The Importance of the MBA Oath
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.