The Importance of the MBA Oath


image: Thomas Hawk

by: Grayson Leverenz, MBA Oath signer #439

Certain circles regard MBAs as confident to the point of arrogance and concerned only about how shareholder return maximizes personal reward. As the global economy searches for stable ground, people need someone to blame, and MBAs fit the bill. We lead most of the organizations that took extreme risk to reap short-term rewards. We asked for bailout money. We insisted on paying ridiculous bonuses to employees that failed so brilliantly their companies declared bankruptcy. It’s harsh to put on paper; I almost hate to call myself part of the MBA we. Almost.

The global spotlight on MBAs, B-School programs, and developing ethical world business leaders makes this an exciting time. We have the opportunity to change the world through our leadership. Administrators are rolling out new curriculums with emphasis on ethical strategic thinking, long-term sustainability and real world crisis management. Corporations are redefining goals and objectives to include a holistic view rather than focusing on short-term returns. And students are making themselves heard through initiatives like the MBA Oath.

Modeled after the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors, the goal of the oath is “to begin a widespread movement of MBAs who aim to lead in the interests of the greater good and who have committed to living out the principles articulated in the Oath.” This oath is important to our future.

By deepening conversations around ethics and integrity, MBAs open their minds to creating sustainable business models that contribute to the broader objectives of people, planet and profit, not just the all mighty bottom line. Professors pledge to teach students the best ways to lead with this objective. Administrators develop platforms to support these efforts, and ultimately, businesspeople lead more thoughtfully.

I think it’s brilliant. I hope the MBA Oath leaps off the internet page and into the everyday lives of global leaders and managers. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Click here for a 5-min NPR interview with two of the MBA Oath creators, Max Anderson and Teal Carlock.

Click here to read “Why We Created the MBA Oath.”

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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1 Comment

  1. Grayson,

    Thank you very much for your words about the MBA Oath. We hope the continued conversations, suggestions, critiques, and developments will allow the movement to continue to flourish and have a lasting impact on MBAs and society.

    All the best!

    -Teal Carlock

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