Studying in government schools in Samod and Dhaulpur,in Rajasthan he barely passed the class XII exam with just 39 %marks. When he went to touch the feet of his teachers, people scoffed and made fun of him. He lost interest in further education and started helping out his father in his factory which was running in loss. These were the gloomy circumstances in which Rajiv found himself in 1995.
Can you believe that the same Rajiv was in Denmark, Copenhagen in 2012 working as Assistant General Manager in a drilling company-Maersk! Not only that, he also earned a doctorate from a European University.
The low percentage in class XII was a barrier in getting admission in any Engineering College in Rajasthan. In desperation, he asked a bookseller for any exam where the marks of his board exam would not make him ineligible. Talking out of his head, he replied “prepare for IIT”, and also recommended some books for the same.
He had never studied English in school, and all the preparatory books for IIT were in English, so he bought a dictionary and started learning English. He also took the help of some old material of Brilliant Tutorials. In 2000 he cleared the IIT-JEE screening, but his rank was low. People used to make fun of him saying, how can a person who has barely cleared the board exam even think of going to IIT?But his parents and elder brother always supported him. His brother was seriously ill, and his mother had to sit by his bedside. While preparing for IIT JEE, Rajiv had to help his father in his business, and also do the household work like cooking and cleaning.
In 2001 he reappeared in JEE for the last time and got rank 1758, which helped him to get admission in dual degree program in Industrial Engineering and Management at IIT Kharagpur.The people who taunted him were all full of praise for him now. He got a managerial job in Force motors Pune. To enhance his qualification he did PhD from Lulea University, Sweden in just 3.5 years.
Talking about his achievements Rajiv said “We came up with a solution to a tricky problem in maintenance decision making – and this solution has helped achieve significant cost savings in the Mining industry in Sweden. We were given an award for the same by the Swedish Centre of Maintenance Management – and I have been elated by being able to use my engineering knowledge to solve problems in the real world.”
He still has his roots in his village, he says with pride, “Every year I go back to my old school back in my village and meet students there. My message to them is always that you can do anything. You just need to have confidence in yourself and the perseverance to see your potential through. Just remember – what doesn’t kill us – makes us stronger.”