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International student finds next steps for college and career at ASU

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in information technology at the University of Mumbai in India, was working as a software developer. About nine months into his role, he wanted to explore something new and turned to education as his pathway. 

“I wanted something to do with both the development phase and the management phases,” Sahani recalled. “And that’s when I started looking for options so I could do that.” 

He decided to pursue his master’s degree in the United States, where he began applying to different graduate schools — including the at Arizona State University.

“When I looked at the courses ASU offered and the variety of classes I could take, I knew this was it,” Sahani said. “I considered ASU’s offerings to be the right combination of what I actually wanted to study — that’s what stood out for me.”  

After arriving in Phoenix in the fall of 2022, Sahani began coursework for a  with an emphasis in project management. Most of his courses were in person at the ASU Polytechnic campus in Mesa, though he did have a few hybrid and online courses.

While studying full time, Sahani also wanted to work. , which is the university’s central technology division, offered a pathway to complement his studies. In June 2023, Sahani took on the role of project coordinator for the development of a digital wallet. 

“It all fits perfectly with my career goals in IT project management and leading technology initiatives,” Sahani said.

As he looks to graduate with his master’s degree this May, he remains enthusiastic and remains open to opportunities for him at ASU.

“I’ve worked on a lot of different projects and collaborated with different people at all levels at ASU,” Sahani noted. “Everyone at work and during my studies has been generous and open to all my thoughts and suggestions, which is something I really value.”

Sahani explores his journey as a Sun Devil student and staff member below.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study information technology? What led you to choose ASU and your program? 

Answer: When I received acceptance letters from different universities all over the U.S., I was already hoping to get accepted at ASU, which ended up being the last acceptance letter I received. I received it on the very day I had started filling out my I-20 student form so I could attend a different university on the East Coast. ASU is really where I wanted to go based on the programs offered. That moment was an “aha” moment for me, for sure. 

Q: What’s something you learned during your time as a Sun Devil — either working, in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: There’s a course project I remember from my Data in the Cloud for Information Technology course. For our mid-semester exam, we were tasked with creating and presenting a network infrastructure for an on-premises network. After moving deeper into our coursework for our final exam, we were then asked to propose a solution where we would move the on-premise network to the cloud. The team that I’m working with here at ASU Enterprise Technology also happens to be the university’s network infrastructure and expansion team. 

They knew so much already about what I was working on for my class. I got so many helpful insights and ideas for my project working on the hardware that ASU is currently using. When I went to my professor, Dr. Brian Atkinson, and shared my new ideas with him, he was surprised that I had come up with insights like that. 

That was connecting the dots. That was the moment when I saw that the work I was doing was so well related to what I have been studying in class and that I’m implementing now.

Q: Did you have a favorite professor, or a favorite work project during your studies?

A: Dr. Derex Griffin from my Information Systems Development course stands out in my memory because he’s also the one I worked for as a graduate teaching assistant. He has a background in the Air Force and has worked as a project manager for the last 30 to 35 years, which is a field that I really want to go into. When I took his class, I learned so much about project management. When I reached out to him about working with him professionally, he offered me a position as a graduate teaching assistant, and then I learned even more. He would regularly check in on me while I was grading and give me helpful feedback. He is very knowledgeable, supportive and approachable. I hold him in the highest regard.  

Q: Do you have advice for other students who are also staff?

A: Pursuing your studies, in addition to your work, is a real-time life experience you can get. It makes you a better professional, in a safe space to learn things you could never learn somewhere else. When you graduate and go to a real job, people will expect you to do things in a particular way with specific deadlines. But at work as a student, it gives you a safe space to explore different things and also to learn from mistakes. 

Learn while you’re here; learn and explore at work while you study before going out into the job market. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After finishing my master’s in IT project management at ASU, I’m eager to apply my technical skills and project management experience toward a career in technology leadership, ideally as an IT project manager. I’m particularly interested in roles that harness my background in software development and data analytics to enhance business innovation. My time at ASU has really prepared me to make a meaningful impact on technology-driven projects and initiatives.