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‘My school principal is the reason I could make the right career choices’

Apeejay Pitampura alumnus Chirag Bindal, who became a CA recently, says he maintained a fine balance between work and play during his preparation



Chirag Bindal, Associate, Assurance Department, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), cleared chartered accountancy (CA) in July 2021. An average student till middle school, Chirag’s life took a turn after he passed his class 12 exams with flying colours. Thereafter the Apeejay Pitampura alumnus has been achieving one milestone after the other. His family and friends have been a huge support throughout the journey. In an interview, Chirag tells us about his successes and failures, his learnings throughout his journey, and more. Edited excerpts:

How did you decide to pursue CA?

Before class 11, I was not very studious. I was usually outside the class, playing some sport. Somehow, in class 12, I managed to score a good percentage in Commerce, and was among the top-ranking students at Apeejay Pitampura. It was beyond my teachers’ expectations. I went on to pursue my graduation from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, Delhi University. After completing the course, I had two options—either do an MBA or CA. While evaluating the pros and cons in each, I realised CA would be a better career choice for me. It is known to be one of the toughest exams to clear, but I wanted to take up the challenge.

Prior to starting the course, I did not have much of an idea about what it entailed. Eventually, I enjoyed the CA course very much.

As you mentioned, it is not easy to crack CA. What kept you motivated throughout the preparation?

The journey was a mix of ups and downs. Having done well in my board exams followed by studying in one of the most reputed colleges of Delhi, I did not know what failure was until the CA course. I cleared the first two levels of CA in the first go but flunked the third level. That was a turning point—the failure taught me many things and I went on to successfully crack the exam in the next attempt.

My grandfather always told me, “Chirag, you have to start your own venture one day so prepare yourself accordingly.” While pursuing CA, I thought I could eventually start my private practice. I aspired for this from the very beginning. And it is this goal that kept me going. The fact that you could influence business decisions made me realise the importance of my role as a CA. Of course, I needed some prior corporate experience before venturing into something completely new, which is why I decided to do a job first.

After your failure, how did you bounce back?

In my first attempt, I could not clear the third level by four marks. I realised my mistakes and changed my strategy. I shifted to a new place away from my house to study. I do not believe in studying 12-16 hours a day. My strategy was to study for six hours a day and utilise the rest of the time to go out, play badminton, football, etc. What you have to keep in mind is that CA is not a short course—you have to dedicate four-five years of your life to it. So, if you end up exhausting all your energy in studying in the first few months, you are bound to feel drained and unmotivated. Not many students realise this and eventually it leads to failure. Rather, my strategy was to give those six hours of effort every day consistently throughout the course. According to me, consistency is the key.

How did you join PwC?

During my articleship, I worked at Grant Thornton for some months. During this time, I came to know about the Big 4 companies, PwC being one of them. Before starting my own practice, I knew I had to become a jack of all trades. After completing articleship, I wanted to get into auditing, a field where you get wider exposure as you travel across a range of clients. That is how I joined PwC last year in December.

What has your professional journey been like so far?

I have learned a lot throughout my journey. In my role, I get to interact with CFOs and CEOs of various businesses. The clients respect and rely on our opinion. It is not just about technicalities; audit also entails understanding your client’s psychology. The experience has been exciting.

How did Apeejay Pitampura prepare you for your journey?

I would like to specially mention former school principal Mr DK Bedi, who deeply impacted my life and is the reason I am what I am today. I met him only a few times during my schooling, but I distinctly remember his contributions. He gave teachers and students the freedom to make independent choices. He allowed us to make mistakes and learn from them. Inspired by him, I was able to make a choice to pursue Commerce when my family (which is full of engineers) discouraged it. Additionally, I would like to thank all those teachers, especially Rajni Garg ma’am and Vandana Arora ma’am, who believed in me and supported me in my journey. 

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.