Nagpur: Justin Fernandez, 27, a native of Kollam in Kerala, will go down in the history of Indian Institute of Management Nagpur (IIM-N) as not just a student who achieved a couple of firsts for the institute but also for the personal battles he won in life.
Coming from a poor background, Justin didn’t have idle conditions to make it big in life unlike many of his classmates from school to IIM.
Right from his schooling days, the family found it difficult to make ends meets. Determined to never give up, Justin remained focused on his goals and finally achieved them when Hyderabad-based Value Labs offered him associate director’s job and a pay package of Rs19lakh. Both, the job profile and the pay are highest so far to have been offered to any IIM-N student.
An elated Justin told reporter that his family was traditionally in tailoring business before becoming a victim of industrialization. “My grandfather too was a tailor and natural my father was drawn into the same business. But, the readymade garments spelt doom for our family and several like us. There wasn’t enough work and my father started finding it difficult to earn enough for our basic needs,” he said.
When income stopped, the family would depend on government subsidies to fulfil their needs. “Ration supplied through public distribution system (PDS) was our main source of food,” he said, adding that the family could manage a meagre Rs50,000 a year income only.
However, Justin’s aunts knew that only education could improve the family’s fortunes and ensured that her nephew and his elder sister do not drop out of school. “My aunt took care of our studies till Class 12,”he said. His father elder sisters retired as principals in Trivandrum. One was a maths teacher while other taught French.
Once Justin qualified for BTech from Government College of Engineering at Trivandrum, scholarships helped him cover his expenses. Before joining IIM-N, he worked with a software firm over two years.
He wanted to pursue MBA from IIM-Kozikhode but couldn’t make it in his first attempt. “I was getting older, so finally enrolled for Nagpur after the second attempt,” he said.
Though he would be donning the new role in the corporate world soon, Justin aims to become a sports manager someday.