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Sonali K. Shah

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Biographical Sketch

Sonali K. Shah is an Assistant Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Drawing on rich, primary source data, and her experience working with innovators in Silicon Valley and Boston, her research illuminates new models of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Her current research examines the implications of collaborative models of innovation development (such as open source software development) for corporate product development and industrial competition.  Innovation communities generate breakthrough products and seed successful startups.  They shape many industries, including automobiles, software, medical devices, and sports equipment.  Their presence generates opportunities and challenges for established firms and policymakers.  In other work, she examines the career choices that lead to start-up success, as well as the characteristics of makerspaces that seed innovative startups.

Her research has been recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2008-2010).  Her work on innovation communities received the Rising Stars Best Paper Award from the Industry Studies Association (2013) and the Thought Leader Award from the Academy of Management (2008).  Her research on open source communities received the Best Paper Prize from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2006).  Her work on startup success has been recognized with the Thought Leader Award from the Academy of Management (2010) and Best Paper Prizes from the Kauffman Foundation (2010, 2011).  Her dissertation was a finalist for the Academy of Management’s William H. Newman Award and the Entrepreneurship Division’s Best Dissertation Award.  The Ewing Marion Kauffman and Alfred P. Sloan Foundations have funded her research.

She has worked with high technology clients as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley & Co. and as a consultant at McKinsey & Co.  She has also worked on issues related to refugee resettlement and education as a volunteer with the American Red Cross.   

She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering and a B.S.E. in Economics from the Wharton School.  She holds a Ph.D. in Management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.