How a little discipline can get you to Harvard?

A couple of days ago I got a call out of the blue from Dr Htet Sein, a former PhD student of mine inviting me to dinner.  We dined at Lahori Restaurant in Rusholme, Manchester, famously known as the “Curry Mile”.  Htet is always great company and the food was fantastic.

During dinner Htet told me about one of his friends Dr Raj (not real name to protect identity) who grew up in a tiny village in India. Raj had a burning ambition to be a doctor. He came from a poor family but studied hard and his parents borrowed money from family, friends and relatives to fulfil their son’s dream. They didn’t know how they would pay the loans back but had faith in their son. When Raj qualified they would be able to repay the favours. Raj worked in numerous odd jobs in the evenings and weekends to pay from his maintenance during medical school and late nights despite fatigue and exhaustion, he studied. He focused on a glorious future.

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings” Salvador Dali

With a burning desire and persistence Raj made his parents proud by graduating in the top half of his class as a doctor.  In India a doctor’s pay was not great and Raj had lofty ambitions. He decided to emigrate. USA, Australia or UK seemed like good options. He scraped together his savings to pay for paperwork, visa, tickets and living. He sent dozens of applications and despite a good academic record he kept getting rejections.

After years of trying he made it to UK and started working in Manchester and doing as much overtime as he could get.  Raj wanted to be a consultant and did numerous examinations and mustered as much experience as he could.  In his spare time he worked on improving himself, studying, learning about business and looking for opportunities.

“Have you had a failure or rejection? You could get bitter. That’s one way to deal with it. Or…you could just get BETTER. What do you think?” Destiny Booze

Raj routine consisted of working on himself, his studies and developed his skills for 5 hours a day on top of his normal job. He learnt about computers, business and how to create websites. He also started an on-line business importing and selling kitchen and bathroom tiles making a handsome profit.

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success” Nepolean Hill

After numerous rejections Raj was told informally that he was too old to be consultant and he would never make it. He was devastated but persisted to pursue his dream. Htet told me that Raj had secured a place to go to Harvard to study for an MBA. The cost doing an MBA at Harvard is over $100,000 per year. Due to his success in business funding the MBA should be fine. Who would bet against him securing a top job as a medical director in the USA running a hospital having consultants working for him instead of being rejected by them?

“Work hard at your job and you make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.” Jim Rohn


11 responses

  1. very inspirational Prof Ahmed

    1. Prof Waqar Ahmed | Reply

      Karthik, your story is also inspirational. Perhaps you can share it with our readers

  2. Professor James Uhomoibhi | Reply

    This is inspiring and leaves a lot of truths as food for thoughts. The path may not be smooth or straight but the end results will be one of success! All those with ears to hear, let them hear. All those with eyes to see, let them see.

    1. Prof Waqar Ahmed | Reply

      True, if you use the talents you have will have more but if you don’t what you have will be taken away just as you lose muscles if you don’t use them or exercise.

  3. BUT did this Raj have a life???? Was becoming a medical director his greatest ambition??? Really???

    1. Prof Waqar Ahmed | Reply

      Real happiness comes from growing and contributing to a cause bigger than ourself

  4. Excellent article, lovely Prof. Ahmed. It inspired me lot to look for a better opportunity and enjoy what I am doing.

    1. Prof Waqar Ahmed | Reply

      The surest way to succeed is to do what you love and then it doesn’t seem like work. Its fun and games.

  5. Really great

  6. working hard lead you to


    1. Prof Waqar Ahmed | Reply

      Intense focus and application leads to an improved reality. What do you think?

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