Post his 12th grade (Science) from Bhagalpur in Bihar, Manish Bhattacharya wanted to join an IIT. But, as luck would have it, his family could not finance his coaching for engineering entrances. After two failed attempts to bag an admission at any of the Government colleges, he made up his mind to pursue engineering from a tier-3 college in Meerut and took an educational loan to fund his education. He was still tensed about how he would repay the educational loan.
Things changed when he saw a friend’s Facebook post on his timeline, who had received an e-mail from Microsoft, thanking him to fix a bug. He was impressed by the fact that such big-time Companies were acknowledging student’s efforts.
Manish Bhattacharya then immersed himself wholeheartedly in learning ethical hacking and security issues of websites. He rose to fame when he found a vulnerability in Facebook and won its Bug-Bounty Programme.
Manish Bhattacharya was over the moon when he was rewarded with $5000 by Facebook. Newspapers carried his story and he became a celebrity overnight. He repaid his educational loan with the cash prize.
That was just the start and there was no looking back. He only went uphill from there. He started to earn handsome amounts of money, while still in college.
He is a security consultant in a US-based company and has earns in lakhs every month. He also freelances by detecting bugs in various other websites. His current ranking on Google’s Bug-Bounty Programme is 62!
So far he has discovered bugs in the websites of Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, Shopify, Asana, Github, etc. and has won several awards for the same.
Today, he earns more than an IIT-IIM graduate and his family couldn’t be any more prouder. He was offered a job by Yahoo, which he had to let go. He is looking forward for setting up a start-up.
Here’s his complete story as posted on Quora when a user asked, “What was the most magical moment of your life?”
“When Facebook paid me $5000.
Those people who say “Money can’t buy happiness” are dead wrong.
I did my 12th on scholarship. Got 65% marks in 12th and failed to qualify IIT-JEE and AIEEE. Dropped a year to prepare on my own, was not able to afford the extra financial pressure of coaching . Next year result was better but not good enough to get admission in government colleges.
My father said “we can’t afford engineering, join the local college for B.Sc”.
That was tough for me, I contacted few private college and got to know I can get admission on my present rank and 12th marks.
But “Where’s the money ?” dad asked.
“Give me 25K , that’ll confirm the admission and then we’ll talk to banks for education loan” I replied.
“I earn 8k per month, 25k is big deal but don’t worry I’ll ask my boss if he could help” dad replied.
Next day he borrowed 25k from his boss, asked one of his friend to convert that in DD (demand draft) . I got the DD by 5 PM and next day took a general ticket to Delhi.
I got the admission and later with little struggle got the loan as well.
From the 1st day there was this extra pressure of loan.
Somewhere in second year I came to know about this term Bug bounty program , where big company pay for reporting security issues in their website. It took me almost a year to learn in and out of security, meanwhile I got a cheap laptop.
And one Sunday afternoon I reported few security bugs to Facebook (notes and message).
Monday evening I got a mail from Facebook and Bang !
I was not able to sleep that night. $5000 (3 lakh) was a big deal, I had never seen that much amount in my account or even in my dad’s account.
Next day I took the day off from classes to calm down but one of my teacher called and asked me to come (It was all over my Facebook).
I made a guest appearance for 5 minute with a copy of W-8BEN form in my hand. (Someone clicked this pic ), whole class congratulated.
Next day it was in newspaper
After this I never stopped, I became financially independent. Paid my education loan that year, got clients from all over the world, contributed to security of 500+ websites.
Now Ranked #62 (worldwide) on Google bug bounty program & Vulnerability Reward Program
Made my first million in college and got covered by national/international newspapers and blogs.
Manish Bhattacharya is an inspiration, in the true sense of the word, for people who think that not getting into IIT is the end of life.
This article should serve as a wake-up call for people who think that getting into IITs is the be-all and end-all of one’s life. Be purposeful, zealous and be guided by your goal. Remember that talent is not patented to any institution.