The program trains students to analyze a firm's response to its environment and its competitors. It combines strong theory development with rigorous empirical methods to develop cutting-edge research on important questions in business strategy. Ph.D. candidates complete a series of core classes that introduce students to the core fields in strategic management and frontier research in a number of different fields, including competitive strategy, innovation, intellectual property, non-market strategy, global strategy, organization theory, entrepreneurship and market institutions. Students work with our faculty from the beginning of the program to learn how to conduct strong and impactful research. Students often choose to integrate strategic management with other disciplines, such as finance, entrepreneurship, technology management, political science, psychology and sociology.
Our program is differentiated from other top Ph.D. programs in a number of ways. The faculty expertise spans a broad theoretical base - encompassing economics, psychology, sociology, political science and statistics - with an inclination toward strong training in methods. We believe that this combination is required to produce well-trained students who will be able to grow intellectually over the course of their careers and, more immediately, obtain an academic appointment at a top business school. This allows students to select a level of analysis for their dissertation that conforms to their interests and strengths while also allowing them to conduct research on the cutting edge of interesting questions in strategy.
Examples of areas students can specialize are the following:
- Competitive strategy
- Innovation and entrepreneurship
- Behavioral and human resources strategy
- Non-market strategy and corporate social responsibility
Faculty mentors will be assigned when students enter the program, and students will work closely with faculty members in your specialization from the early stage of their program.
One or two advanced doctoral seminars are usually offered each year. Until advancement to candidacy, students will enroll in all seminar courses offered by faculty. Doctoral students may enroll in courses in the Anderson School or elsewhere on campus to develop the substantive background needed to complete a dissertation in their area of interest. These include, but are not limited to, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, game theory, statistics, organizational behavior, economic sociology, psychology, behavioral decision-making, marketing, operations, law and political science.
Students sit for a field examination administered by the Strategy area faculty. Regardless of their initial preparation for the Ph.D. program, students must sit for and pass the field examination by the end of the third year in the program. It is expected that most students will pass these exams one year before the respective deadlines.
UCLA Anderson has an active faculty seminar series which are open to the public. Distinguished researchers from other universities present recent work. The Strategy area hosts several of these colloquia each term. For a list of past and future speakers, click here.
Our student-run seminars exist exclusively for Anderson and Strategy Ph.D. students. They present their current research and receive feedback. With no faculty in attendance, your peers critique your work and become invaluable, supportive colleagues and friends in the process.
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These seminars provide the opportunity to defend your work, receive research and career feedback, and influence others’ work lives. With the toughest audiences you will ever face, this experience is all about preparing you for your professional life and positioning you for candidacy as a faculty member at one of the world’s highest caliber institutions.