Sharp earned his B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1934 and completed post-graduate work at that university and then at the London School of Economics. During this time, he worked as a writer focusing on the grain trade.
Sharp started his long career in public service in 1947 when he was offered the job as the Director of the Ministry of Finance's Economic Policy Division. From 1951 to 1957, Sharp served as the Associate Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce. During his tenure, he was responsible for international trade relations. Soon after, Sharp served a short term as the Deputy minister of Trade and Commerce.
In 1963, Mitchell Sharp was elected as a member of parliament representing Eglinton. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned the portfolio of Minister of Trade and Commerce. From 1965 through 1968, Sharp was the Minister of Finance. Other ministerial positions held include Secretary of State for External Affairs (1968-1974), President of the Privy Council (1974-1978) and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (1974-1978). Sharp resigned as a parliamentarian in 1978.
Sharp re-entered the private sector as the Commissioner of the Northern Pipeline Agency from 1978 until 1988. However, his public service continued as he served as a co-Chairman of a task force on Conflict of Interest and published a report on Ethical conduct in the Public Service in 1984. Other posts included head of the Canadian group and deputy chairman of the Trilateral Commission (1976-1986). From 1988 through 1993, he served as a Policy Associate with Strategion, until his current job as a Personal Advisor to Prime Minister Jean Chretien.