Devam Saxena is a marine engineer, a teacher, an MBA student from IIM-Calcutta and a budding entrepreneur. Hailing from Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh, Devam has done his engineering from MERI(Marine Engineering Research Institute) Kolkata. He is currently studying in Kolkata from where he is doing his MBA. His life is an inspiration of how a person can tread a path of his own by continuously introspecting what he wants out of his life and finally, finding means to achieve the same.
Tell us something about your background and your family.
Devam Saxena: I was born in a middle-class family, rather a lower middle class family, in Lucknow. Progress has always been an essential part of my family’s lifestyle. So, I never had to learn the importance of progress in life.
It seems your journey from a marine engineer to an MBA student to a budding entrepreneur is driven by self-motivation. Can you provide us with a glimpse of your journey till now?
DS: It all started in 2009, when I decided to leave Marine Engineering and switch to something else. I studied in Lucknow with science stream and then entered marine engineering. But by the end of it, I had already decided that I had to leave engineering and get into MBA as I thought that that will provide me with much wider horizons. So, in 2010, I took CAT (Common Admission Test). While waiting for the results, I felt that I was wasting time. That was when I decided to work on something of my own.
So, how a shift from a marine engineer to a faculty at T.I.M.E to an organization of your own and then an MBA?
DS: First of all, I’d like to correct the order. It is marine engineer to MBA aspirant, to my organization, to faculty at T.I.M.E. and then to MBA. So, as I was waiting for CAT results, I decided to work on something of my own. After pondering a little over the problems I faced as a student, I decided that I’ll create a model which will help the school students in their decision-making process by making them aware of the career options they have. For this, I approached my fellow aspirants and we worked on it for two months in Kolkata. And then, we moved to our respective hometowns. In my hometown, I joined T.I.M.E. which gave me further opportunity to interact with students. Looking at their need for awareness, we decided to reunite after our respective MBAs and continue with our organization.
Would you be sitting for the placements? And what’s the long term aim of your life? What do you want to do finally?
DS: Yes. As of now, I am planning to sit for the placements, but would be working on my organization side-by-side. Finally, I wish to return to my organization and work in the education sector.
So when did this idea of entrepreneurship or having an organization of your own came to your mind?
DS: It happened when I had completed my engineering and had some time to rethink my goals and aims. Reflecting back on my past experiences, I found out that the school students need a little more clarity and awareness in order to take proper decisions. But, someone had to take an initiative for that. I decided to take the initiative and utilize the time. Gradually, the work I did, started turning into passion and I decided to continue with it after pursuing MBA and knowing the insights of business.
Where do you see yourself a few years down the line?
DS: Few years down the line, I see myself working with a prestigious organization, learning from my work and simultaneously creating a pitch for my organization.
What are the major hurdles that you see?
DS: Raising capital would be a major hurdle. But once the organization gets established, there won’t be many hurdles.
Who is your inspiration?
DS: Definitely, my mother. Whatever I am today is only because of her. I can’t remember even a single moment when she had to teach me what is good and what is bad. Her actions were enough to teach me how to be confident about the decisions I take.
A message you would like to convey to the aspiring youth?
DS: This is awkward. Have I grown old? (Laughs). Anyways, for my aspiring friends, I would only say that believe in your dreams and follow them religiously because no one can stop us from achieving what we really want.