From struggling to have one meal a day to becoming a CEO: Meet CA Nitin Jain, who did not find success on a silver platter
- Hi, I am Nitin Jain, a Chartered Accountant and the CEO of Welspun Global Services Limited.
- Growing up in an impoverished family in Meerut, I did not envision myself as a CA or even a CEO.
- My father tried his best to make ends meet by selling utensils. We were hanging by a thread and could afford barely one frugal meal a day but the spirit of achieving great things was ingrained within me from the very beginning.
- Here is my story of how I pursued CA against all odds and how it changed the course of my career.
Humble Beginnings and deciding to pursue Chartered Accountancy
My father was a shopkeeper who used to sell utensils to make ends meet and I used to accompany him to the flea market (Sukar Bazar) to sell them. It’s still etched in my mind how we never had enough food to eat and could only afford one meal a day, around 5 PM, since it covered both lunch and dinner.
Despite our lower socioeconomic status, my parents have been supportive and encouraged me to complete my education.
So, I completed my schooling at a government Hindi medium school where the school fees were INR 4.70. Today, this amount counts for nothing but at that time, my family struggled even to pay that small amount.
Hailing from such family conditions, I was adamant to strive harder so that I did not have to scrape through life. I knew education was the only way forward.
After high school, I went on to pursue B.Com and later decided to become a Chartered Accountant.
Why CA? One of my cousins had qualified as a CA but took a longer period of time to pass the exams. So, I took it as a challenge and decided that I must complete CA on the first attempt. Don't judge me I was just 18 years old and wanted to prove myself!
Although my parents had some untold expectations about me earning and contributing toward the family at the earliest, they never expressed their thoughts. So, when I chose CA, they supported me in my decision.
When it came to the fees of the CA course, my mentor, Ratan Lal Jain, helped me pay the fees of INR 4000-Rs. 5000, and with his blessings I started my CA journey.
Managing studies with limited resources and facing challenges in my CA journey
My CA journey was one of the toughest phases of my life.
I remember those times when I had to study under streetlights since we didn’t have the money to pay the electricity bills. Moreover, I didn’t even have any money to pay for the books.
Since I did my education in Hindi medium, I struggled with some of the subjects and had to take tuitions. My mother even sold her jewelry and whatever property we had to make sure that I could continue my CA studies.
My parents were really supportive and helped me in every possible way they could. In fact, only when I started my CA articles and was receiving a stipend of Rs. 600 which was my first ever earning, I started contributing to the family in some way.
Fast forward to 2003, at the age of 23, I qualified as a CA which was one of the most gratifying moments of my life.
After succumbing to the harsh realities, I am proud of myself for not losing the hope and drive to push harder.
Progressing in my career and eventually becoming a CEO
After qualifying as a CA, I started my corporate journey in 2003 with a company named, Sharada Exports as an Internal Auditor/Accounts Executive. Within 2-3 months of working there, I started receiving a lot of positive appreciation and feedback from the promoters.
Although I had exceeded my own expectations and was doing great, I realized that I wanted to do something better.
After a brief discussion with the co-founder, he suggested that I move out of Meerut to find better opportunities. Also, my Guru, Ratan Lal Jain, shared similar thoughts and advised me that if I wanted to grow, I would have to move out of Meerut and possibly work at an MNC.
I was in a fix as I had never traveled out of Meerut, and leaving behind my family to progress in my career was a big decision for me, especially since they had dedicated their tireless efforts and support towards my career. But in 2005, I made the difficult choice and moved to Delhi NCR and joined an MNC called Delphi Automotive Systems as an Assistant Manager (Finance).
Fast forward to 2008, I moved to another MNC, CNH Industrial where I worked for 12 years in various roles such as Commercial Controller, Payable Controller, Shared Services Controller, IT Project Manager and also handled several special projects s
There on, I kept moving ahead and continued to fulfill the corporate goals that I had charted out for myself.
Finally, in 2019, I moved to Gujarat where I joined Welspun Group as the Head of Shared Services and gradually grew in my role and eventually became the CEO of the company in April 2021.
My humble childhood allowed me to connect better to my roots and to this day I believe that whatever I am it’s all because of the hardships that I faced early in my life. If I had not gone through the adversities and difficulties, I would not have been pressing about my goals. To improve my situation, I needed to give my best in every aspect of my life.
And, now that I am well off in my career, I could finally repay my parents for all the hardships they endured to make sure I could achieve my career goals.
My message to those who are struggling to become Chartered Accountants would be that don’t study just to clear the exams. It is important to assess the practical aspect of whatever you’re studying.
A few things that my parents taught me were dedication, hard work, and innovative thinking. My father always stressed the importance of identifying the root cause of a problem and giving my best work wherever possible, no matter how small the chore is. I have always stayed true to his teaching and it has certainly taken me a long way in life.
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