A new trend among MBA students (one which might surprise you) has emerged in recent years. Many future business leaders are voluntarily pledging to act responsibly and ethically, to uphold truth and integrity, and to view businesses as more than just money-making organizations.
Interest in ethics courses and student activities concerned with corporate responsibility has significantly grown. Students at Columbia formed a Leadership and Ethics Board that holds lectures about business and ethics. Ten years ago, Wharton had one ethics class that was required. Now, there are seven professors teaching several ethics course offerings that are popular among students. Wharton has also had the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research since 1997.
Recent graduates are growing more concerned with corporate social responsibility. This is not to say that graduates will not be interested in high-paying jobs at big companies, but they’ll think about how they earn their income and how corporations impact the environment, the community, and their employees’ quality of life.
So who’s taking the pledge, and how? Here are examples of how students at two of the top business schools are promising to be ethical in business.
- Around 20 percent of Harvard Business School’s graduating class have signed “The MBA Oath,” a voluntary pledge to act responsibly and ethically in business practices.
- Students at Columbia Business School must pledge to an honor code that states: “As a lifelong member of the Columbia Business School community, I adhere to the principles of truth, integrity, and respect. I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”
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