Business Values in a Connected World
Guest Blogger: Harper Mac
There’s not a lot of doubt in my mind that “the smartest guys in the room” at Enron had issues with low self-esteem. They were successful, supremely respected by their peers, and where it counted, trusted with the fortunes and lives of thousands, at least. These executives didn’t just become destructive forces all at once, and no one knows for certain at what point their moral compasses became demagnetized, but for future generations of executives, universities can play a role in keeping graduates of their respective business schools heading to True North.
Many institutes of higher education have initiated requirements for business students to take at least a single course in ethics prior to graduation. Some now can brag that they’ve had such mandated classes for years, while others scoff at the notion, citing the mountains of paper containing company standards of conduct and ethical codes that abounded at many of the most infamously fraud-bound firms in history. This is not to say that the effort to tie honest business values to the art of running successful companies isn’t worthy, but it does speak to the limitations of such notions.
The Internet, as we know it today, which is to say from the 1994 introduction of the “modern” browser Netscape Navigator, has truly made the world a dramatically smaller place. Today, business majors come, not just right from high school, but from the working world, advancing their careers with an online MBA or night classes at traditional business schools and their satellite campuses. The opportunity for this increasingly normal means of instructional delivery to instill in future executives how their actions depend upon and affect people they’ve never met in locations they’ve never visited is promising.
Building a better compass
To be pragmatic, MBA students need to learn volumes of new information and at a very fast pace in order to be ready to take their places in modern firms. However, this doesn’t exclude the teaching of all of these subjects and skills beyond the context of gaining a deep understanding of the interconnectedness one has with the rest of the world. Running a profitable bottom line is not inconsistent with conducting business in a moral, ethical fashion. Leaving college with a clear picture of the influence your business actions have on a multitude of related circles isn’t a panacea against fraudulent behavior, but the more MBAs, who leave university with such an awareness, the greater the potential that these grads will go on to lead divisions, companies, and major firms.
About the Author
Harper Mac loves to write about education. Making time to study and play with her children can be difficult to balance. She feels as if finding the balance is very important to personal health. She loves to learn more about eco-friendly living in her spare time.