Challey Spotlight: Dr. Ahmad Al Asady

|   Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth

The Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth is highlighting the impact of our faculty and students at NDSU and in the community. This month, we are shining a spotlight on Dr. Ahmad Al Asady.

Challey Spotlight: Dr. Ahmad Al Asady

Assistant Professor of Management

Ahmad Al Asady is an assistant professor of management at NDSU and a Scholar for the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth. His research focuses on formal and informal institutions, and their role in influencing entrepreneurship and its success. He teaches classes in international entrepreneurship and strategic management, using experiential learning to give students real world experience in tackling business challenges. He also is affiliated with the NDSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business, and serves as the advisor to Pathway Ventures - a student-managed venture capital fund.

You were one of the first faculty hires in the Challey Institute, starting at NDSU in 2020. The Challey Institute has grown a lot, in terms of people and programs since then. What have you enjoyed about being a Scholar in the Challey Institute?  
I've enjoyed the extracurricular activities that the Challey Institute provides to the NDSU community - things like the Human Progress and Flourishing Workshop and the recent Nobel at Noon event. When you're in a PhD program as a student, they don't prepare you for considering the public impact of your work. They focus on scholarship and research. But, I'm so lucky that I have been able to start my career at the Challey Institute, because it has given me a unique perspective right from the beginning, as to how to position myself to make a positive difference for society.

Your current research aims to understand how digital technologies and other bottom-up solutions can aid in reducing corruption in international business to enable enhanced economic opportunity for more people. Can you tell us about your findings so far?
We can think about corruption from an institutional perspective where it is an informal institution - a social norm. In certain environments, people treat corruption as something that is socially acceptable, and just a normal way of doing business. In those environments entrepreneurs engage in corruption to access information, giving them an advantage over rivals who don't have access to the same information. We're exploring how digital technologies influence the relationship between corruption and firm performance in those environments. Digital technologies allow entrepreneurs who don't engage in corruption access to the same information that was previously only available to those who engaged in corruption. This levels the playing field, erasing the advantage that corruption gives to those who engage in it in such markets. The policy implications of this are significant, suggesting policy makers should focus on enabling digital infrastructure, rather than on rules that corrupt actors find ways of getting around.

Last fall, you were part of a group of 9 faculty members of the Challey Institute that presented their research at an interdisciplinary conference in Virginia aimed at understanding the role of markets and society in human life. Can you tell us about that experience?
It was a great experience. It was one of my first trips to that part of the country. The Mercatus Center did an excellent job of hosting a well-organized conference.

I got to meet my former dean's PhD advisor and many other successful people. It was very inspirational, getting to meet the people behind such important work. The experience has made me want to work harder.  I hope to go to the conference again next year. 

You teach classes in international entrepreneurship and strategic management. Can you tell us about these classes and how you teach them?
Strategic management is a capstone class taught all over the world; everyone who majors in business takes a strategic management class. I aim to differentiate my class from the others - to make it as unique as possible. I use an experiential approach to teaching, giving students the opportunity to apply the concepts they're learning in real-world situations. Students interact with local business leaders and solve problems for those businesses.

In international entrepreneurship, students learn about the entrepreneurial process overseas. They learn how different environments and cultures influence the entrepreneurial process, equipping them to pursue ventures worldwide.

How has philanthropy supported your work?
My position would not exist without philanthropy. Knowing that this position wouldn't exist without philanthropy gives me an increased sense of responsibility. I feel responsible to the donors to maximize the return on the investment that they made. I remain thankful for this philanthropy and motivated to be the best version of myself.

The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth aims to advance understanding in the areas of innovation, trade, institutions, and human potential to identify policies and solutions for the betterment of society. Learn more at
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