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Ankit Aggarwal -Founder & CEO, Unstop (formerly Dare2Compete) | TEDx Speaker | Forbes-GMI Top 100 Great People

Ankit Aggarwal

Ankit Aggarwal

"I consider failures to be a normal part of everyone’s life and I have used these let-downs as a learning experience." Ankit Aggarwal

Building an early foundation 

Firstly, it is not a distinctive career by choice. Things tend to unfold eventually and it ends up becoming a special journey. The same happens with everyone. Though I never considered myself to be an exceptional student, I always had a bug of curiosity. I was eager to try something new and in the process of doing that I also created a resume of deviations for myself. I’ve seen people in my family work hard and put in effort always and I think I inculcated that quality too.

The journey from setback to success

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, like everyone else, and being a Founder I need to learn from every setback and progress forward. One of the biggest decisions I took was when I left Deloitte. I was doing well and was being offered a senior position along with the opportunity to go abroad. Any other person who would’ve been in my place would have probably chosen to stay and create an accelerated career path for themselves. But, at that point, I was eager to explore the idea of my first startup - Getadmissions.com. It didn’t do well because maybe it was too soon or maybe because we didn’t do our research well. It was a deviation in my life. But I bounced back and now I am running Unstop (Formerly Dare2Compete) like a pro :) 

Please remember, no matter what, we need to be positive. We can’t cry about things. What has happened has happened. I consider failures to be a normal part of everyone’s life and I have used these letdowns as a learning experience. All these failures have helped me be more cautious about my decisions and value the opinions of others.

The entrepreneurial journey

The factor that influenced me to leave the corporate job was to upscale the blog and create something bigger out of it. Dare2Compete started as a blog where I listed all the competitions happening under one umbrella. Other than this, I picked up a lot of learnings like team management, stakeholder management, data analysis, and other skills that made my approach much more holistic. This made me confident to take on the challenge of building a start-up.

Apart from this, my family played an important role. They supported me in all my decisions. Though they were apprehensive, they never let that feeling come between me and my dreams. 

Enlighting the world from your work 

During my college days, we realized how finding the right opportunities is not easy because we have to keep a track of them on different pages/websites. So, I came up with the idea of curating a blog where I used to add all the competitions going on under one umbrella for easier access. This eventually grew into the Unstop platform that you see today with a community of 4.3 Mn+ students.  

We are connecting STUDENTS in BHARAT across domains to a plethora of opportunities across the WORLD so that they can learn & upskill, showcase their skills & talent, and gain CV points while getting rewarded and hired by their dream employers. Thus enabling companies to discover, engage, assess, and hire the right talent through gamified engagements. #GoBeyondResumes #GoBeyondBoundaries. 

Example: A Girl from Tier 2 city and Tier 3 college knows to code, but no company visits her campus for placements. And a boy in an excellent tier-1 college doesn't get placed in his desired sector/company. On the other hand, companies and recruiters are looking to go beyond their current hiring solutions to reach out to the most suitable tech & non-tech talent across the globe as they scale, especially in times of #WorkFromAnywhere. 

Our vision is to globally connect recruiters with the right talent and give students a platform to grow and accelerate their careers.

Sources of powerful lessons 

Yes, the guidance does help when you’re trying to build something on a large scale. Firstly, I believe that my residential program at Harvard gave me a deep understanding of how leaders can create a change in the ecosystem with their work, ideas, and method of dealing with their teams. 

I try to take as many positive vibes or things from every person I meet or I see. There isn’t one mentor for me. 

-        I really like how Shahrukh Khan created his dynasty without being from a family of Bollywood and is humble to greet everyone in the room.

-        I really like how Mukesh Ambani always thinks BIG and doesn’t settle unless he is able to achieve what he set out for.

-        I really like how influencers like Aviral Bhatnagar, Ankur Warikoo, etc. tell you very inquisitive things based on some known facts easily through their posts.

-        I really like how Raj Kumar Hirani always creates impeccable scripts with the right amount of emotions, humor, message, etc. to hook the audience for 3 hours. That too consistently!

-        I like how people create careers in one company which speaks a lot about those companies and their culture. One such example is Asian Paints. 

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