by Pramod Mishra 27 August 2020

A Business While Still Studying For CPA / CA

How CA Happened
I scored well in my 10th standard and I got an opportunity to join Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics.   While in my 11 and 12 standards I had a very different approach. Rather than just focussing on studies and classes I enrolled myself in various sports activities to keep myself engaged.   I learned Lawn Tennis and played at the club level.   I also have the opportunity to get trained for Air Pistol Shooting under Mr.Ronak Pandit (He is a Gold winner at the Common Wealth Games). Acknowledging him and his journey has been such an inspiration for me.   I was selected as a Joint Secretary of the Planning Forum of NM College. This was really a great experience. It gave me an opportunity to attend events, visitor lectures, mock stock exchange simulators & a lot more.   Later on, I was also conferred as the Best Organiser in 2012 by Planning Forum of NM College for the contribution I made to make things successful.   While in class 12 a lot of my friends and classmates were studying to be Chartered Accountants.   Knowing that CA is difficult to clear and more of a distance education unlike MBA which is school-based, I was reluctant to pursue CA.   Somehow, I registered for CPT (1st level CA exam from the ICAI) but changed my mind at the last moment and jumped to give BBA entrance exams PAN India.   Luckily I got within one of the best colleges in India for my BBA. However, I decided to continue at NM College and complete my graduation from there itself.   So, I chose NM College above the other business school I got.   By then I was through CPT and to continue with IPCC was a natural decision (IPCC is 2nd level CA exam from ICAI. IPCC has 2 groups – Group 1 and Group 2)

Journey in Degree College & IPCC

My journey in degree college (class 13, 14, and 15) was amazing.   With a background of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) at school, joining the National Service Scheme (NSS) at college was obvious.   NCC focused more on physical strength and rigorous training whereas NSS was totally opposite.   It was bent towards hardcore social service which includes conducting Blood Donation Drives, Voter ID registration camps, Beach Cleanups, Village Adoptions, and a lot more in a two-year program.   During my ownership in NSS, a sense of responsibility towards people and the environment came in.   I also got the opportunity to manage a few of the events. The feeling of satisfaction was amazing.   I became oral about the issues, participated in discussions, debates in college. further, I took a step and started scribbling on local and government issues.   One of my articles got so published in the magazine “One India, One People”.   Another contribution was to write an article for the college magazine in their Golden Jubilee Year Celebrations. I was awarded a Special Prize for Writing that year.   Things didn’t stop there.   It was time to look in, for the problems occurring in my own house i.e. my college.   it was real issues and the solution was – The Students Council.   I got chosen as a Council Member of The Students Council, NM College, and addressed a few problems throughout my tenure.     Fortunately, in my next attempt, I cleared my CA IPCC exams.   After my CA IPCC exams, I was almost free and decided to begin my college contingent for several college fests.   I became the Asst. Contingent Leader for my college for two of the best college fests of Mumbai, Malhar i.e. the Annual Fest of St.Xavier’s College and Kshitij i.e. the Annual Fest of Mithibai College.   our motto was to win all the events our team participated in.

First Entrepreneurship Attempt 
Does the start-up idea get considered in the college cafeteria? Yes!   It happened during my final year in college when I was sitting with 2 of my friends in the canteen.   Our idea was to arrange adventurous trips and sports for college students & corporates. Yes, we did it.   We named it ‘YouthKonnect’ and we conducted activities like waterfall rappelling, scuba diving, river rafting, trekking, etc.   We remained operational for a year and planned a lot of tours and events.   It was quite challenging and taught us personality management skills to a large extent.   College was over by then.   Since we belonged to different programs and were no longer going to be in constant touch, we decided that each one will handle an independent area of the start-up.

Secondary Entrepreneurship Attempt
Soon after YouthKonnect, I established another venture named ‘Kolad Rafters ‘which entirely focused on Kolad, one of the best places for River Rafting in Maharashtra.   The business was completely driven through a website that I formed.   I made good customers Hamleys and KPMG being the best ones for their corporate wants.   Rafting takes place around the year at Kolad as it is a Dam controlled river, but the best time to visit is during the monsoons when the Dam is full.   This made it a seasonal business largely and I decided to resume only in the next season.   But yes, a good deal of social media marketing & client management was something that I learned out of it.

Third Entrepreneurship Attempt
One day I fell to visit a food outlet in Irla (busy shopping street in Mumbai) and saw something very interesting. It was fried rolled potato on a stick with various sauces over it!   I decided to start one of these on my own.   Within a month I placed up my own food outlet called “Potato Twisto” in one of the busiest shopping roads in Lokhandwala (Andheri, Mumbai).   The response was fabulous because I took the first-mover advantage in this innovative food segment in Mumbai.   Soon after that, I got it listed my potato twisto on Zomato which attracted a lot of freelancing food bloggers to come down and spread my story. It was a hit!   I fed individual customers as well as attended large scale events.   From table management, team handling, quality control to promoting, everything was a challenge.   Sometimes it used to get a few difficult to manage everything since I had my articleship and CA Final classes as well to manage. But I kept going.   After almost the potato twisto was operated for a year, and then I realized that it was time I focus on my CA Final exams.   Just 6 months before my CA Final exams I took a conscious decision to wind up everything and focus only on my CA Final exams.

CA Final Journey
Finally, I got a study leave from my CA firm in the last week of December.   I put everything I had with one single aim – clearing my CA Final in the first attempt.   Four months were difficult I must say. It tests a lot and everything that you are capable of.   also, I missed classes due to my past activities but anyhow I managed.   Hard work paid off when the results were declared – I cleared in my CA Final exams in the 1st attempt in May’18!   The feeling was amazing.   So far my journey has been amazing because of my most supportive family and super talented friends.   So what now? I will choose a profession in Capital Markets- Research, Advisory & Wealth.   I am also a CFA and FRM aspirant.

In Conclusion…
I am always proactive and I see failure, genuinely, only when I have failed in my own eyes and not how others term failure. This is because everyone has different plans, dreams, visions, interests.   You will not be praised by everyone for something you do.