News & Press: InSider

Ten Questions With Ramesh Sharda

Monday, August 31, 2015   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Brook Pritchett

This month features Ramesh Sharda, the Vice Dean of Watson Graduate School of Management, Watson/ConocoPhillips Chair and Regents Professor of MSIS, Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. He answers questions about trends in executive doctoral education and on the growing community of researchers in the area of Big Data. You can learn more about his work by visiting

1. Do you see executive doctoral education as a major “market” for business education in the future?
Yes, it is a major growth market. AACSB has predicted a significant shortage of faculty in the future as baby boomers retire. However, there are many executives and professionals who want to teach either part-time or full-time. This group of professionals needs doctorate level credentials and is driving significant growth in executive doctoral education.  At Oklahoma State we have a PhD in Business for Executives program that has enjoyed much success. Many other universities have created DBA or other executive doctorate programs.

2. What class or activity related to the executive doctoral education program do you find interesting? Why?
The class I teach in our executive doctoral program aims to cover many of the topics traditional doctoral students learn about by being around the faculty and on campus. For example, my class covers exposure to journal rankings, impact measures, conference opportunities, promotion/tenure issues, how to review papers, completing IRB training, and networking with faculty to find potential research partners and supervisors. There is no need to offer this class as a formal class to our traditional doctoral students, but executives do not know about these issues and are not on campus long enough to learn about them, so a formal class covers these topics. I also enjoy working on analytics applications with these students in their companies.

3. What do you think are the main challenges of successfully publishing analytics and data mining research in top IS journals?
Analytics has been more about applications and less about theory. Our top journal’s focus is on theory. So it is a bit tricky. Very technical, algorithmic work belongs in machine learning/CS journals. And yet another application of analytics is no longer a top journal candidate. So the papers must focus on generalizable lessons regarding data management, analytics models, implementation, etc.

4. What's one trend or new development relevant to analytics and data mining research you are excited about?
Although the term is now trite, the variety aspect of Big Data presents tantalizing application possibilities and challenges in managing and analyzing diverse data. I think we have barely scratched the surface on this front.

5. What community has visibly influenced your career? How can doctoral students and young IS researchers become part of this community?
I have been an active member of AIS, INFORMS, and DSI. Early on, INFORMS Computing Society (then called ORSA Computer Science Tech Section) played a big role in shaping my research interests and visibility. Now both AIS and DSI are more significant venues for my research and service visibility. Within AIS, Dan Power and I got to start the SIGDSS, now called SIGDSA (SIG on Decision Support and Analytics). This group is one of the more active SIGs within AIS and has helped me build a network of coauthors, colleagues, and friends.

SIGDSA organizes a full track at each AMCIS and also hosts conferences around ICIS. For example, SIGDSA is hosting a Business Analytics Congress in cooperation with Teradata University Network just before ICIS in Fort Worth in December 2015. It is easier to get papers reviewed and accepted at such pre-ICIS meetings, and get the feedback to be ready for major journal submission.

6. What habit(s) shape the productivity and research quality of doctoral students and faculty you know?
Reading a lot, especially some material outside our typical reading universe. Also a habit of writing something several times a week.

7. Can you share one of your favorite sayings or quotes with our readers?
I have seen it attributed to Nora Roberts, but have heard it many times in different forms –
“If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.”

8. If you were to do it all over again, what would you have done differently?
I probably would have focused on one or two research topics for a longer period. Being in technology-enabled applications space, I have jumped from one technology or modeling space to another more often than I would have if I were more focused and could have said “No” to some opportunities.

9. What is your favorite memory at an AIS event (ICIS/AMCIS) or affiliated conference (ECIS/PACIS/etc.)?
When we organized AMCIS 2009 in San Francisco, the social event was at the Asian Art Museum. As the attendees walked in, they were offered a glass of wine etc. The food included some Indian curry choices as well. Many attendees appreciated that unique style. So it has remained in my memory.

10. Finally: Who would you like to see answer these questions next? And what would you like to see her/his thoughts on?
I have invited Varun Grover to speak to our executive doctoral program classes a few times. He has also participated in some other executive doctoral programs and has written several columns in Decision Line  magazine on doctoral student success. So he would be a good choice to provide his perspective on executive doctoral success.

Prepared by:
David Agogo, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
For questions about this series or suggestions of who you would like to see interviewed, please contact David Agogo ( Also, view more information about the column, a list of past features and links to the full interviews here.


Matthew L. Nelson says...
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2015
Excellent insights and advice! Thank you David and Ramesh for providing this!

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