MBA Ethics

A lot of what I read about recently has focused on the MBA Oath that the Class of 2009 is trying to get instituted. Some people see this as something that should have been in place a long time ago, making an MBA more like a doctor’s oath, or a lawyer’s oath. Others defend the B-schools by saying that it won’t matter and this is a mere publicity stunt to clear the name of the MBA.

My thoughts? Well, being a cynical person I would probably lean towards the latter explanation. An oath is not going to stop someone from doing something unethical, only that person can stop him or herself from engaging in such activities. Adding an oath, or a few ethics courses to the cirirculum of B-school isn’t going to help as much as some would have you believe. I don’t think ethics are something that can really be taught. You either make an ethical decision or you don’t, very simple. A person’s upbringing probably has more an affect on the ethical behavior of a person than does any business ethics course. Every person, whether they have an MBA or not, must make decisions in life about how to live. Choose to do the right things in life and at your job and this stigma will go away, oath or no oath. Thoughts?


3 Responses

  1. Very true. If the oath was legally binding, there would be a practical basis for following up on offenders and making them accountable. But by taking a verbal oath, what does one prove or hope to establish?

    People who want to game the system will continue doing so by pushing the boundaries of what defines “acceptable” and “ethical” behaviour.

    They say its difficult to change as one grows older. Considering most people in B-School are in their higher 20s, where is the scope to change them: either through courses or oaths?

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself (although I suppose I tried to and you put it much more eloquently).

    Thanks for the comment…and love the name. Philly guy, or just a fan?

  3. Indian guy. Fan. Fellow 2012 applicant as well.

    We will keep in touch. Your writing is fantastic!

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