Making Stepping Stones out of Stumbling Blocks: An Academician’s Inspiring Story


Colin Powell had once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is a result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Dr. Nagaraj Shenoy’s success story speaks every bit of this saying.

Dr. Nagaraj Shenoy’s life’s journey is very inspiring in many ways for the way he took on the challenges head-on and the odds that came his way and used them as a stepping stone to success. As he says, “if you have a fire in your belly, no matter what people think of you or laugh at you, you can succeed if you are determined to achieve your dreams”. The journey that he has walked through speaks volumes about what a strong will to achieve something can lead you to.

His early life:

Dr. Nagaraj Shenoy, Principal & Director of Dayananda Sagar College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Bangalore has scores of degrees to his credit. He has done M.E. (Civil Engineering), M.B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., hails from South Canara but has spent early days of his life in Gokak, Belgaum and Dharwad where he did his schooling in Kannada medium up to 10th standard. He did his Diploma in Civil Engineering in Dharwad. After his studies, he worked for many prominent construction companies there. It was in the year 1995 that he came to Bangalore for better job opportunities. He took up an MBA and also got into the teaching field. Soon he realized the need to learn and be adept at various things to excel in his career. Hence, he took up courses though he faced difficulties owing to the background he came from. In a short span, he grew and within 20 years, he became Director of a prominent B-School. He has been conferred Doctorate in Management, presented papers in National & International Conferences. In the same breath, he remembers how his relatives and close friends had written him off when he spoke about moving to Bangalore and exploring opportunities. He is indebted to the city that gave him everything and believes Bangalore is a hub of opportunities for those who know how to use them.

On planning, challenges, and more:

He usually plans his day by making a list of things to do related to his profession and personal life and tries to stick to it when it comes to structuring his day. He believes in being positive in the most adverse situations and learning something from it. He says one must always set some challenges for oneself and work towards it. He also says one must be creative and always be open to experience new things, as there is an element of learning in it which is very crucial for growth in life.

He uses Google task sheets often and believes setting a timeline helps in completing the tasks. When asked about how best a team can be managed, he says people should be motivated and be prepared to do any kind of work. While dealing with usual problems that he comes across in college, he says planning and scheduling are very important when it comes to his work. Also when it comes to disciplining the students, he does his job because he believes he must do justice to his role.

When asked what he would have done differently if he knew what he knows now, Dr. Shenoy says if had he had access to the facilities that are available today, he would have organized his educational life better. Those days he didn’t have proper guidance when it came to choosing a course or know much about IAS exam or other competitive exams.

His outlook on life, learning, and inspiration:

Being a learner by attitude, he advises that one must find out what is the inherent talent in oneself. One must explore self and find out what is one capable of doing and must set on a path to do it. He finds his inspiration in Dale Carnegie. He has been inspired by his books he says. In general, he would attribute books as his inspiration.

His advice on handling criticism is noteworthy. He says being silent when faced with criticism is the best thing to do. “Be silent and show it to those who criticise you with your performance. You be what they say you can never be” are truly golden words. Citing his own example, he says when he came to Bangalore for better opportunities, his relatives criticized him that he doesn’t stand a chance to succeed. But he proved them all wrong with his determination to achieve big reiterating a famous quote by Walter Bagehot who once said, “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

He believes, “life always teaches one new thing through various mediums like in my case my students, co-workers and other people. You just have to observe and learn the lessons.”

If at all there is any stumbling block to achieve anything, he says it is your self-esteem. You must keep reminding yourself that you too have the ability to achieve what other great people have achieved. It is just a matter of attitude.

His urge to reaching out to people:

“I want to reach out to those who are in need of some kind of advice for their educational or life’s guidance in general in the form of writing articles and posting videos online and be helpful to them. Throughout my life whatever I have learned I am planning to share it”, says Dr. Shenoy. He wishes the journey or the pathfinding is easier for others at least which he couldn’t have access to. His advice to youngsters of today is you must be prepared for everything in life, equipped to handle any challenge that may come your way, only then you will be able to reach your goal.

His interests:

His love for the Kannada language is reflected in his pieces of writing which are regularly published in Kannada and English periodicals and have been applauded by people. He is also a Life Member of Kannada Sahitya Parishath, Bangalore.

Collecting great quotes is one more hobby he is pursuing since his college days. “Later the hobby became a passion and they gave great inspiration, taught lessons and showed directions in my life” he says.

We heartily thank Dr.Nagaraj Shenoy, for sharing with us his inspiring journey of his life and giving us his precious time.

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