Gaurav Yadav, the son of a farmer from Rajasthan's Alwar, cleared the tough IIT entrance exam but his eye was on another prize.
He did not tell his family he cracked the test, and instead, worked to get through the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam, The Times of India reported.
The NDA examination is a gateway for youngsters looking to join the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. After clearing the test, there are interviews and medical examinations. Training at NDA lasts three years.
Yadav was a star at NDA's Passing Out Parade on Wednesday, winning the President's Gold Medal . He also commanded the parade, an honour he never thought he would get.