Faculty Spotlight: Ajit Sharma
The Mike Ilitch School of Business welcomed Ajit Sharma, assistant professor of information systems management, to the faculty in the fall semester.
Sharma comes to Wayne State with over a decade of real-world experience, primarily in the robotics industry. After completing his MBA at the University of Michigan, he launched startups in both the United States and India, where he was trained in manufacturing and industrial engineering. He later returned to U-M's Ross School of Business to complete a Ph.D. in technology and operations, and went on to join Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant professor of business technologies.
“I’m glad to have taken a nonlinear path. It complements both my research and my teaching,” he said.
His current research is focused on opportunities generated by technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things.
“These technologies create new opportunities for wealth creation and I look forward to working with firms interested in leveraging these technologies to amplify their value generating potential,” Sharma said.
His research is interdisciplinary and applied.
“I’ve been fortunate to always have had one foot in academia and the other in industry," he said. "I understand both these worlds and that has allowed me to generate synergies at their intersection.”
Sharma also researches new and emerging models of innovation, and he is working within the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Wayne State to develop academic programs in entrepreneurship and innovation.
“I think that entrepreneurship is a contact sport and is best learned by doing,” he said. “Detroit is frontier territory for startups with unparalleled opportunities for individuals interested in striking out on their own, and I look forward to mentoring students interested in taking the leap.”
Sharma has been a mentor to technology startups in the past. Currently he advises a technology startup by his two daughters, which teaches robotics with an emphasis on female students. Through this startup, he has taught robotics to elementary and middle school girls at the Michigan Science Center and in local schools.
In his spare time, Sharma enjoys working on home improvement projects with his daughters – especially those involving working with wood.
“I think it is important for girls to be functional with all kinds of tools. There is a certain independence that comes with it," he said. "This summer, we redid the deck. My default mode is to accept my girl’s ideas as they are typically better than mine. Sometimes I dig in my heels, such as when the suggestion is, 'Let’s paint the deck rainbow.'”