MBA Programs Show Increased Emphasis on Business Ethics

By Catherine Groux
Posted September 26, 2011 02:36 PM

Many MBA programs stress the importance of business ethics.
Many MBA programs stress the importance of business ethics.
In the wake of the recent recession, the instructors of many master of business administration (MBA) degree programs began to realize that if their students were to change the course of the nation, they needed to have a broader perspective. USA Today reports that frequently, this new approach involves emphasizing ethics and the importance of treating employees and the public fairly.

Harvard Business School is just one of the many institutions across the country that believe ethics are an important part of an MBA program. Since 2004, the university has required all students to take courses such as Leadership and Corporate Accountability, the USA Today article notes. According to David A. Garvin, a business administration professor at the school, this class teaches students about the ethical responsibility they have to act for the good of future customers, stakeholders and employees.

Additionally, Harvard Business School played a significant role in founding the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at the university, according to the school's website. Currently, faculty from the center remain involved in teaching required ethics courses at the business school, as well as participating in research and publishing initiatives.

Officials from the Aspen Institute have also noted the increase in ethics as an important part of MBA curricula. Similar to the USA Today, the institute stated in a press release that this change largely began during the economic downtown.

"There are more courses than ever before with content on social, ethical and environmental issues, more courses about the role of business as a positive agent for change, more exposure of students to this content, and more research published by faculty on relevant topics," said Judith Samuelson, executive director of the institute's business and society program.

In order to highlight the many colleges and universities across the nation that stress the importance of ethics, the Aspen Institute creates the Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey biennially. This report ranks full-time MBA programs that give students the "social, environmental, ethical and economic perspectives required for business success," according to its website.

The recently released 2011-2012 Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey named the Stanford Graduate School of Business number one in the U.S., followed by the University of Notre Dame and Yale School of Management. Other schools featured on the U.S. list include Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and Cornell University.

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