Achieving any goal is rarely a straight path. Behind every triumphant win is a series of obstacles, rejections and, most importantly, lessons learned. Today we’ll hear from Sakshi Rambhia, former APM at Google and founder of Scholarship Track, about how she turned failure into success. Especially in the early stages, when the goal seems so far away, it will be tempting to give up. But as Sakshi will show us, it’s important to remember that every “failure” brings an opportunity to learn. Although things may not go according to plan, continuous striving and self-improvement are bound to produce results.
Being a young professional in today’s world comes with its own set of challenges. High tuition prices, job requirements, and the current recession can all put recent graduates at a disadvantage when it comes to starting a career in tech. Sakshi will also share some advice on how to keep going when times are hard and the rewards that consistent effort will bring.
Thanks so much for speaking with us, Sakshi. Your story is fascinating and you have a lot of insights for young professionals. We’re excited to hear about your experience of creating your own success, the importance of scholarships, and how the tech industry can uplift communities.
You write that you went from over 300 rejections to working at Google, Microsoft, and Tesla in the same year. A lot of people might get discouraged by so much rejection. What kept you moving forward?
The key tip to keep going forward is mindset. I believed I would eventually make it, whatever it took.
I won’t lie, I faced my fair share of mental health challenges after receiving so many rejections. There were times when I would cry into my pillow and want to give up completely. But then I would take a day’s break and get right back on. The key tip to keep going forward is mindset. I believed I would eventually make it, whatever it took. I kept making notes and improving on my mistakes.
Mindset is so important. On that note, you share tips for college students and recent graduates based on your successes but also on your failures. In your opinion, what is the importance of failure and how can failure be turned into future success?
Failure makes you wiser and stronger. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it.
Failure makes success feel sweeter than it would feel otherwise. I still remember the moment I got my first yes — I cried out of joy this time. Failure makes you wiser and stronger. It is only a failure if you don’t learn from it. Failure can turn into success if you learn from your mistakes and do better.
That’s very wise, Sakshi. You’ve definitely taken the challenges you’ve faced as opportunities to change the world around you. In 2020, you founded Scholarship Track, the world’s largest source of information on scholarships and opportunities for students. What inspired you to start Scholarship Track?
I had no idea how I was going to pay my following semester’s fees. I had drained my savings and on-campus employment income. However, I actively kept applying for scholarships. I was fortunate to receive Google’s scholarship that paid off my next semester in full. I also received AnitaB.org’s scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference. For two years, I had been scrolling on LinkedIn to read others’ achievement posts. This was finally my moment to post a win. As soon I did, I was flooded with messages from other students in the same boat as me. Having been in their shoes, I knew what scholarships could do for students’ lives and so I decided to make them more accessible.
It’s great that you chose to uplift other students. In fact, a lot of your work centers around community, both locally and globally. In your opinion, how can tech companies help build stronger communities?
I see a lot of communities building up hype and then it dies down. The efforts have to remain consistent.
In my experience, a community’s worth lies in the value it provides. Strong communities have strong resources and engagement. Tech companies can help build stronger communities by providing value to their audience – this could be free courses, workshops, support, etc. I see a lot of communities building up hype and then it dies down. The efforts have to remain consistent. After all, it’s all about incentive. Why should a person be a part of your community if they have nothing to give or gain?
Going back to students, if you could give recent college graduates one piece of advice, what would it be?
Most of the students give up because they don’t believe in themselves enough. Consistent efforts will definitely generate results.
I’d like to end on a more personal note. You recently published a piece about your dream of studying in America as a child in Mumbai and the challenges you faced to get there. If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
We made it!
Don’t stress more than necessary. Spend more time with family and friends and doing things you enjoy instead of trying to grow up too fast.
Thanks so much, Saskhi. Hopefully these words of wisdom will inspire others in your position to believe in themselves and keep moving towards their goals.