Charles Corbett joined the UCLA Anderson School of Management faculty in 1996 and holds a joint appointment at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
A hallmark of Corbett’s research approach is adapting perspectives and methods from other disciplines. Early in his career, Corbett was one of the first researchers to model the conflicting interests of supply chain participants using game theory. He is among the pioneers studying sustainability in operations and supply chains, which continues to be his main focus.
“There’s a growing interest in environmental and social ‘behaviors’ or strategies,” Corbett says. “I’d like to see a lot more focus on quantitative measurement of environmental and social impacts in the academic literature.” Working with London-based CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the leading collector of data on firms’ greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies, Corbett and colleagues analyzed the carbon footprint in global supply chains of large firms to identify opportunities for cleaner, more sustainable processes. “Just measuring something like carbon footprint will often lead to improvements,” he says.
Appointed in 2020 as Anderson’s faculty vice chair, Corbett was the founding faculty director of Anderson’s Easton Technology Leadership Program (now the Easton Technology Management Center) and of the award-winning interdisciplinary UCLA Leaders in Sustainability graduate certificate program. He served as associate dean of the MBA program and, from 2009 to 2012, as faculty chairman and deputy dean for academic affairs at UCLA Anderson. “Playing a role in managing an organization as complex as a business school has certainly further enhanced my appreciation of the challenges executives face every day.”
Corbett was co-department editor for operations management at Management Science between 2017 and 2020 and served as editor-in-chief of Foundations and Trends in Technology, Information and Operations Management from 2008 to 2020.
Corbett has worked with teams of MBA students to study emerging areas such as green building, carbon footprinting in global firms and eco-labeling, and with Ph.D. students on many of his research projects. In the classroom, Corbett’s objective is to get students to think about processes. “There’s a very strong connection in my mind between quality of management in general and good understanding of operations and processes. And the beauty of operations is that some things don’t change.”
In spring 2020, during the initial spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., Corbett offered an elective on how the pandemic affects supply chain risk management, to provide students an opportunity to digest what was happening in the world. “We actually overestimate the likelihood of big disruptions, but we also underprepare,” he says. “That’s what we saw with COVID-19. If you build a more agile supply chain, that’s good no matter what.”
Ph.D. Production and Operations Management, 1996, INSEAD
Drs. Operations Research, (M.Sc. equivalent) 1992, Erasmus University