All MBA-aspirants in India dream of clearing the prestigious CAT (Common Admission Test) with a top percentile and gaining admission to one of the IIMs in India. In such a scenario, it would be hard-pressed to find individuals like Shashank Chorge who managed to get calls from not one, but two IIMs- IIMC and IIML, but left the institute to pursue his passion for Mathematics.
After he completed his engineering from Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, Mumbai university in 2010, he decided to work as a quantitative aptitude faculty in Career Launcher, one of the prominent coaching classes in Mumbai, as he realized that he had an inherent aptitude for Mathematics.
"I really enjoyed teaching, but realized that there was limited opportunity for growth. So I decided I would pursue an MBA, and of course my first choice was CAT.", Shashank says.
He managed to score 99 percentile in his first attempt itself. In spite of this, he did not get admission in any of the IIMs.
He says that it was during this time that he delved deeper into the world of Mathematics and wrote two papers in Number Theory. But he was still skeptical about a full-blown career in the field of Mathematics. So he attempted the CAT once again.
This time he managed to score a whooping 99.9 percentile and was among the top 20 CAT toppers in India that year. He got into both IIMC and IIML. Even though, deep down, he knew that an MBA was not for him, he decided to join IIMC.
"I knew that I am a kind of person, more suited for pure sciences, especially pure maths. But back then IIMC seemed like the perfect option.", Shashank recalls.
He joined IIMC and within two days, he realized with absolute conviction that Mathematics was what he was meant to do. Even though a lot was at stake, he managed to quit IIM, with the support of his friends.
He then started preparations for GRE and simultaneously continued his studies in core Mathematics, which is a lot different from aptitude Mathematics. He was apprehensive about getting into a good Mathematics college, as he was from an engineering background and everything he knew was self-taught.
But all's well that ends well. His hard work finally paid off and he got admission for Ph.D in a prestigious Mathematics institute in Chennai, based on a written test. He also managed to secure an admit in an equally good college in the US. He has also published his papers in international journals.
"I think that each of us has some passion in us, which we can pursue as a profession. We just need to get rid of the herd mentality. If I am able to inspire even a single person to follow his or her passion, that would be great", he concludes.