Making a career switch when you have a degree or experience in something completely different is a difficult and scary decision. But it’s often worth the risk because when you work on something you care about, you reap returns in more than just money.
So if you need the inspiration to make that big leap, here are five Indians who made a career switch and killed it in their new roles!
Soha Ali Khan
With Hindi cinema legend Sharmila Tagore as her mother and brother Saif already in the film industry, you would expect acting to have been the obvious choice for Soha Ali Khan.
But, in fact, Soha worked for several years in the corporate world before she entered the film industry. She studied Modern History, International Relations, and Politics, in her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Oxford and London School of Economics.
Soha used to work as a programme associate at Ford Foundation, and later as a private banker with Citigroup where she managed investment portfolios for High Networth Individuals. It was only at 25 that she decided her heart was not in banking and gave acting a shot.
Before the Pretentious Movie Reviews, the Amazon Prime comedy special, and the many web series, Kanan Gill was a regular software engineer, writing code for a firm in Bengaluru.
In fact, you could look up his LinkedIn profile right now and see that it still says software professional for Exeter Group.
But that’s okay because with his YouTube fame and acting in movies, Kanan probably doesn’t need LinkedIn references anymore!
This 28-year-old is quite the polymath. Medicine, he says, is his first love but by the time he turned 26, Ritesh was a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with investments in 26 startups across sectors.
His interest in startups and entrepreneurship sparked early and he even took a few courses on related topics while doing his MBBS from Dr MGR Medical College in Tamil Nadu. The Augmented Reality application ‘Alive’ of the Times of India group was, in fact, acquired from the company Ritesh started in his final year in college.
He has been named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2016 and is now known for his recent venture, Innov8, a co-working space in Delhi.
Many of us have witnessed on television the transformation of Pankaj Bhadouria from a school teacher to the first winner of Masterchef India. The career change for Pankaj came very late in life when she had already been working for 16 years as a teacher.
She had developed an interest in cooking as a child so when she saw the audition call for Masterchef India, Pankaj leaped at the opportunity.
Today, Pankaj is an acclaimed chef and a food writer with several cookbooks and shows to her credit. In a way, she has gone back to teaching with the Pankaj Bhadouria Culinary Academy which she started in Lucknow in 2012.
Shankar Mahadevan leaves us ‘Breathless’ with his melodies but our playlists would’ve been poorer if he had continued his work as a software professional.
After completing his degree in computer science engineering, Shankar had landed a job in software. Music had been a constant for him growing up so he tried to continue working on side projects even as an IT professional. Eventually, he quit the job to focus entirely on music and we couldn’t be more thankful for this.