to do thorough market research about the product and manage various teams as well. He also has to make sure that the project is delivered well within time. “I always wanted to explore the field of market research. At my current job, I am able to do that. I am quite content with my growth. With that, I hope to achieve work-life balance and expect to achieve enough opportunities to prove my mettle,” he says.

Basketball fanatic

During his schooldays, Samarth picked up the passion for playing basketball. It’s one of the sports when played at an early age helps in boosting the kid’s height and overall development. That’s what attracted Samarth to this sport. And since then, there has been no looking back. The way he maneuvers and passes the ball, the way he plots the strategies and pushes his team to win is a testament of his great judgment. So far, he has represented his school and colleges at various tournaments. He has even played for the district level events. This experience has played a catalyst in his overall growth.

By Ekta Katti