Pallavi: School Dropout’s Journey to Achieve a Corporate Career

Her story is a testament to the life-changing potential of education

Pallavi Chougule’s journey is a testament to her unwavering determination to overcome adversities and achieve her dreams. Hailing from a modest background in Pune’s slum area, Maharashtra, Pallavi faced financial constraints that forced her to discontinue her education after Grade 8 in 2008. She decided to help her family financially.

Three years after dropping out of school, she was offered a lifeline by Pratham’s Second Chance team, providing her with an opportunity to complete her secondary education. Eagerly enrolling in the program, she attended classes at the center, not only acquiring knowledge and new friendships but also reigniting her passion for higher education.

Pallavi passed Grade X exams with an impressive 70% score in 2012. However, financial challenges continued to loom over her. Fortunately, she was selected for an educational sponsorship from the Suprabhat Mahila Mandal, an NGO dedicated to supporting students’ education in Pune. This support enabled Pallavi to complete her Grade XII in 2014 with a score of 75%. She fondly recalls the guidance and motivation from her mentors, especially Vandana Tai, who became a beacon of inspiration for her. Pallavi’s mentors facilitated a paid internship for her which eventually transformed into a full-time job, encouraging her to pursue higher education while balancing work and studies.

Her time at the company allowed Pallavi to explore different aspects of the business, fostering a deep interest in HR and Accounts. She wanted to get an MBA. Yet, the “external” tag on her M.Com marksheet, indicating her non-attendance in a regular college for the course, troubled her.

In 2021, Pallavi decided to take a sabbatical from work to enroll in a regular MBA programme at Pune University. She became the first postgraduate in her family. Serving as a role model for her younger siblings, who also completed their education, Pallavi’s success brought immense pride to her mother, a strong advocate for her education.

Pallavi firmly believes in the transformative power of education, recognizing its ability to instill confidence and unveil one’s true potential.