Professional headshot of MBS studentAnkit Sharma, a Master of Business and Science (MBS) student, is using his data science and analytics skills to fight human trafficking. Sharma, MBS’23 was awarded a fellowship from Collaborative Solutions LLC for pinpointing human-trafficking hotspots using mapping and analysis software.  

After receiving his undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from Panjab University, Sharma co-founded a logistics and transportation company. He successfully managed it for seven years before deciding to transition to newer technology. He enrolled in the MBS degree in spring 2022 studying Analytics: Discovery Informatics & Data Sciences with a pathway in artificial intelligence. Sharma chose MBS because it offered him an education in science and business along with an opportunity to grow his communication and leadership skills.  

Sharma served on a team of externs for ECPAT in the summer of 2022, where he completed a similar project looking for trafficking hotspots in Albuquerque, New Mexico. MBS offers externships as an opportunity for students to gain real-world experience with leading corporations. Sharma was recommended for this fellowship by his externship mentor, Dr. John Betak  

What interested you the most about this fellowship? 

“There are things you do for money, there are things you do for academics and skills, and then there are things you do for your personal satisfaction,” said Sharma. Sharma’s work contributed to stopping child trafficking, a meaningful investment. 

“That was the best part of it—working for a noble cause,” he said.  

How is this helping you in your career? 

Through this fellowship, Sharma learned how to use new technology and stepped outside of his comfort zone. When Sharma started the project, he chose to use unfamiliar software including ArcGIS, Mapbox, and Google Cloud. This fellowship gave Sharma confidence in himself and his skills.  

“In a short span,” he said, “I could learn and experiment with so much software.”  

What was the biggest challenge that you faced?  

“The biggest challenge was time,” said Sharma. He had just under two weeks to deliver the first project, which came in the middle of a busy semester. “The biggest challenge was to learn a new software in that limited period of time, collect the data, and then execute the project.”  

Collecting crime data also posed an issue, said Sharma, as crime data is not easy to gather and implement. 

How did the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program help prepare you for this project?  

Sharma cited his externship as a critical factor that helped him succeed.  

“The externship played a major role,” he said. “In externship labs, we get a different type of exposure working under different mentors.” In MBS externships, students work under the mentorship and guidance of a professor and external company mentor. Sharma completed a second externship in the fall 2022 semester, where he served as his team’s lead extern for Rutgers Rail and Transit Program. He was also awarded an MBS fellowship.  

Coming into the program with a background in math and physics, the MBS degree provided Sharma with the technological skills he used to deliver the project for this fellowship. He also noted that he has learned the valuable skill of time management during his time as an MBS student.  

Sharma highlighted two of his courses that provided him with technological skills:  

Sharma created a clear picture of what he wants to achieve in his career by attending colloquiums and other MBS events, including professional workshops hosted by MBS executive coach Abbe Rosenthal.  

“This program has helped me a lot to grow, both in my technology skills and in my communication and leadership skills,” said Sharma. “In every way, this degree has impacted me a lot. I am just in my second semester, and I can see so many changes.” 

If you would like to learn more about MBS externships, we offer externship informational sessions online. You can find them on our events page. 

Congratulations, Ankit Sharma! 

Author(s): Julianna Rossano Published on: 02/27/2023
Tags: fellowship, student spotlight, Externship, analytics, data science