UAE: In another interview on the 360 degrees live show hosted by Transcontinental Times, Dubai based Indian civil engineer Suryakant Wagh joins the conversation with Transcontinental Times’ CEO Roshan Bhondekar.
Wagh talks about his journey – wading through all that life threw at him, whilst in the becoming of an icon to the aspiring likeminded.
Wagh begins from the scratch, “I belong to the lower-middle class — farmer background. My parents were farmers, I did my schooling at a government school in Malegoan, Mulshi Taluka. Back then, there were engineers working on a construction dam activity in Mulshi, who we addressed as ‘saheb,’ I think that is what triggered me — saheb in Marathi is a heavy word and carries a lot of respect. At that point, I knew that I wanted to be a saheb too, so I chose to be an engineer. The real struggle began after that. I took admission to Polytechnic College, Pune for my diploma. Running the show was not easy, my father expired when I was in 12th standard, and to meet the expenses of engineering diploma I did part-time jobs and managed to financially get through. I secured 15th rank in the state of Maharashtra, which was a big achievement for me. My friends then pushed me for full-time engineering. Again, for that, I knew money would be a problem, but I am grateful for the trust that sponsored my engineering, so I would like to use this platform to thank them.”
When one does something different, society always has something to call them out for, how did you deal with that?
“When you do something out of the box, people always have an opinion about that and may say negative things. I have one thing to say — your goal and aim should be high and clear, once you know where you have to go, what people say shouldn’t matter. So the key is to accept criticism positively and focus on your destination.”
Academics vs talents
Wagh thinks that getting good grades is important and a bonus, however, management and leadership skills are something you need to weave within yourself, something that grades cannot define. “A good leader will always survive, in terms of business and corporate. You may have enough bookish knowledge, but what if you cannot handle a team? So communication, team management, and leadership are highly important. I think in this digital era, being technically equipped, and having presentation skills are necessary to survive in the corporate world today,” said the civil engineer.
Defying the stereotype of engineering
“Many people think that engineers end up jobless or with little salary. An engineer can have a salary of INR 10,000 or 1 cr, so that depends on how you develop yourself. Be it arts, commerce or engineering, give your best, and definitely, you’ll get the best from your field.”
Comparison in society, thoughts on success
“I always say that the only person you have to compare with is yourself. Think of yourself in 2020, and now in 2021, how have you developed and what have you achieved. Don’t compare with anybody else.”
“Success is a combination of hard work and patience. If you are very talented, success will not automatically come to you. Be consistent and focused on your goals, know how to develop yourself.”
If you were to be a billionaire, then how would you support society?
“It all depends on your upbringing, so it cannot be overlooked that if I were to become a billionaire, then I am a farmer’s son who became a billionaire, so I automatically know the value of money and hard work. So definitely I would support people to grow who have a background like mine with such a big amount of money.”
Last message to aspiring engineers
“My message to everyone, especially those from rural areas — don’t be scared of anyone or anything. From my personal experience, it was intimidating to move to a city and see their polished lives, so I would like to say to the lesser-privileged that it is your hard work and determination that matters. Such people know what it’s like to struggle so definitely they will become successful. Aim high and focus on your goals.”