About a year after graduating from college with an English degree, Rohit Bhargava began waiting tables in order to save up enough money to move to Australia. Today, he is a recognized and reputed professional within the marketing field, and known as an entrepreneur, best selling author, writer, speaker, advisor, and blogger.
"I'd always loved writing and I was going to be a screen writer, or at least I thought I was. [Eventually] I realized that screen writing wasn’t for me, but I'd loved that idea of influencing people through stories. I'd studied advertising and marketing and it was really interesting for me,” he says. Following a move to the US, Bhargava joined a public relations agency which was associated with an ad agency. "It was kind of perfect timing because a couple of months after I started, we created a new digital and social media group at the agency. That team grew over the following years into this huge, well-known team within the industry and along that same path, I started blogging, I started gaining an audience for myself, and I ended up meeting a book agent and getting a book deal.”
Currently, Bhargava delivers numerous keynote speeches every year, is a bestselling author of five books, and is also the founder of the Influential Marketing Group, which has worked with many top companies such as American Express, MetLife, and Pfizer, to name a few. Besides these accomplishments, Bhargava also has teaching experience, and two years ago, he began teaching a masters level course on global marketing at Georgetown University.
Reflecting on his accomplishments, there is no doubt that Bhargava has come a long way and chosen to take a path that, by his own admission, not many South Asians take. "Being in the DC area, one of the biggest things that I realize is that the vast majority of my [South Asian] friends are either doing something technology oriented, or they are doctors. For me, as a South Asian who’s chosen a more creative profession, like doing a career in advertising, doing an English major, and writing books, I feel an important responsibility to try to be a positive role model of the fact that that's a viable career choice.”
In keeping with this sentiment of encouraging creatively inclined youngsters to pursue creative careers, Bhargava often participates as a speaker at South Asian events and events that are targeted towards youth entrepreneurship.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
I'd probably say my books…the really interesting thing I feel about books is that it gives you that chance to put something out
there that is going to last a really, really long time, and hopefully outlast you. And even in our digital world, the act of having that physical book out there, it's really cool!"
What was your biggest obstacle?
I would say my biggest obstacle was when I decided a year after graduating college to move to Australia without a job or any sort of personal connections or
friends living in the area. It was like starting over completely without any sort of support network and that took some time and dedication to make successful. It took me more than a year to really have a job I was happy with and a personal network of friends that helped me feel like I belonged there.
Do you have advice for immigrants?
I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this one, as I feel like I'm a little in between the immigrant experience and the first generation experience of being here in the US. I left India with my parents when I was one year old, so even though I was born outside the US, I still mostly grew up here. As a result I think my perspective is probably a little less of an immigrant than someone who
came here when they were already an adult. Regardless, I think the main thing I have learned that has helped
me immensely is to never under-estimate the power of your network. And by network, I don't really mean the people I know, but rather the people who know me. There is no greater asset you can build than your own network of relationships.
Indians around the world have made significant contributions to their immigrated countries, what do you think of this accomplishment?
Like many Indians, I'm intensely proud of the culture I come from and all the ways that it has and continues to affect the world. I want to be part of that, and I associate with it ... but I also know it took me some time in my own life to become entirely comfortable with all the different parts of my own identity that crossed from being Indian to being American to being Australian. I've had three passports from three nations in my life, and I think it takes anyone time to uncover how they are going to define themselves outside of just their personality and also in relation to the places they have lived and where they feel they belong.