DREAM FEAT – Shiva Kumar N

This week, we are featuring Shiva Kumar N who was recently featured in the Times of India. He was a newspaper vendor, working long hours for little pay. He started as a delivery boy but with his entrepreneurial spirit, he started his own distribution agency. Recently, he worked hard and received high marks on his CAT, which got him accepted into IIM-Calcutta, as a PGP Student. We wanted to speak with him about how he achieved his dreams, and what’s next for him, because he’s truly an inspiration to everyone here in the Dream:IN team, his peers, in his community, and to everyone he encounters.

DREAM:IN: Hi Shiva, thank you for speaking with us today. How long have you been selling newspapers? How old were you when you first started?
Shiva Kumar N: I have been selling newspapers for the past 11 years i.e. since 2003. I was 13 years old when I first started. I worked as a delivery boy from 2003 to 2007 and in 2007 I saw an opportunity to start an independent newspaper distribution agency. Since 2007, I have been running my own distribution agency.

DREAM:IN: How did you first get the job?
Shiva: Due to financial problems at home, I was looking for part-time jobs which could help to earn some money without stopping me from going to school. On one fine day, around 6 am, I saw a boy delivering paper in my neighbourhood. It suddenly flashed my mind that even I could start delivering papers between 4am and 6am and I’ll also be able to go to school without any issues. Then I figured out the nearby distribution centre and got a delivery job with one of the vendors there.

DREAM:IN: What was the toughest part of the job?
Shiva: I have always enjoyed whatever job I have done and never it as a burden. But it was a challenge to manage your work, as well as make sure that you don’t underperform in your academics. I started enjoying every bit of the challenge. I started setting goals, both in academics and work, and always gave my 100% to accomplish those goals. Time management and coping up with fewer hours of sleep were the few challenges.

DREAM:IN: So in 10th standard, you became an entrepreneur and started your own agency, can you tell us about it? What happened to that agency now? Is it still running?
Shiva: In 2007, I saw an opportunity to start my own newspaper distribution agency. But I had no money to invest in the venture. So I borrowed some money from my friend’s family and raised some more money through mortgaging my mother’s jewellery which was gifted to her during her marriage. Finally I started the venture in 2007 with less than 50 customers, and currently in 2014, our customer base has crossed 550. When I got admitted to IIM Calcutta, I started training my father to manage the business. Now currently he is running the agency in Bangalore. There are 5 delivery boys working under him and we are looking to grow the business after I pass out from IIM Calcutta.


DREAM:IN: That’s amazing, especially how you turned it into a family business, and employed your father as well as with how much it has scaled up. While you’re studying at IIM-Calcutta, we wish your father lots of success with the distribution agency. Can you tell us more about your experience and relationship with Krishna Veda Vyasa? Are you still in contact with him?
Shiva: When I was in 8th class, my family was facing a very bad financial situation. My school fees liability kept on increasing and we had no money to pay the fees. So I decided to approach anybody for help. But I had no friends or relatives who could help. One day at 5 am in the morning, I was delivering newspapers. One of my customers was standing near the gate waiting for the newspaper. That customer had very recently moved into that locality. I was a stranger to that customer and vice versa. During our first meeting, I figured out that he looks like an approachable person. So I approached him for help. His name was Krishna Veda Vyasa. He is funding for my education from 8th class to present. He is the only reason for me getting into IIM Calcutta. We have become good friends over the years. We chat about various topics whenever we get time. We are always in constant touch and discuss about each other’s life.

DREAM:IN: That’s really nice! You are lucky to have come across such a warm-hearted person. Do you see yourself ever dealing with newspapers again in the future?
Shiva: Yes, for sure!!! I might not work full-time in the newspaper business, but it will continue as a part-time business. I don’t want to forget my roots till the very end. It will keep running to keep us grounded, irrespective of what other lucrative ventures I start in the future. I will try to grow the business in the future and set aside the profits generated from it for helping the newspaper community. Now it’s time to give back whatever the newspaper has given to me. I would like to create a fund for helping the delivery boys/vendors/agents.

DREAM:IN: What’s your dream?
Shiva: My dream is to make my country proud in whatever I do and make it shine on the world map. I want the people around the world to look back at India through whatever work I do. I want to create Indian brands which will dominate all around the globe. And also support government in all their current and upcoming projects like Swachch Bharath/Make in India/Smart Cities etc…I want to dedicate myself for making India the best place to live in the world.

DREAM:IN: What’s your dream job?
Shiva: There is nothing called as dream job. Every job will have its own pros and cons. I want to be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur will be more satisfying than working for a MNC. I want to create Indian brands which will dominate the global markets and make India & Indians proud.

DREAM:IN: And what about your charitable dream?
Shiva: I want to touch people’s lives in every possible manner to make their life more easy and peaceful. I would start with education and let’s see how I could build on it.

DREAM:IN:What made you want to go to an IIM?
Shiva: During my 3rd year of engineering, I got placed in Wipro Technologies. And I told this happy news to my uncle (Krishna Veda Vyasa). But my uncle told me that getting a job at Wipro will not make any drastic changes to my life. Yes, it will give a standard source of income, but that will not give you the freedom to explore your dreams of helping the society. By getting into IIM, I would be able to earn more and also I will mature into a better individual. This will give me better opportunities to explore new avenues in life and you will have the financial ability to help the needy. On my uncle’s advice, I got into IIM.

DREAM:IN: What was the process of you getting in Calcutta? Why did you choose to apply to IIM Calcutta vs other IIM?
Shiva: After I decided to appear for CAT, I enrolled into a tutorial and started preparing for CAT aggressively and the results went in my favour. It was my uncle’s decision to prefer IIM Calcutta over other IIMs. He wanted me to move out of my comfort zone (Bangalore) and get the exposure of the outside world. And with due credit to all IIMs, he also told me that people who pass out of IIM Calcutta will become a CEO one day.

DREAM:IN: What has been the biggest inspiration or motivation factor on your path to IIM-C?
Shiva: My uncle has been the biggest inspiration. He is the only reason for what I am today. He has changed my life completely. So now, even I want to change other student’s lives. But that will be possible only if I’m able to get into an IIM and do well for myself in life. It all started there and half-way through. Now I need to recognize talents and nurture them into future leaders of India.

DREAM:IN: What are your favorite subjects?
Shiva: Back during my school days, mathematics was my favorite subject. At IIM Calcutta, finance has been the most challenging subject. Because it is challenging, I like finance the most even though I perform very badly. I am trying hard to learn finance and perform well. Marketing and operations are also very exciting.

DREAM:IN: What’s some of your passions and hobbies?
Shiva: I am a huge cricket fan. I follow most of the sports. I am sports person too. I play TT, Pool, Badminton & Cricket. I have very recently started reading books. The few books which I have read are “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, “Rich dad and poor dad”, “Biography of Steve Jobs”.

DREAM:IN: When times were tough, what were some of the things that kept your head up high and kept you going?
Shiva: I have never felt that I was going through a tough time. I just enjoyed my life as it was. You need to have idols in life. One of my idols is Sachin Tendulkar. Even though he is the best batsman in the world and a sincere genuine servant of the game, it took him 22 years to win the world cup for his country. This sums up everything. It is a tough world; you need to just keep fighting your way through. One fine day, the world give up looking at your determination to succeed and you win.

DREAM:IN: So what’s next for you?
Shiva: It is just the beginning. The real challenge starts from here. I need to leverage the platform that is given to me. I will work on my entrepreneurial ideas and try to create Indian brands at the earliest and make India shine at the global scale. I also want to support government in all their projects such as Swachch Bharath, Make in India etc. And also, I want to work simultaneously on helping the needy in all possible manners and touch their lives in all areas to make it a peaceful experience.

DREAM:IN: Can you give our readers some words of wisdom with regards to achieving your dreams?
Shiva: You need to stop worrying about your problems and start enjoying every process of whatever you do. Be positive in your thoughts. Dream big, believe your abilities and have hopes of a better future. I have always kept things simple. Do your best and forget the rest. Everyone is here for a purpose. Identify your purpose and start fulfilling it. Never hurt anyone. Always try to bring smile on others face. Respect your parents and everyone else. Make India proud in whatever manner possible by you. Prioritize India first and everything else next.

DREAM:IN: Thank you so much for your time and inspirational words Shiva, you truly have an inspiring story, and your positive outlook on life and work does enlighten us all. We wish the best for your studies at IIM-Calcutta and for your future.

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