Missouri State University

Ashish Mohan

  • Major: Music
  • Hometown: India

Graduate returned to his "home away from home" to pursue a lifelong dream

He overcame the fear of returning to school to follow his true passion: jazz piano.

Meet Ashish Mohan

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, 1993; Master of Business Administration, 1995

After graduating from (then) Southwest Missouri State University in 1995, Ashish went back home to India and worked in the field of business management for 19 years. After lots of internal debate and struggling to overcome the fear of returning to school, Ashish came back this fall to follow his true passion: jazz piano.

What drew you back to Missouri State?

“In college, my parents didn’t support my decision to study music. It was my father’s dream that I study computer science and business. I couldn’t follow my dream and it bugged me for the 19 years that I was working in India, every day really. I wasn’t doing so well because my heart wasn’t in anything I was doing – my heart was in music. I browsed through the MSU website and one of the things that I saw was ‘Follow Your Passion, Find Your Place.’ That made a lot sense to me and kind of simplified what I was thinking about.”

What has surprised you the most about college now that you’ve come back?

“On my first day of class after 19 years of being away, I looked around at the faces and I just thought, ‘Did I look this young when I was in college?’ It took me nearly a week to get over that.”

How has the transition back to college been for you?

“I thought I would be sticking out like a sore thumb, and that was reinforced when I saw all the young faces. But then the most wonderful thing happened that I didn’t expect: After a couple of weeks, that didn’t bother me anymore. I wondered if maybe the younger students were intimidated by me since I’ve been out in the real world and have a lot of experience and knowledge. Some of them were, but most of them were not and it didn’t matter to them that I was 44. For most of them, that doesn’t matter. I’m just one of them, and I feel the same.”

What has been the most challenging part of coming back?

“The fear, but once I got here and things went smoothly, my fears were demolished one by one.”

“Once I got here and things went smoothly, my fears were demolished one by one.”

What has been your favorite experience at Missouri State so far?

“I really love the New Student Convocation. It’s held the Sunday before the first day of classes, right before the New Student Festival. This tradition of everyone around campus clapping for these new faces as they come on to campus just made me feel really welcome.”

What do you hope to accomplish with this degree?

“I believe my purpose in life is to serve other people. My goal is not to earn fame and money with this degree because I feel those things are temporary, but rather serve the community wherever I live with my music. I think music brings people together. Music is a gift, and I want to share it with others and make people happy.”