Kids Cheat Just Like Their Business Role Models Do

From the article:

A friend wrote me last week to say how troubled she was by this stunner from her 19-year-old: The freshman at a private liberal-arts college told her mom that cheating on exams was standard operating procedure at school, and that she fully expected that cheating would be an everyday thing once she got into the workplace, too.

“To really get ahead, and get what you want in the business world, it is absolutely necessary to cheat,” the student told her horrified mother. Forgo a chance to cheat and you’re foolishly transferring a perfectly good opportunity to some other cheater who will reap the benefits, she said.

Though she’s years from gainful employment, the young woman has something in common with lots of people already securing a paycheck in the job world.

Read the rest of the article here.

UK Business schools put ethics high on MBA agenda

It’s good to see a renewed emphasis on ethics in UK business schools. But what about here in the US? Read the article here.

As the bodies responsible for teaching so many of the “masters of the universe” who did so much to cause last year’s economic meltdown, it is perhaps not surprising that business schools have spent the past year doing some serious soul-searching about their culpability for the recession.

Go back to the 1980s and 1990s, when many of today’s corporate leaders were studying for their MBAs, and business ethics and sustainability – in other words, issues around corporate governance, social responsibility and long-term decision-making – played ­little part in business school curricula.

Pre-credit crunch, the need for MBAs to be “ethical” as well as show you how to fast-track your career and make a load of cash was not that high on the agenda, concedes Mark Stoddard, accreditation projects manager of the Association of MBAs (Amba).

“Schools have recognised there have been gaps and they have needed to make changes in the way MBAs are taught,” he says. “Three to four years ago you might have got students complaining about having to take ethics courses. You don’t now.”

Read more…

Allegations against U of Phoenix persist

Marketplace and ProPublica
Sharona Coutts and Amy Scott
This two-part series looks at recruiting practices at for-profit schools, particularly the University of Phoenix. You can read part of the transcript, get links for more information and listen to the stories here.

MICHELE RAMBO: My name is Michele Rambo, and I live in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Rambo signed up at the University of Phoenix in Dallas a few years ago.

RAMBO: I did tell them that I was pregnant and they were like, oh, well that just solves everything, you know, you qualify for a grant, you’re covered. And I’m like, so I don’t have to pay anything? And they told me no.

Classes went well. She got good grades. She was almost finished with her associate degree when a school counselor called about moving her on to a bachelor’s program.

RAMBO: And one of the questions that she asked me completely stopped the whole conversation. She had asked me, so what kind of loan do you have?

Rambo thought she didn’t have a loan. But when she enrolled, she signed what she thought was a form inquiring about federal aid.

Turns out it was an application for loans that’ll cost her $18,000 when she graduates.

RAMBO: It was scary. It still is scary. I’m still scared. I still don’t even know what I’m going to do yet.

So how could this happen?

It turns out the enrollment counselors at the University of Phoenix get paid in part based on how many students they recruit. The university’s negotiating the settlement of a lawsuit that claims employees were pressured to sign people up.

Read more…

MBAs get schooled in ethics

David A. Kaplan
Good article in Fortune about how business schools may be getting the message about the need for more ethics training. Read the article here.

Rod Kramer thought it was going to be just another dinner at the Stanford Executive Program last summer.

An affable, popular professor at the business school, he had given his usual talks on influence and persuasion in the realms of politics and business.

Then came the wrap-up social event. But the wife of an important corporate executive — “with the help of some wine,” as Kramer recalls — lit into him “for not teaching morality to MBA students.”

That failure, she told him and then told him some more, was the cause of the global financial meltdown. It was an illustration, says Kramer, currently a visiting professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, of how much “disenchantment” there is about MBAs these days.

Indicting business schools and management education has become a blood sport. “If Robespierre were to ascend from hell and seek out today’s guillotine fodder,” wrote Philip Delves Broughton in a widely cited piece in the Sunday Times of London earlier this year, “he might start with a list of those with three incriminating initials beside their name: MBA.”

Read more…

Boston Business School Offers Master’s in Ethics

Boston Globe
Sean Sposito
Read the article here.

The New England College of Business and Finance is hoping to carve out a new niche by offering a master’s degree in business ethics and compliance.

The Boston school, which caters mainly to about 650 adults doing online course work, says the degree is a first, and was conceived partly in response to the rash of financial world scandals in recent years.

There are about 20 students enrolled in the program, which began in January, according to Howard E. Horton, the college’s president, but over the next 12 months he expects enrollment to grow to about 100. The degree program, which is taught exclusively online, lasts 15 months and features courses such as Governance, Ethics and Compliance, the Culture of Ethics and Competition, and Conducting Internal Investigations.

Read more…

Harvard Business School Students Take Ethics Oath

The Harvard Crimson
William N. White
The goal is that half the class will sign it?

As they prepare to graduate on Thursday, many second-year Harvard Business School students have signed a pledge to act ethically in the business world.

Over 335 Harvard students had signed the pledge, known as the MBA Oath, as of yesterday afternoon, according to organizer Maxwell F. Anderson, a graduating business student. Anderson’s goal is to have 50 percent of the class—or 450 students—sign before graduation on Thursday.

Read more…

This Huffington Post article contains the full text of the oath.

B-Schools Still Seeking Ways to Stress Ethics
Ronald J. Alsop
April 12, 2005
Read the article here.

A modern morality play opened recently on Broadway — not in the theater district, but way uptown at Columbia University. Before an audience of Columbia M.B.A. students, actors performed “Scenes from the Slippery Slope,” in which an investment banker is pressured to falsify expense accounts to conceal his boss’s extramarital affair. At pivotal points in the mini-drama, actors called on students to advise the ethically challenged young man.

The presentation was part of Columbia’s latest effort to infuse ethics into the M.B.A. program in an engaging way, a process that’s proving to be a slippery slope itself for business schools. Three years after coming under attack for their M.B.A. graduates’ involvement in the many corporate scandals, schools are still grappling with how to teach ethics more effectively.

“Ethics isn’t getting a whole lot more substantive attention at many schools,” says Craig Smith, associate dean at London Business School, which requires both full-time and executive M.B.A. students to study ethics. “It’s often just an elective offering at best, arguably preaching to the converted.”

Even as corporate executives are being held to ever-higher standards of conduct, M.B.A. students and professors bristle at ethics requirements. Some faculty members resent being forced to squeeze ethics lessons into an already jam-packed syllabus, while students grumble that ethics classes tend to be preachy and philosophical. At Carnegie Mellon University, some students even object to a required ethics course because they contend it doesn’t matter to corporate recruiters and won’t help them land jobs.

Are Business Schools Silent Partners in Corporate Crime?

Diane L. Swanson Kansas State University, USA
William C. Frederick University of Pittsburgh, USA

Read the article here.

An unexplored question is the link between corporate misdeeds and the nation’s business schools. Although policy-makers in Washington have now changed the rules for stock options and 401K plans, they have not yet investigated business schools as possibly unwitting accomplices to corporate crimes. This oversight seems odd, since the executive managers of the scandal-ridden firms and their partners in crime, some holding MBA degrees, may reflect an approach to business education that elevates narrow self-interest above broader values of community and corporate citizenship. This ideology was never very far from the minds of the executive carpetbaggers who stole from their own companies, wiped out employee pensions and made distrust of business a national byword. In the aftermath of this wholesale robbery, members of the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in the USA have maintained an inexplicable silence. Behind their wall of quietude, these deans of colleges of business who set the standards for business school curricula worldwide are proposing wobbly new accreditation guidelines that will do little to head off a new generation of MBAs who are at risk of Enron-like behaviour.

Read more…