In the comment box below, please share your feelings about the MBA Oath and why it is meaningful to you. We want to provide an outlet for signers of the oath to express their convictions about ethics in business, making management a profession, and the duties of MBAs to society. Please note that this is a public forum.
I took the oath to commit myself to something greater than just having an MBA with all the benefits and privileges. We all impact everyone around us every day. I would like to execute well at making decisions that consider every input and output with a mind for continuous improvement for as many people as possible. In the end, it is all about relationships.
My oath is important to me because I have not only worked very hard to get my MBA but have worked to overcome a lot of adversities in my life and strove to become a better person. I want people to view someone with an MBA as a business leader, not someone out for their own gain.
The MBA oath re-focusses our moral compass on responsibility and accountability.
The MBA program is there to allow leaders from all walks of life the opportunity to add sustainable value to life and possibly inspire/influence a greater entrepreneurial spirit within the societies we work and live in. The test will be to see whether we have the improved competencies to apply and articulate ourselves to the impoverished society amongst us.
This oath is a very personal committment. I worked very hard to complete the MBA program at Keller. I promise to demonstrate the highest ethics in all of my business affairs.
I promise to honor this oath.
I pledge to follow the MBA Oath, just as I have pledged to follow the Hippocratic Oath. With great opportunity comes great responsibility, to serve selflessly, to create and share, and to improve the world in which we live. My conviction to manage fairly and ethically is just as strong as my conviction to take care of the sick and suffering. I am grateful for the chance to join this community.
I have always felt honesty and integrity to be a vital part of who I am. The oath is a visible statement of what I feel we all should be. I am happy to attach my name to an endeavor that encourages integrity in the business environment.
I came across your site, i think your blog is interesting, keep working !
As business leader from a foreign country, I must preserve the integrity and rights of followers in order to improve performance and responsibility. LL-Quito -Ecuador.
The MBA Oath serves as my backbone. Knowing that I selected to become an MBA graduate I have come to value and live by this oath. Having a foundation of ethical and straight forward direction helps me envision my future career path. With the knowledge imparted in me by Keller I feel closer to my dream of becoming a CMA.
In our society today we see more and more people act in a way that while it might benefit them, hurts others. People seem to think that they are the only ones that matter. This makes me extremely sad, and it is my aim to make my life an example for these people, and to make them realize that consideration of others is not only necessary, but gives the doer a fulfilling life.
As an MBA and business leader I am in a position of influence. I have been given tools for creating and capitalizing on opportunities. My responsibility is to improve the lives of those around me through the jobs I provide; the products I produce; the example I set, and the time and money I give. It is a privilege I will never take lightly.
The MBA oath will serve as a reminder of what leaders should strive for. Simply put maintain ethical integrity above all else.
“People with integrity clearly
stand for something bigger than
themselves—a purpose, or a
core set of values and ideals—
their actions honestly reflect
—The Leadership Secrets of
Colin Powell by Oren Harari
This is why I have signed the MBA Oath. If we all elevate each other to higher standards this would be a different world. I am honored to support this movement.
MBA’s shape our policies, our economy, our society and our very environment. Accordingly, the MBA Oath represent a paramount and long required set of principles that holds this influential group to a high and required a level of accountability.
I have signed this oath because as a former UN employee I have seen how unethical behaviour undermines development and destroys livelihoods in the developing countries. I blew the whistle on widespread fraud and corruption in the United Nations Development Programme in 2006 and was finally vindicated in 2010.
These are the values and principles we should remember and also remind others all the time.
lack of ethics and values are the core of the current world crisis, we can make the difference
I strongly believe that we MBA graduates need to take the initiatives to change things for good. I have promised myself that all the decision I will take, personal and business-related, should not harm others. Being an MBA graduate gives me the opportunity to influence the world how it is today, and I take this responsibility very seriously. I think it is up to everyone to act responsible, but graduate students should even go further.
I took the oath because I strongly believe that we are part of a new generation of MBAs who set their values as the main driver in their lives rather than just career or profit (which still matter a lot today, don’t misread me). I would like to comment the 3 objectives set by the MBA oath:
1) Make a difference in the lives of MBAs who take the oath
Absolutely – why not turn it into a network in which each of us can express themselves (how we make a difference everyday, what challenges we face…) with rounds of conferences and debates ?
2) Challenge other MBAs to work with a higher professional standard, whether they sign the oath or not
I believe we can inspire other people to follow the same path and we would most probably need, at some point, to take the oath to the firm level so that in a particular business context, those collaborators who feel like it can commit themselves to following a set of values that would integrate the firm’s culture and its needs
3) Create a public conversation in the press about professionalizing and improving management
This is, I guess, the easiest goal to achieve and I encourage my friends to take part in this initiative so that this oath can have a maximum impact on the public opinion
Business is not only about making money. It’s time we starting acting accordingly and consciously commit to this belief!
I decided to sign because the Oath is a commitment and words have power. I also agree that it is always good to remember important values and I hope the Oath and its reminders will have that power. Finally, given recent events and statements in the media, I would like to add that although I support the Oath initiative I believe that ethics is learned through life, so the Oath for MBAs may help, but something has to be done at earlier stages in society in general.
I believe to some values not registered in Wall Street, with an incredible ROI, always positive never affected by economical crisis….Human values. I think that today and tomorrow all the more so, we couldn’t do business without ethical rules, without any mutual respect, without any trust, without sharing profits and losses if wewant to win money, to make progress or get higher results. Do you really believe that strategies or businessplans, where we ‘d do business with anybody, distrussing the same anybody, swindling him, stealing him, are efficient ? Me not.
” Beware of those who are crazy enough to tell you that they’re going to change the world. Usually, they do it.” Steeve Jobs
Response Ability, it’s a choice.
Corruption and greed are prevalent in our society. Integrity is lacking. Without a steadfast commitment to the honorable conduct envisioned by the oath, our children and grandchildren will not be granted the rights and freedoms of their forefathers.
It is important that today’s MBAs are re-informed and re-iterated about the importance of adhering to fundamental ethics and values which have been taught to them in business school. It is sad to see students and entrepreneurs graduating from so-called top business schools, and to safeguard their personal interests and business interest, they breach, violate all the possible ethical boundaries which are universally accepted. I hope some of them, to whom I have forwarded this email, do a reality check and start following these principles from now on at least. Its great to see such a gesture made on a global footprint.
It would be great one day if we could measure business success by the extent to which a company makes the world a better place. Maybe the Oath is a step in that direction.
These values should be practiced by every professional that engages in any business activity, not only by MBA’s. The oath should include anyone whose decisions could potentially affect other stakeholders.
The legal structure of a corporation as a seperate moral entity that confers a limited liability to its managers can encourage the dissociation between the actions one might take as a manager and one’s personal morals. This is how a good man can captain a doubtful organisation. As a personnal commitment to business ethics, I think that an MBA oath is an ideal way for a leader of tomorrow’s world to reconcile the values that will guide his life with the values that will manage his company.
Like all oaths, the only way this will helps our society is that we practice by what we sign. Doctors, lawyers, and any other profession that has a code of ethics or oath can only be affective if the signer put aside personal interests for the greater good. We read and hear too many stories where corruption infiltrates our enterprises. It’s time each and everyone take responsibility for our actions and become better leaders in our society. If we personally do this we can collectively make a difference.
I see the Oath as means to a fruitful discussion about individual conduct, business ethics and triple bottom line management rather than just a matter of signing up or not. The latter has too many skeptics who are more against the idea of an Oath than the actual content. So, using the Oath as a starting point for a qualifying discussion is in my view worth much more in the long run than a never ending argue of whether or not to sign.
At Copenhagen Business School we have initiated this discussion successfully and also use the debate to support the creation of a student code of conduct that will prepare the students for the Oath discussion and better qualify their decisions for or against such an effort.
I was really on the fence about creating my own business development firm until I read this book. It was the catalyst that propelled my decision that it was never about starting a business but as to what purpose that business would serve. I am now in the process of that endeavor which will be committed to moral and ethical progress and best business practices. I no longer said to myself, “I’m going to be a millionaire.” Instead I will begin this journey saying to myself, ” I’m going to make a difference.”
As a recent Baruch MBA graduate, I strongly believe that being ethical is much more than “important,” it is a “critical, essential and non-negotiable” characteristic of an effective leader. Strong business ethics is a pillar of my strategic planning and strategic thinking business coaching efforts each and every day.
As a result of the financial crisis and the collapse of the Icelandic banking system, there is great disbelief in business leaders and capitalism in general. The oath gives us a foundation we can build on to regain trust in our society. If business leaders had lived by the oath we would not be in the situation we are today.
I believe very strongly that it is critical for organizations to be ethical and that will never happen unless and until individuals in business are ethical.
It is important for us in business to not to lose focus and wrongly believe that business is just about profit making. It is about serving the society and creating value for it. It is about treating every one fairly. It is about not fudging numbers and making incorrect statements for unfair benefit. It is about making appropriate disclosures as and when needed.
How often we close our eyes and ignore issues when we should be making noise? Aren’t we all a part of the malpractices when we keep quiet and end up abetting them?
Let’s get together and make the world a better place to live in. A world where people don’t make money by creating and selling products and services that no one understands and then betting against them. Let’s make it fair.
Let’s sign up for the MBA oath and bring the issue of ethics in business on the table.
The movie “Wall Street” where “greed is good” was coined caused massive damage to a society that was already steeped in greed.
This book and the authors and participants are creating a movement that I feel is the most important movement of the decade and possibly the century. I am the inventor of the Spelling Check and Correction Technology. The country is in the chokehold of massive fraud and corruption over the last decade by LEADERs of the nations largest corporations. But it is not only the leaders, it is pandemic over so many and the MBA oath must be taken by all not only MBAs. Thank you for signing..
Indeed the MBA Oath does matters:
Now more than ever as we see the world of business struggling with the effects of excess that has led to the recession impacting the lives of many individuals, communities and countries of the world. Climate change too is clearly an effect of business excess aimed at exploiting the natural resources of the world. This is clearly unsustainable for the planet, for our communities and our families. In short it is unsustainable business contrary to what the MBA taught.
Again, now more than ever the MBA oath does matter.
Businesses are about people, not road-kill. We are all connected. Our actions affect our peers, the community, and the environment. I sign the Oath today to join the growing network of MBAs who are shouting a resounding “NO” to business as usual.
Remember that it is not only business that creates the wealth that can drive a successful society, but also a successful society that creates the environment that allows a business to grow. Remember your stakeholders. Remember the next generation. And remember that our planet is a partner in economic development and not an obstacle to be conquered.
The MBA oath is something unstated all these years but was being followed. We are making it more visible to ourselves & the society. We are making ourselves accountable & also understand the direction whenever we loose it.
From our MBA to the Business World…
I’m closing in on 40 years since I received my MBA. The transition to the business world from the classroom is still a clear moment in my life as is the values I have carreid with me. The MBA oath, which I have freely and enthusiastically taken, reminds me of the purpose of leadership in the business world.
I already posted on the subject, but I just thought I’d add something – Does it strike anyone else as odd that this site is promoting a book? I wouldn’t say that’s bad exactly, but it’s kind of funny – good ole America, never missing a chance to make a buck. “Every great movement has a founding document” I would say the movement to be a better business leader was already in motion. The movement to sign up to abide by the law is new, and hey why not make some money off it and convince schools to sign up and visit this page where they promote a book about it?
“A Godly Leader finds strength by realizing his weakness, finds authority by being under authority, finds direction by laying down his own plans, finds vision by seeing the needs of others, finds credibility by being an example, finds loyalty by expressing compassion, finds honor by being faithful, finds greatness by being a servant.” ~ Roy Lessin
“Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents. They are not self-centered; they concentrate on the constituent. . . Leaders serve a purpose and the people who have made it possible for them to lead . . . . In serving a purpose, leaders strengthen credibility by demonstrating that they are not in it for themselves; instead, they have the interests of the institution, department, or team and its constituents at heart. Being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take responsibility for the vision and direction of their organization or team, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks.” ~ by James Kouzes and Barry Posner in Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.
“If leadership serves only the leader, it will fail. Ego satisfaction, financial gain, and status can all be valuable tools for a leader, but if they become the only motivations, they will eventually destroy a leader. Only when service for a common good is the primary purpose are you truly leading.” ~ Sheila Murray Bethel, Making a Difference: 12 Qualities That Make You a Leader.
More than just flying over the clouds of the global crysis, we must share a very serious compromise with transparency, clear objectives and soft skills that rebuild a road / pavement of Solutions. Not just business ways. Also personal leadership within others. Create value not just for ourselves or our businesses.
This is a great start. A great start in bringing awareness of the ethical issues surrounding management today. A great start in bringing like minds together and publicly commit to make this world a better place for all. It is a great start in changing perceptions and the direction of MBA professions.
But this is only a start. Let’s make the ideals and promises of the oath a reality.
As both an MBA graduate, a current MBA educator and a businessman, I fully support this effort and will do my best to teach these principles in class as well as in business.
This oath allows people to pledge that they will “do no bad”, in essence asking them to abide by the law and a basic moral code. We should be pledging more than that. It is our duty to strive for positive social and environmental change through business, no matter the sector or industry. We are living in a time when we have to deal with the fallout from shareholder capitalism. I believe we need to look to a future of stakeholder capitalism – respecting our customers, our supply chain, or employees. We must not only use market forces to create social and environmental improvements, but look for failures in the market and apply our skills to identify solutions with cross-sector collaboration. We need to be humble enough to know that our line of work won’t solve all problems, and strong enough to accept our limitations. We need to be unselfish, strive to develop true understanding of other cultures and markets not to exploit them, but to create mutually beneficial business. Class of 2010, let’s help one another do good business, well.
The MBA Oath assigns public accountability for the inherent obligations to society of which we as leaders are bound. Each of us plays but a small part in humanity and history is a merciless judge of our decisions. Personally, I do not require this oath to guide my actions, but it does allow me to precisely and publicly declare my convictions.
I know we won’t change people right away. Conflict will always be present.
However, making this oath public and widely recognized is an important step towards greater advances for society as a whole.
I fervently hope that the leaders of today and tomorrow will be able to resist the temptation to destroy careers and lives, forever, just for greed or their own reputation or for their position the world. I expect also, they will be able to share equitably and fairly the values of their shareholders, colleagues, their business partners, communities that surround them, and especially the environment around them, all bearing in mind that we must work to grow the world in which we all live, for the betterment of all and sundry!
As a recent business school graduate, I am proud to put my name alongside the list of others who have signed the MBA oath. It is something that I believe in very strongly, and it’s message is one that I hope continues to spread to all across the country.
This oath embodies the characteristics that are necessary for all future leaders, business and otherwise. It is an example of our generation making leaps to build on and improve the past.
I feel that PUBLICLY making a commitment to something imbues it with a certain power which privately taking does not; hence our elected leaders take the oath of office in public. Personally, if I make a public announcement to complete something, even something as mundane as a 5K race, it makes it far more difficult to back out of that commitment than if I kept it to myself.
There are cynics who will say “it won’t make any difference” or “money has a lot of power too”. However, as Confucius said (I think it was him) “A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”
I recognize some of the values I cherish most : honesty toward others end myself, the search for truth sticking to reality, and as a manager, the will to developp people who depend on me.
Let’s our behavior just stick to the word of the oath, and this will change many things in the world
MBA Oath is an endorsement of values and ethics I have learned during my MBA program. As I have always believed empowering others is like empowering yourself. I will be resposible towads my profession, community and my innerself and all my action will ensure that there is no breach in the ethical values. I may not change the whole world but I will make sure all my actions contribute towards all those people actions who are united for the same cause. The ultimate objective is to work towards the stability of people lives as we have seen in recent times due to the actions of responsible business leaders who were greedy and unethical have costed people their jobs, homes, self esteem, families and so on.
This will probably represent the most major evolution in business education that we’ll see in our lifetimes. Greater recognition among business students of the need to conduct business in an ethical and responsible way, and what that entails, will change the way we perform our jobs in ways that teaching alone cannot achieve. The oath really captures everything that is important. I’m proud to sign my name!
I personally do not want to do business with any “business leader” who does not feel that he/she can keep this oath.
As leaders, we have sorely needed a shared moral compass point. By signing this oath we can shape business priorities to turn in that direction.
Although I believe most of our core values and ethics are formed at a pre-MBA age, it is great to see the focus of business schools including the concept of honor and service to society as a whole, not simply maximizing profitability…perhaps we’ll find that these two aspirations are not mutually exclusive.
I’m delighted to see that attention is being given where assumption prevailed.
As professional ethics was taught, I believe the oath acts as a conscious reminder for the continued development of organizational behavioral practices.
May higher guidance lead the way.
Simply amazed and proud to sign an oath that totally represents the spirit of what I’ve learned during my MBA and my personal approach to the life. Creation of value in the interest of the earth’s stakeholders is not only a human duty, but also a sustainable competitive advantage for the businesses that we will run. Doing that we’ll accomplish our goal of managers and entrepreneurs and meanwhile we will be in charge to improve our planet and our human growth. Totally convinced this is the one way direction to take! Thanks for the initiative: it’s simply awesome!
Class of 2009
Hult International Business School, Boston Campus.
Signing an oath such as this puts a tangible awareness to the level of integrity we are already committed to have. I am proud to be a part of this.
I like the notion of having an MBA Oath for everyone in business. However, I think every human being should take the Oath. I see the Oath as an outward expression of one’s internal value sytem – one’s moral compass. For over a decade, we have witnessed what happens when individuals put profit before people, short term gain before long term commitment, and task before relationship. It is time for everyone, regardless of profession or position, to commit to behaving with humility, mindfulness, compassion, and caring. It is time for all of us to bring wholeness into our daily practice by treating all human beings with dignity and integrity. Until we begin to hold each other in care and to act with a higher purpose in mind, we will encounter more of the same flawed behavior – in ourselves and in others. So having, taking, and keeping the Oath will be a good way to correct the wrongs that have been done.
Now some people have suggested that the Oath could only work if there was some level of credentialing – as a way to hold those in the business profession to a higher standard. This implies that, without external reinforcement or sanction, human beings lack the ability to hold fast to core values and virtue ethics. That is a sad state of affairs for us as human beings, considering that caring for each other was the norm rather than the exception just a few decades ago. As MBAs, we can commit to making a difference in both thoughts and deeds.
We must also let go of the belief that attending a top-tier MBA school will automatically make an individual a top notch leader. What and how we learn are just as important as what we value and how we treat one another – regardless of where we obtain an MBA degree. It’s a matter of character.
It’s a great privilege to add my name to those who have pledged before me, and the many who will pledge after. May we all advance the best interests of our small planet so that many generations may flourish for many millenia to come.
This is an excellent idea and was part of the graduation ceremony at Ivey for new MBA’s.
Well done. Let’s harness the power of business for economic AND social value creation.
Of all professions, I believe those tied to to an MBA education have the greatest potential to make positive societal change on a large, global scale. I firmly believe that business’s role in society is not to make profits, but rather to create goods and services that enrich the lives of other humans and the planet. This oath is a significant step in the right direction in terms of getting grads to enter the real world thinking like that.
The oath holds an immense symbolic significance. It is a gesture for emphasizing that we would continue to espouse ethical standards in our professional conduct. It is a committment to society, to our colleagues and friends, to our future generations and to ourselves. May its principles be a guide to us in our future pursuits.
For quite some time I wondered what are the characteristics that make a business profitable for society as a whole. It is in the search for personal significance that I have felt the urge to make a positive impact on our world through my work. Questioning what Ido, how Ido it, and who is affected by my work has been vital. Nevertheless, this questioning should not stop me from being entrepreneurial and pursuing financial material retribution from my work.
I congratulate this initiative, and have signed the MBA oath. I will print it in a nice font, frame it, and always have it near me so that I always remember that many people depend on my actions and decisions.
To be of service to more than just ourselves, to hold integrity in our hearts, to live as though something bigger than ourselves is happening, this is why the MBA oath is important. We can make money, that is not a problem. Can we make money in a way where we leave the people we interact with better off than before? Can we make money in a way where we seek to rejuvenate the ecosystems of the planet rather than destroy them?
I pledge to do all this.
Thanks to the MBAs at Harvard who brought this project about. It will likely outlast you and be one of the things you are remembered for.
The MBA Oath is the first step for me in preparing a challenging world to come in management level. Taking this MBA Oath gives me the freedom to be consistently professional. Integrity and code of ethics are my primary aspect in conducting a management level position.
This is a great step towards restoring the faith of the public and, frankly, my own faith in the system that we as MBA’s manage. A poignant move.
Great initiative! As a surgeon I totally support this initiative. There has been controversies on how to enforce the MBA Oath and what happens to those who violate it. It is a challenging problem. There are doctors who violate the Hippocratic Oath and breached the trust of patients. In medicine there are professional associations who oversee such offenses. Unfortunately, unlike medicine there is no credentialing required to practice business. Having an MBA professional association to oversee those members who took the Oath may be an idea..
Nonetheless, I hope that the MBA Oath will receive broad adoption. Good luck and look forward to following its progress!
Gilbert Tang, MD, MSc, MBA
I am thrilled to see that so many fellow MBAs are committed to sustainable and ethical business practices. In an age when corporations are more powerful than many nation-states, business leaders must accept the highest level of responsibility for their influence.
While this oath does not have the force of law, it should! Greed is and always has been the force that drives most of the people to the bottom while the greedy rise to the top of the economic ladder. Greed creates war and abuse of the very life giving planet we all occupy.
Let us hope that by taking this oath we can each contribute to the overall good and mitigate the egregious actions of the greedy.
As someone who was raised with strong ethical values (many imbued by a mother who was in the Marine Corps in WWII), and who now practices market research, I think this is a wonderful endeavor. Market researchers are held to a higher standard than marketers in general due to client and respondent confidentiality issues, and this now allows MBAs (recent and more “seasoned” grads) to draw a line in the sand.
Kudos to the Harvard folks who started this.
Now, if businesses – and Boards – could only learn to take a longer view of what defines success…
Ethics are a matter that each of us as individuals and MBA’s must not take for granted and must live to uphold. It is up to us to develop a more ehical business world and to adhere to a higher standard. I’ve taken this oath because I believe that trust, integrity, and ethics are what builds a strong character and produces better leaders.
I did sign this because I sincerely feel that this is a wholehearted venture. However, I oftentimes question: can ethics be taught? Sadly, I don’t think so. One is born with ethics; it is not taught in a classroom. If one thinks that signing an oath can increase his/her ethical chances of acting more ethical in the workforce, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Because, at the end of the day, ethics is borne within the individual, not revealed within a business school setting.
It was time already we MBA’s came out with our code of ethics. Definitively, putting economic and managerial sciences and arts for helping helping the better good would be the first step for our kind. In the same way organizations must commit to continuous process improvement, we as MBA must commit to continuous improvement of our surroundings which at the end would generate value for our global society.
By doing so, we would be building loyalty in our MBA brand as value-generators. Lets make this unique selling proposal a day-to-day reality.
Ricardo Martinez-Rivera, MBA
This oath formalizes at the educational level what is already in practise at the corporate level in my organization. Our creed and mission statement are a vital part of who we are as a business. Integrity and ethical behavior are upheld to the highest standards. Having taken an oath keeps one from faltering at times when temptation arises. I feel bound to my peers and totally accountable for my actions.
I was raised in a family business that showed me you can succeed at business while being a caring, compassionate, moral and ethical business person. Now, working in the public corporate world, I believe that all companies should be responsible in that way. This oath therefore means a lot to me as it holds all its signers accountable to that standard.
I think that many MBAs believe in values expressed by The Oath. As soon as the fear is lost that “others” might not behave following such values, we can develop this society further. The Oath is an impressive means to see that many others share that views.
Instant Karma. That is what we all need. Obviously. Whether you are a lawyer, a politician, businessperson or just a citizen. Unfortunately, way too many people in positions of power have shown themselves to be way too irresponsible & deluded to manage the responsibilities of being human. The MBA Oath is a good first step, Instant Karma will help actualize the creation of a conscious global community and more constructively align the pursuits and activities of all those who find themselves walking the Earth.
Alas, a place to proclaim that my foremost principle is about value creation, and that profitability is just another measure!
The MBA Oath is an important step towards lending stronger credibility towards overcoming a troubled, MBA brand image (i.e. profiteers, blood suckers, know it alls, etc … )
Hopefully, the Oath will make a big difference in restoring the public’s faith in MBAs, as well as spreading awareness that good business is about value creation!
“Have you taken the MBA Oath?” sounds like a great slogan for my next set of business cards!
1. Those who sign this pledge will likely have the opportunity to help others find jobs.
2. One place with a need for the MBA Oath is hospitals. Hospitals are corporate. Congress is corporate. The Court is corporate. See the 5 cases in which hospital administrators have attacked whistle-blowing doctors (www.SemmelweisSociety.net).
3. The only way to settle these matters is with due process. A law, the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986, omits due process, so at the moment a college student facing the choice of MBA, JD, and MD should choose between the first two in our country. Other countries appear not to have this problem.
H.E. Butler III M.D., FACS
I’ve been startled too many times in business where executives preach one thing yet do another. Through my naivete I suffered, my firm suffered and perhaps people beyond my firm suffered. An MBA education is a great endeavor…it certainly was for me. Nearly 30 years later I can still recognize how it prepared me for leading a company and advising my clients. My education didn’t include ethics. My grandparents provided that instruction. I’m pleased to know that all good programs today have a healthy dose of ethics. We have seen so much bad behavior and greed at work in the banking sector in the last year or so. Perhaps, the MBA Oath can contribute to the needed change.
The oath can serve as a prelude to what I hope will be a robust dialog on the importance of (to put plainly) doing the right thing. Today’s graduating MBAs will be the future captains of industry and the responsibility of avoiding the mistakes made by our predecessors rest on our shoulders. It’s important that we (MBAs) understand the burden of that responsibility. The oath was created by MBAs for MBAs, but it applies to every individual. I signed the oath because I believe in the ideology behind its conception.
“To whom much is given much is required.” The Holy Bible
Real leadership cannot be practiced without ethics. Those who signed the Oath are the leaders of the future.
This is a great opportunity to create a new generation of MBAs, new leaders and managers that aspire to create not only wealth but a new and rich life style for everyone whose lives can be impacted with our decisions. This is a good way to gain more respect and companies and society know that we as new and responsible MBAs have a new mind set to create a new way of living and improve our own standard, professionalism. This is a big step to make ourselves true professionals as managers and MBAs. Not only experience, but the education..and yes, that counts and that makes the difference..the continuous improvement.
I could not sign the MBA oath because I could not find my University. I am 2009 class graduated from Keller Graduate School of Management of Devry University in Florida, USA. I’d like to start a local chapter but I couldn’t signed. I am a little disappointed for that. Anyway, Can someone help me?
One of the reasons on global economic burst, that few individuals in US Banks holds MBA, did the damage misusing financial tools.
This is good move.
The MBA Oath beats alongside my heart and is a part of my soul. It serves as an outward symbol of the duty I have to ensure that whatever I do in life, I do for the better of other people.
We don’t live in the Milton Friedman world any more. As a new MBA graduate I find this commitment a personal one. My hope and goal is to help create a new movement towards ethical MBAs, who are concerned with not only being successful future leaders but ones that are also cognizant of the impact of our decisions on society as a whole. Let’s take away the perception of MBAs as greedy individuals who are only concerned with making money.
I am not saying its perfect but its definitely a very very good start! I am even surprised with the so called academics who are opposing it. Profit, yes – shareholder’s value, yes. Whats wrong if all these go along with certain ethical standards? An MBAer could always try to combine a certain level of ethics with his corporate role and in the end of the day if he finds himself in a corporation or an environment where this is not feasible then he can always walk away.
As ancient Greeks were saying: ‘Métron áriston’ which means ‘moderation is the best thing’. If this value vanished in the past decades, then it is up to us, as well as many others, to bring it back.
Business and trade is what makes the world go around for us – the human species. However, there is more to consider than just financial gains – for humans, other animals and our natural environment in general. Great initiative to start the MBA Oath, congratulations.
The MBA Oath serves a very strong purpose in this global market place. With the daily news stories about business professionals being unethical and taking from their shareholders to benefit themselves, the MBA Oath is a public statement that holds each of the members accountable to conduct business with the highest of standards on a daily basis. The MBA Oath is also a reminder to us all to represent ourselves to the highest level of integrity to ensure that we set the example for all we come into contact with. We are not only representing our company, shareholders and family, we are representing our beloved Universities and all of the professors who taught and mentored us all during our educational journey!
An oath bears public witness to a private code that is made more powerful by its revelation. The MBA Oath stands for the better aspirations of business professionals. The challenge for us all now as oath signers is to make these aspirations real.
The MBA Oath is an outlet for me to articulate my fundamental beliefs on how a business person should act and lead and also a way to share and communicate my beliefs to my fellow business leaders. It should be obvious but it isn’t yet. It should be mandatory but it isn’t yet. It should be enforceable but it isn’t yet.
We live in the MBA generation. My generation knew that there was something called social responsibility in the loose and non-accountable form, but we were held to only one measure of success: maximize shareholder value. Because our scorecard is denominated in dollars (or equivalent currency), that has led to many tragic outcomes that my generation of MBAs has fueled: multiple financial bubbles, the evisceration of the American middle class (the lifeblood of the American dream), and a win-at-all-costs culture that is at odds with the kind of world I want to live in. When I heard about the MBA oath, I became lifted with the hope that the next generation of MBAs would do better than mine has, and that those of us have come before can declare anew our commitment to true excellence: integrity, honor, and positive lasting contributions to our society.
This is just as important as the oath doctors and lawyers take, it speaks to the “think beyond personal gain” aspect that is often absent in business today. This oath also highlights the positive role that business can play in our society. I believe it should be a pre-req to getting an MBA.
Your talent is useless, if you don’t choose to do the right thing.
In a world besieged by very different worldviews and realities, leaders are placed into the position to make decisions that affect a very diverse group of talented and worthy people. These individuals likely see the world quite differently and even pray to different deities or none at all. How can steward of resources broadcast their compass, what guides them, without a common idea? If the cannot state their direction and prove it by their actions, how can others hold them accountable? This is the benefit of an oath. This is the power of using a common vernacular to share among the wondrous types of people, because in the end, we make decisions that affect people. People are much more than Muslims or Republicans, Christians, Social Democrats, Europeans, Jews or Atheists. They are family, friends, clerks, cooks, superiors, the person we just hired and the person we just fired. We make an oath to hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard, simply because they are people. They have a worth in and of themselves of which we are bound to protect.
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” (Lao Tse)
What I like about the MBA Oath is the focus on service–serving the society as a whole–rather than the normal singular focus on maximizing profit. Thanks for your efforts to raise the standards and value of the business profession!
As a licensed engineer and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, I’m held to an oath and a standard of conduct. Managers could benefit from the same thing but have no central organizational body.
I feel, the time has come to formulate guidelines for the ethical conducts of managers, whose role is very critical in world business. It’s just a public commitment to something beyond us. This oath makes and reminds us to consider all factors while taking any decision, which will impact the nature and others.
A compass is necessary even more in turbulent times. It also shows that some private vices (hubris, excessive leverage, non charged risk transfers, excessive value capture of managers from shareholders, …) can sometimes bring about no public virtues but public disasters. Congratulations on this initiative!
As a result of the financial crisis, we have seen that many of America’s business leaders had poor ethical standards and fell subject to greed. It is the responsiblity of the new generation of MBA’s and business leaders to ensure ethical workplaces and to set the example for future generations.
As future leaders we have the responsibility to strive for an ethical competitive business environment.
We management graduates have much higher responsibility towards Humanity, environment and natural resources for effecting sustainable development for self, family, society, nation, humanity and finally the whole universe, not necessarily in that order…………RPS
We care and take responsibility for our actions today to create better tomorrow.
The MBA program offers students a view that is focused towards the good of shareholders. Courses on Social Governance and Corporate Responsibility lead to the issues of integrity and ethics, which are essential for business longevity. Ethics and Integrity can be tought but it is up to the individual to maintain. The oath brings light to the need for “service of the greater good” and should be part of the syllubus of all educators. Having also completed a Masters of International Business and studying the business dealings of globalised companies such as those in Asia and the BRIC, you can see that collectivism along with capitalism leads to community harmony and prosperity in most cases, something that western business often forgets or overlooks.
Loose business ethics and the narrow use of perspectives have helped to create a capitalist system that has demonstrated a lack of long term viability. It is my opinion that old forms of business, which have served our population well up to this point, need to be reshaped into new forms of capitalism that seek to consider diverse perspectives with a clear sense of what is right and wrong. The oath provides an agreeable framework for this purpose.
Our Vision is a better world, our Mission is to serve others with integrity.
Longterm benefits to the enterprise, society and the individuals by always acting on an ethical level must be the goal to act upon from the leading people.
The approach of the oath is definitely pointing into the right direction. The challenge for eery MBAler is to make this a better place to life in, e.g. making profits = one of the most important mean to improve communities and societies
As a Management consultant I feel as my customers belong to my family and try my best for them.
Noblesse oblige. With power and influence, comes responsibility.
I firmly believe that the value of an organisation will increasingly be measured by its value to society. The oath is for me but another major step towards recognising this, and one which will again demonstrate that merely have a good CSR programme is not enough.
To me, this oath is another reminder of my own potential, to improve my own life and that of people around me, both in my work and private life. Thank you for that!
No-matter a MBA or not, we should act the right things to the society and protect the environment with our strength.
I studied MBA because I want to be a successful manager. And hope to be a CEO in the coming days! Let us share our knowledge and experience in our career’s path!
Believe doing right, acting justly and righteously are the key to success not only in business world but also glory to God’s kingdom.
The sustainable growth of any business relies on the integrity of its leader. Any organization that lacks a good, honest leader is bound to fail eventually.
Therefore, living by this oath should be the imperative of every business leader/manager. I look forward to doing business with like-minded people (MBAs or otherwise) who choose to live by the principles that are laid out here.
I have been an executive, founder, CEO, VC and MBA and Business Undergrad instructor. I believe that the next generation of business graduates have a tough task of cleaning up the mess we of the last generation made of the world due to greed, wanton disregard for the spirit of honest capitalism and of finding loopholes and interpretations of laws, agreements, rules and regulations which subvert the spirit of such. This pledge should already be how we act and think, and I am supportive of bringing it to the public forefront.
Good business can be ethical, and world trade can indeed contribute mightily to world peace.
We all see our responsibilty in economics and ethics in nowadays. The financial
and economic crisis led us to a point, where we have to commit ourselves to
values that are associated with the origin of true entrepreneurship. We should
return to this old and reliable principles in order to create values for mankind.
We all se our responsibilty in economics and ethics in nowadays. The financial
and economic crisis led us to a point, where we have to commit ourselves to
values that are associated with the origin of true entrepreneurship. We should
return to this old and reliable principles in order to create values for mankind.
Since young age, we are taught about ethics and morality, the need to be truthful and have a strong self esteem. This education gets eroded by another learning later on, that to win you have to learn to deceive. More so in the business world.
I take this oath to prove this thinking wrong…
Economics and management is not just a social mechanism but needs to be inspired by good faith including effects on humans, society, nature in present and future generations. We are to take responsibility for our decisions, activities and those possibilities we do not transform into word and deed. Responsibility is more than what can be codified in laws, polities and rules. A personal binding faith matters.
This Oath instills the sense of Professionalism that is required of a Manager. It shows a commitment and accountability of actions to the stake holders, be it employees, investors or customers.
I took the oath, because I’m tired of reading about all the white collar scandals in the WSJ.
As business leaders, we must set the tone for companies across America. We must lead our businesses to contribute to society, our communities AND to our shareholders.
What a great idea – having seen unethical busness managers in action this may be a small step but a step nevertheless to building some expectation of professionalism in our profession.
If nothing else it will give like minded ethical managers a common frame of reference when hiring or working with each other.
Commercial world is a nasty place, we need individuals with visions and long term commitment to whatever they do. We need to keep an heart into any business and strive to ethical practices and community involvements.
I founded Manchester University Entrepreneurs (www.manchesterentrepreneurs.org.uk ) last year and was fortunate enough to have spoken to and worked with some great people, it is almost funny about how like minded people can do great things together no matter where you are coming from. So I here congratulate the MBA oath for bring great people together for great things. The future is in our hand, so make it a better world.
Leadership today are increasingly looking more at short term gains (or self gain). This is true for both leadership of corporations as well as nations across the world. The Oath is necessary to remind ourselves that we are fortunate enough to be in leadership roles and we have a greater responsibility beyond just looking at whats in it for me. We have a role to mould the next generations of managers and leaders on “a new era of responsible leadership”. As Ben Parker said in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Taking the MBA Oath is important because doing business has to do with managing people, skills, challenges but also means take the responsibility about the effects of our actions.
Being an MBA means strongly commit themselves to build something new, to compete with the others respecting the rules of the game and respecting the people we lead.
Excellent idea. I think this provides a direction and outlines a basic code of ethics that is so important, especially now when the financial crisis is affecting the whole world.
We may have spent a lot of money on the MBA but there is a whole world to make better. Greed was good, but ambition is better.
Class of 2008
Cass Business School
I applaud the efforts of this group and believe that this oath will lay the foundation for a new generation of ethical business professionals.
We are all influenced by our environment and, while we are not all members of the same social group, we are all global citizens. Organizations’ policies and actions (or inaction) seriously affect peoples’ lives. As effective leaders, we must be committed to improving the world by measuring business practices by “moral” standards of justice and integrity.
The idea that I share an honorable occupation with the small number of MBA’s that choose to take the unethical path disgusts me. This oath is more than just a symbolic gesture. We who have taken the oath are in the field, acting as a counterbalance to those who continue to tarnish the reputation of the MBA.
Nothing matters more than having the personal conviction to do what is right and just even when others around you will not. You can’t buy integrity.
The oath is a formal statement of what we believe in. With knowledge and learning comes responsibility. After going through rigorous training in Business, Management and Leadership we have no excuse to be complacent. It is expected of us nothing but creating Value for everything and everyone we come in contact with.
I also believe that it is highly unlikely that the mess we find ourselves in is because of evil intentions of one or many people (business or politics). It is manifestation of little weaknesses (greed, fear, etc) of every actor combined.
We at Thunderbird take a similar oath. http://www.thunderbird.edu/about_thunderbird/inside_tbird/oath_of_honor.htm
Good Luck and Best Wishes!
Call me a cynic but I personally do NOT think this is a real value add. Signing a “I will be a good boy” pledge has not stopped the crooks on Wall Street and elsewhere from doing what they did. Do you think Enron lacked “values”? Do you believe Wall Street had a shortage of slogans exhorting ethics? NOPE!
What you and other MBA schools need is to seed in your students HUMILITY – learning to combine humility with confidence and bold leadership et al. True story: I recently flew AA and there was a 2nd year HBS kid who was shouting at the top of his voice about how he had the “world’s attention” cos he was at HBS – mind you he was talking to the girl next to him who seemed least impressed. My take was – congrats kid but you got the wrong kind of attention to yourself and the school. For every one of you out these boasting and bragging there are a MILLION others who silently scale summits and make real change happen.
So instead of a pledge like this that though well meaning does not really move an inch in practice, start teaching your graduates to be humble yet confident leaders.
PS: I went to a top-tier school that is up there with HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Stanford (one of these)
12th July 2009 / Vikas Kakade /
The MBA Oath is a fundamental value that should bind all minds in the enterprise. I started my career with a young scientist and techno-entrepreneur trained in the UK / India. I am proud to say I learnt my first management lessons on the job while with me, and the scientist is still my mentor and Guru.
During my 20+ years of professional life, the following narration is the most expensive (costly) learning’s by me. At my earlier years after MBA, I worked at a start-up company, whose one of the promoting partners was an engineer and trained at Harvard too at one of their executive management programmes (’90s). I had spent many years with him. I was a part of his young budding team. Like others in my team, I slogged and threw everything burning my young-age, to build the business, which grew lips & bound. I was of course very excited of the opportunity, and the kind of learning that was accruing. I was happy with the contributions to society we were making as team. However, as value of company’s shares started rising in the capital market due to sustain growth, the promoter’s cunning nature started showing up. He not only kicked out partners one by one, but also started giving unethical treatments to employees / members of the top executive team of which I was part. I immediately left the company that I burnt my young-age for, as he made untrue allegations against me. Slowly others also quit the company.
To say the least, this Harvard trained entrepreneur made immense wealth, money and name for him. I was appalled when I found at the core the blatant disregard for people, for their commitment, for their value add and also for our customers and for the disgusting lack of ethics corporate wide. He is actually proud of this and the culture reflected it.
I swear to myself that as a MBA visiting faculty now, if my students were ever fortunate enough to crack into such ownership level, they would never behave this way and treat customers and employees in such an unethical and machiavellian manner. I am absolutely committed to this oath, and will pass the same to my students to look at and follow in practice.
What a wonderful idea! I took the oath, and tweaked it for my industry – I hope you guys don’t mind – thank you for such a great boilerplate of responsible action. If you DO mind, let me know!
From what I understand, the oath; is a message of heart. The financial crisis is the main agenda, although not the only one. Environmental protection, ending poverty, development and peace are also things this oath should inspire all leaders to achieve. Since economies tend to be cyclical, I hope that this message will not fade as any recovery is seen in sight. It should be ingrained in the culture of any organisation. Although easier said than done, the best way is to lead by example; and let the actions do the talking.
Some days ago, I’ve wrote a post in my own Blog, that shows better than any comment my conviction that ethics should be an essential part of Management: http://estrategiaycambio.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/mbas-y-la-crisis-una-reflexion/
¡¡Keep going with the initiative!!
This Oath speaks to me because of the MBA program I just started at Antioch University New England. This program focuses on organization and environmental management. My believe that humans are part of the large ecosystem was reaffirmed in my Intro to Sustainability class, where we learned about biomimicry and the natural ecosystem.
In the class I realized that the businesses mimic nature by creating niches that reduces competition. We need to realize that we are all nested into the natural environment for our own existence. This pledge helps me make a conscious effort to raise awareness of our impact on our environment through all of my activities.
– John Costa
I’m from South America. I born in Argentina but actually I’m living in Santiago, Chile. Since the economic crisis, last year, I’m engage on promote a kind of MBA oath from my blog: Humanismo y Conectividad (http://humanismoyconectividad.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/juramento-hipocratico/) and also I place a facebook cause http://apps.facebook.com/causes/138200 (with more than 490 members) to get involved others in the same kind of initiative you are implementing. Congrats for your efforts.
I want to ask you if you authorize me to translate your oath to spanish so as we can promote de cause in the hispan-american universities.
Thanks in advance, sincerely
I really like this idea. Coming from a lesser known MBA program, lack of certification of any sort really devalues the degree. I was a Berkeley undergrad, but didn’t get into a good bschool but returned to get my MBA regardless. I realized towards the end that if it had been a licensed degree than the value would be raised on matter where you got your MBA.
The MBA Oath is well done and is as good, or better than, other major ethics statements, and certainly typical corporate or government ethics statements.
Sun Project Systems and the EarthSync Companies adhere to the Project Management Institute ethics codes. I am working on an ethics oath and policies for my companies. It is worth it to start thinking of ethics as we write business plans. It is real, demonstrable market and societal value when we can include ethics in our business plans. The right stakeholders, the ones we should want to be associated with, will stand up and take notice. Our end users will remember when we take the genuine ethical position.
The entire matter of real ethics in communities, business, politics, economics, and as real results in our environmental interfaces, has only just begun! Too few of us understand that the shift in power in Washington between 2006 and 2009 was largely a function of public concern over ethics, according to CNN and polling. Pundits and parties were not following this and little has been said of ethics since; in spite of the powerful, dire need for real ethical standards and resulting policy shifts upward across the board, in the US and globally. Of course, in the early 90’s, Republicans used ethics-based rhetoric to win control of the House.
Are ethics another ‘brand’ we want to see thrown around and co-opted for whatever purposes; often without context, evidence or substance? Leaders are defined when we take ethical stands in the face of conventional wisdom, ‘good news’ purveyors, and the ‘don’t-rock-the-boat’ crowd. However, ethics need to be real, specific, effective, and therfore they need to be policy.
In order to generate those polices, there needs to be understanding. So ethics need to be part of education in all areas, not just philosophy and religion. Also, ethics should be measuarable if they are to be meaningful. Ethicists will no doubt confirm that ethics represent a significant management and scientific area.
Great start, MBA Oath!
The MBA oath provides management professionals with a point of reference in terms of ethical business practice and seeks to preserve the standard and integrity of the MBA degree. I am proud to join a group of kindred spirits in adhering to a code of conduct that is relevant and to which all business professionals should conform.
Congratulations to you all!
The MBA Oath is an idea that truely strikes a cord with me. I worked years ago at a company whos entire executive team consisted of Wharton and Harvard MBAs. I was very excited about the opportunity.
I was appalled in my year of service with this organization at the blatant disregard for people and for our customers and for the disgusting lack of ethics corporate wide. They were actually proud of this and the culture reflected it.
I swore to myself then that, if I ever received my MBA and if I was ever fortunate enough to crack into the executive ranks, I would never behave this way and treat customers and employees in such an unethical and machiavellian manner.
I chose George Fox University in Oregon specifically because of their unique focus on servant leadership and ethics.
I absolutely commit to this oath and I salute all the others out there that join me.
It is so unfortunate that there needs to be a movement to restore ethics to the business world. Speaking as a registered nurse for over 40 years and a pioneer in the field of cancer nursing these issues are not unique to the world of business. There are serious lapses in ethics in the fields of health insurance,pharmenceuticals, nursing homes etc…. It may sound socialist but there needs to be an understanding that we are our brother’ s keeper and it is very possible to have a decent standard of living,and less conflict with that in mind. All leaders need to be grounded in ethics and have a sense of moral responsibility, it starts in the home,community and onward through graduate school. Unfortunately this does not happen. Later is better I guess than never. Personally, I have been very disappointed in the lack of leadership by universities in this area and I feel we are reaping the fallout from the “greed is good philosophy”. It’s time for faculty as well as students to get back on track and show some moral backbone.
I like that this project is requesting reflections.
I’m an investigative reporter with a focus on corporate ethics, a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and the CEO and Creative Director of Dancing Ink Productions, a company that works toward a new global culture and economy.
I hope this oath is the first step toward an authentic exploration of ethics in a rapidly changing world so that the intention of the oath can be put into practice. My reflection is in the form of an essay, “What is a promise to be ethical worth if ethics are unclear?”
I welcome comments and further discussion.
This is a great start. As an member of IEEE, we adhere to a Code of Ethics and it make the profession better. As an executive and MBA, I applaud your efforts. This oath should apply to all managers.
The MBA oath should not just be for MBAs, but everyone doing business. Working in the non-management customer service field for many different businesses over the years, I continuously have encountered people’s frustration with the level of service they encounter. Customers no longer expect service, they expect hassles, un-prompted sales pitches and rudeness. Those hired to help are weary of fighting these preconceptions and end up being weighed down by a misery spurred on by constant clock-watching; living week to week; trying to find solace in material positions. Let’s find a new way to do business.
Doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, which has tons of credibility and a positive reputation, yet long ago it started as a voluntary oath. I hope this voluntary MBA Oath continues to build momentum and is someday part of the larger movement that helps professionalize management.
Through the MBA Oath, I look forward to standing up with my peers and joining in the promise to hold myself to a higher standard of behavior and conduct and to working for the greater good of society. We must remember “from everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” We all are very blessed and should do our best to postively impact society.
Let’s go do it!
Sorry guys but Thunderbird has you beat on this.
I’ve just posted a substantial commentary on the MBA Code on my blog, The Business Ethics Blog:
Harvard Students Take Ethics Pledge
The Code seems like a good starting point, and at very least should stimulate lots of worthwhile discussion.
We just made a presentation to HBS alums about this movement. The guy that introduced said in a few words why I became part of this. He said that our goal was to get to point where if you walked into someone’s office and saw their MBA diploma on the wall that you would feel at ease that what they were doing was in yours and society’s best interest. This is similar to the calmness some get when they walk into a doctor’s office and see that they not only have their MD, but have passed a bar exam and are credentialed.
Shouldn’t we ask the same for managers and business leaders?
To lead and manage people is an incredible privilege and responsibility. As we’ve seen in recent times, the decisions that business leaders make DO shape and change lives. Furthermore, I’d argue that that one of the greatest social contributions we can make right now is to give one the ability to create and maintain meaningful employment– to build a life for oneself and to provide for a family, seek an education, and afford health care. As such, corporations provide for the livelihood of millions across the world and the opportunity to have a role in shaping them is among the greatest of responsibilities. In a time where military and government leaders swear to uphold an oath and to serve “to the best of my ability,” why should business leaders not do the same?
For me it’s pretty simple: with good reason many people badmouth the MBA as a “pursue profits by any means necessary” degree. I see the oath as a thoughtful response to that common perception. In light of the current crisis when we’ve begun to question some of our fundamental assumptions about how the world should work, I think it’s become obvious that we need to hold ourselves to a higher ethical standard. While the oath doesn’t solve the problem of unethical behavior, it is a step in the right direction.
Making profit shouldn’t be the ends – it should be the means to an end of improving our community and our society. Some of the most important increases in the living standards around the world have been as a result of the capitalistic pursuit of profit, and the oath seeks to maximize the good that can be created through sustainable business enterprises, and minimize unsustainable exploitation of our planet, its resources, or its people. It’s an important and, sadly, necessary, distinction for us MBAs to make.
As an MD/MBA student who has already taken the Hippocratic Oath, why will I take the MBA Oath? Medicine ranks among the noblest of professions due to a practitioner’s dedication to their patients, yet I see no reason why business managers cannot be just as dedicated to creating value for society. Thankfully, most of us do not spend all day worrying about our health, nor should we. On the other hand, businesses are impacting people’s lives everywhere all the time. Imagine the potential benefit for all of us if business leaders were professionally dedicated to harnessing the energy of productive competition for our common good?
The MBA Oath formalizes what would be unnecessary in a utopian society. But given the fact that we live in a complicated world with conflicting interests, resource scarcity and political division, I think the Oath reminds us to step back and look at the “big picture.” And I think this “big picture” is that together, we can create value for society by conducting business with strong ethics. My hope is that this will become the norm rather than the exception…and at precisely this point, our Oath will seem redundant rather than peculiar.
We need a soft revolution to redefine what business must mean for society – this effort can be led by no other but us. We must decide what our era stands for. Let’s bring the basic principals of life – responsibility, accountability, fairness, and honesty – to everything we, management professionals, do. Let’s put business to good use and use business to bring about good in the world. Join us in taking the first step together!
We are in a world of trouble these days. Not just MBAs. All of us. I, like a lot of you, have seen friends and family members lose jobs as a result of the economy. It hurts to see. There are no easy answers or silver bullets for fixing things, but the oath is a small step in the right direction. Its a reorientation of our values from “me” to “we.” I hope we can find ways to make it continually poignant and powerful for everyone who takes the oath over time.
The MBAoath matters. Now more than ever, managers at organizations across the world are being scrutinized for their leadership and role in the current financial crisis. I think the oath is a timely and important response to this increased scrutiny because it says, “we hear you, we can do better, and we can be better.” With that in mind, I really support this endeavor.