Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions that are not answered below, please email us at info@mbaoath.org

  1. What is the MBA Oath? What is its purpose?
  2. Why should I take the MBA Oath?
  3. What does it mean if I sign the MBA Oath?
  4. Is the MBA Oath voluntary or mandatory for graduation?
  5. Who created the MBA Oath?
  6. Why did they create the MBA Oath?
  7. How will signing the Oath make a difference?
  8. How will this impact my career if I am entering an industry frequently in the “grey zone?”
  9. Who can sign the MBA Oath?
  10. Is the MBA Oath legally binding?
  11. How can we get others to sign the MBA Oath?
  12. How do you plan to enforce this?
  13. Do you need an MBA to take this Oath? If so, why?
  14. Is the Oath language, structure, and mission set in stone?
  15. Why are names of those who take this Oath listed on your website?
  16. Is it possible to take the Oath and sign up but not be listed on the website?
  17. What is the purpose of an accountability partner?
  18. Who defines or judges whether certain actions fit within the pledge?
  19. Can a future employer ask why I am not on this list? Should I feel pressured to sign up for fear that not-signing up would be strong negative signal?
  20. How can I get involved?
  1. What is the MBA Oath? What is its purpose? The MBA Oath was created to make a real impact on the meaning of the MBA degree and on the role people expect business to play in society. While other professions have certain guiding principles/pledges that are administered at graduation or after passing certain professional examinations, this does not presently exist for business school students.  The students who designed the MBA Oath believe the purpose of the Oath is to set a new standard for how people conduct business in the future. top
  2. Why should I take the MBA Oath? The MBA Oath serves as a unified agreement to hold each other to high ethical business standards and can also provide a reference point for our own beliefs over time. It is also an opportunity to reflect and discuss with your classmates what type of an impact you want to have in the world before graduation. top
  3. What does it mean if I sign the MBA Oath? If you sign the MBA Oath, you join a group of like-minded MBA students who believe in a greater purpose for society that the MBA is designed to serve.  It also means that you believe in and agree to uphold the tenets of the Oath. By filling out the form on this page, your name will be added to a public roll of signatories back to the Oath’s founding in 2009. 
    top
  4. Is the MBA Oath voluntary or mandatory for graduation? The MBA Oath is established to be a voluntary pledge that graduating MBA students can opt to sign. It is not meant to be mandatory. We believe that the Oath will have more meaning if the participation is self-driven by those who have considered thoughtfully the tenets of the Oath and agree to conduct business in a manner that adheres to the Oath. top
  5. Who created the MBA Oath? The MBA Oath was created by a grass-roots movement of 2009 graduates at Harvard Business School. It was inspired in part by practices at other business schools, including Columbia Business School’s honor code and Thunderbird School of Global Management’s Oath of Honor, as well as the writings of Harvard Business School faculty Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria. 
    top
  6. Why did they create the MBA Oath? Facing an economy reeling from the 2008 financial crisis – a crisis in which MBAs had played a pivotal role – the group at HBS conceived of the Oath as a way to help reposition the perception of MBA graduates within business and society and to stake a claim for a higher standard of ethical, responsible business leadership. Since 2009, thousands of students at hundreds of business schools around the world have taken the Oath. top
  7. How will signing the Oath make a difference? By signing the Oath, especially as a large group representing a your graduating class, we can unite behind these principles and present a strong, principled commitment to ethical business and leadership in the industries we are about to enter. This commitment can, over time, help to change the way business is done. top
  8. How will this impact my career if I am entering an industry frequently in the “grey zone?” No matter where we work, ethical decision making is important. By taking the Oath, we pledge to actively weigh the trade-offs we will face as we make professional decisions and to stay true to our own values throughout our careers. You will know what that means for you and your own values – the Oath is no more (and no less) than a commitment to approach those important decisions thoughtfully and consciously. top
  9. Who can sign the MBA Oath? The students behind the MBA Oath envision that, over time, all graduating students from accredited MBA-granting institutions having the opportunity to sign this Oath. The online pledge form is open to all, and we encourage other business schools to expand the pool of students signing on to the Oath. top
  10. Is the MBA Oath legally binding? The MBA Oath is not intended to be a legal document but rather to serve as a code of conduct and a set of career principles. top
  11. How can we get others to sign the MBA Oath? Please pass this website and information along to your friends, classmates, and other graduating MBA students. top
  12. How do you plan to enforce this? The current structure of this organization is not intended to be a regulatory body and therefore will not be participating in any enforcement actions. It will not be making judgments as to who can have their name remain on the MBA Oath list based any specific actions. The intent is for individuals to hold themselves and their peers to a higher standard.  top
  13. Do you need an MBA to take this Oath? If so, why? The MBA Oath was designed to apply specifically to graduating MBA students. One of the purposes of the MBA Oath is to raise the bar on what the MBA degree means and what the management profession should hold itself accountable to.  Also, it is meant to offer a new way for graduating MBA students to think about their approach to conducting business.  We understand many managers in the business world that do not have an MBA; it is not the intent of this organization to set a standard for all. top
  14. Is the Oath language, structure, and mission set in stone? While the organization believes that the current Oath is an appropriate representation of what the grass-roots movement of students behind the Oath want to aspire to, it also realizes that the Oath will evolve over time with the input of the many signatories involved. top
  15. Why are names of those who take this Oath listed on your website? We believe that the act of making a public statement allows each student who signs to send a strong signal to the community at large about their level of commitment to following the MBA Oath standards throughout their career. top
  16. Is it possible to take the Oath and sign up but not be listed on the website? At this time, we believe strongly that those students who want to sign the MBA Oath should do so publicly in order to be accountable and take a pro-active and outward decision to improve the world through business. Thus, all students signing the MBA Oath will be listed on the website. top
  17. What is the purpose of an accountability partner? The organization behind the MBA Oath sees value in all MBA Oath signees lining up an accountability partner to help ensure that they are holding each other to a higher standard. Many ethical decisions in management, whether in business, government, or non-profit, are not 100% clear, and we believe having an accountability partner will help ensure that each person’s decisions are made in accordance to the principles of the MBA Oath. top
  18. Who defines or judges whether certain actions fit within the pledge? Business ethics and appropriate behaviors in today’s complex environment are naturally difficult to define with a hard and fast set of rules.  The MBA Oath was established as set of principles to provide guidance for the many decisions that managers face on a daily basis. The people who will judge the actions are both the individual signee as well as accountability partners or other mentors. top
  19. Can a future employer ask why I am not on this list? Should I feel pressured to sign up for fear that not signing up would be strong negative signal? The list is not currently to be used for any candidate screening purposes. We acknowledge that certain people may have high ethical standards but for whatever reason may choose not to take the MBA Oath. It is an individual choice. However we believe that the MBA Oath represents a set of principles that, while challenging, should be nearly universal aspirations for managers. top
  20. How can I get involved? Thank you for your interest! More than 40 campuses in a dozen countries have led MBA Oath initiatives. If you would like to become a leader, email us at info@mbaoath.org and tell us who you are and how you’re interested in helping. We’ll get in touch with you and help you get started. top