UCLA Anderson’s Strategy area trains Ph.D. students to conduct rigorous research on a firm’s strategic responses to its competitive, social, political and natural environments in order to sustain a competitive advantage. Our faculty members study external interactions of firms with customers, competitors, suppliers and government, and internal interactions with current and potential employees. While economics is our primary discipline for addressing strategic inquiries, we also incorporate insights from psychology, sociology and political science. Students in our program are exposed to a wide spectrum of strategic management topics, including competitive strategy, innovation, human resource management, entrepreneurship, global strategy, corporate sustainability and organizational theory.

From the Strategy Ph.D. Liaison


"As the Strategy area Ph.D. liaison, I welcome you to the study of strategic management at UCLA Anderson. Our program has a strong analytical orientation. Students take courses in strategic management, economics and other fields. The Strategy area at the UCLA Anderson School of Management administers the program. If you are motivated to create new knowledge and innovative research to help advance the field of business strategy, we encourage you to get in touch and apply."

Olav Sorensen Ph.D.
Strategy Ph.D. Liaison

Explore the Program


Sample Publications


The Role of Chance Encounters in Silicon Valley Innovation
Dee Gill
UCLA Anderson Review

As Silicon Valley legend has it, back in the day semiconductor hotshots gathered at Walker’s Wagon Wheel to drink and gossip and, by the third beer, a new technology breakthrough had often been devised. Repeated millions of times over, at any place but the office, chance encounters have kept Silicon Valley cranking out patents — and technology startups — faster and more profitably than any other region of the world.

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Doctors, Subjected to Peer Comparison, Felt Increased Burnout
Carla Fried
UCLA Anderson Review

If there’s a work cohort we all have a vested interest in keeping happy and healthy, it is primary care doctors. By one estimate published in 2021, the U.S. is expected to be short by between 17,800 and 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034, and nearly one-third of current primary care docs reported being burned out.

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In a Boom, Incumbent Firms Can Redeploy Workers to Rapidly Expand
Michael Totty
UCLA Anderson Review

It is a new economy truism: Nimble startups have an edge over larger, well-established companies. New ventures are more innovative and can be better attuned to the markets they operate in, while incumbents, constrained by their existing operations, may be less able to commit resources to new ones.

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Household Energy Efficiency: Not All Upgrades Are Created Equal
Michael Totty
UCLA Anderson Review

Energy efficiency seems to offer one of those rare “everybody wins” solutions. It can save money on electricity bills, fight climate change, make it unnecessary for utilities to build new power plants and create jobs, and, by some estimates, save $2 in benefits for each dollar invested.

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Cause and Effect in the Complex World of Corporate Decision Making
Dee Gill
UCLA Anderson Review

Establishing links between cause and effect is a core function of scientific research, and one that we now know is far more difficult than previously thought. In the past decade, concerted efforts failed to replicate hundreds of studies published in prestigious journals, particularly in medicine and social sciences. This “replication crisis” has led to a flood of new research methods aimed at weeding out hidden factors that lead scientists to mistake mere correlations for causation, for actions that actually lead to change.

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Alumni Success

Each year, we expect to enroll a handful of outstanding students with high potential to become professors at top business schools and other academic departments. Some of our recent graduates have accepted assistant professorships in the business schools at Columbia, Duke, Michigan, NYU, Rutgers and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

David Bardolet (’08)

Assistant Professor of Management and Technology, SDA Bocconi University

Dissertation: New Perspectives on Capital Allocation

David Bardolet's research interests include behavioral strategy, resource allocation and corporate strategy. His work has been published in Strategic Management Journal and Industrial and Corporate Change, as well as in edited collections from Oxford University Press and Kluwer. Mentored at UCLA Anderson by Professor Craig Fox, he is a collaborator at the Fox Uncertainty Lab.

Vanessa Burbano (’15)

Assistant Professor of Management, Columbia Business School

Dissertation: Three Essays on Corporate Social Responsibility

Now an Assistant Professor of Management in strategy at Columbia Business School, UCLA Anderson alumna Vanessa Burbano focuses her research topics on the intersection of corporate strategy and social/environmental issues, and on employee motivation. Her research has been awarded by the Strategic Management Society and the Strategy Research Foundation. Having joined Columbia in 2015, Burbano earned her Ph.D. from Anderson in 2011 and has also worked as an Associate at Goldman Sachs and as a Strategy Consultant at Monitor Group.

Bennett Chiles (’17)

Assistant Professor of Management, Columbia Business School

Dissertation: Shrouded Information and Strategic Transparency: Three Essays on Price Obfuscation

UCLA Anderson graduate Bennett Chiles has previously worked in strategy consulting, data analytics, and the non-profit sector. Now, she's an Assistant Professor of Management in strategy at Columbia Business School, having joined in 2017. Chiles' research looks at issues at the intersection of competitive strategy and behavioral economics, focusing on information disclosure and deceptive business practices. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2017.

Sara Parker Lue (’13)

Assistant Professor of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School

Dissertation: Conflict of Interest and Incentives in Health Care

After graduating from UCLA Anderson with a Ph.D. in 2013, Sara Parker Lue joined Rutgers Business School as an Assistant Professor of Management and Global Business. She focuses on teaching business policy and strategy, along with health care strategy, while her research focus is on strategic human resources, organizational economics of health care, boundary of the firm, impact of reputation on agency issues, and regulatory policy. Lue also earned her M.A. in Economics from UCLA in 2010.

James Owen Ostler (’13)

Assistant Professor of Strategy, University of Michigan Ross School of Business

Dissertation: Strategic Risk Taking Under Competition

James Ostler earned his Ph.D. from UCLA Anderson in 2013, and has since become an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the University of Michigan Ross School of business. His research focuses on decision making under uncertainty, exploring how business decisions are made based on expectations of an uncertain future. Ostler has also worked at start-ups, and as a consultant for a Fortune 500 company.

Belen Villalonga (’01)

Professor of Management and Organizations, NYU Stern School of Business

First academic placement: Harvard Business School
Dissertation: 'Chop Shop' Valuation Models and the Diversification Discount

Belen Villalonga has written numerous articles on how family ownership and control influence the management and governance of firms as well as their performance. Her award-winning research has been published in leading academic journals and cited over 750 times in academic publications, and has been featured in CNBC, NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist, Expansion, Financial Times, Forbes, International Herald Tribune and many other international business publications. Since 2006, Villalonga has served as an independent director on the board of Acciona, a family-controlled Fortune Global 500 company in the infrastructure and renewable energy businesses.