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A voluntary commitment by ESSEC graduates The oath project.

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Presentation on theme: "A voluntary commitment by ESSEC graduates The oath project."— Presentation transcript:

1 A voluntary commitment by ESSEC graduates The oath project

2 Professions like law and medicine require: formal educations licensing exams and other requirements enforceable codes of conduct Is Business a Profession? How can we turn business into a true profession?

3 History of the business oath 1900: MBA programs around the world are created to professionalize the practice of business 2002: INSEAD and a few other schools adopt an oath – but only for a few years 2004: Thunderbird adopts their own oath 2008: Harvard adopts their oath 2008: Harvard Business School article spurs interest in the Oath during the Financial Crisis 2009: The MBA Oath and The Oath Project launch to develop an international standard

4 Service to Society We believe that in order to broadly acknowledge business leaders, and MBA grads, as professionals, one day, all business leaders will hold themselves to the higher standard of integrity and service to society which is the hallmark of a true professional. The idea of creating an oath for business managers is an old one, and has been discussed for many years. In fact, MBA programs were first created in the United States, in part, from a desire to “professionalize” the practice of management.

5 The key figures There are currently 3718 official signers of the oath. 876 from Harvard Business School 86 from Kellogg School of Management 11 from Berkeley 136 from INCAE 58 from NYU 20 from London Business School 15 from Thunderbird 10 from Instituto de Empresa 17 from IESE 27 from ESSEC!

6 Does signing an oath make people more ethical – or transform the world – right away? Of course not. But it’s the start of an important world-wide conversation about the purpose of business, and whether we should aim to serve the public good. Animate the debate

7 Cons Not enough impact Does not change anything Dilutes business practices Business of business is business Cons Not enough impact Does not change anything Dilutes business practices Business of business is business Pros Recognize responsibility to society Business as a profession Bring values to work Start a discussion on ethics Decrease unethical business practices Pros Recognize responsibility to society Business as a profession Bring values to work Start a discussion on ethics Decrease unethical business practices

8 Press Reviews INSEAD Dean Suggests The Time Is Now Published: September 17, 2009 In a provocative essay on Businessweek.com, INSEAD Dean J. Frank Brown suggests that business schools need to seize on the current environment as an opportunity. If business schools don’t focus more on ethics now, today’s concern about business ethics will fade away, and no progress will be made after all the world has been through in the past couple of years. We only need to look back at news articles from 2002 to find talk of a pre-Enron and post-Enron environment and its effect on business education. Many point out that not enough was done at that time and that following a path of inaction now will lead to yet another sense of deja vú a few years down the road.

9 Press Reviews INSEAD Professors debate Oath Published: November 30, 2009 Two INSEAD professors, Theo Vermaelen and N. Craig Smith, provide a set of well-thought-out perspectives on the MBA Oath. Vermaelen makes the provocative argument that the Oath actually invites violation of fiduciary duties and ethical standards. Meanwhile, Smith states that the Oath may be one of a number of appropriate responses by business schools to business misconduct. Both provide different viewpoints on that core MBA Oath dilemma – can the Oath encourage improved behavior? View the articles:

10 Press Reviews Les MBA se cherchent une morale Libération. Économie 25/01/2010 Les masters de management des affaires européens intègrent des cours d’éthique dans leur cursus. «Il faut rester modeste sur la portée des cours d’éthique, renchérit Craig Smith. On cherche à sensibiliser les gens mais il y aura toujours des banquiers opportunistes.» Le professeur de l’Insead plaide alors en faveur d’un serment, que feraient les élèves pour une conduite éthique, afin de redonner leurs lettres de noblesse à des business schools montrées du doigt depuis la crise. morale

11 How would it work at ESSEC? Students can first sign online on the official MBA oath website We have a designated website for ESSEC so that we can track which student signed Then at graduation one student would read the oath out loud and those who wish to can repeat what is said. All the oath takers should stand up in the audience The students identified as having previously signed online could get a mention on their diploma or an additional certificate along with a nicely formatted version of the oath For the launch in October 2010 we are planning on having a debate with a high profile guest speaker like Michel Camdessus – former Managing Director of the IMF

12 A lifelong project For the oath not to stay a simple one time commitment but rather become meaningful to the oath taker’s future career, we encourage practices that will allow them to truly live the oath, like personal reflection on commitment and designating a lifeline. We would like to integrate these questions into conferences and encourage professors to integrate ethics into their class discussion. We also plan on having students write a personal statement about what the oath means to them, which could be handed to them in a nicely presentable format at graduation. Each student could designate a witness, a fellow student for example with whom they can continue to exchange during their careers We also suggest a yearly conference and events around the oath taker community In the long run we could create a club of the ESSEC oath takers with special events in partnership with the IIES, ESSEC alumni and other associations at ESSEC

13 Why sign? We have lived through the failure that came from the old way of doing business. We want to invite you to join this early vanguard of new leaders who are committing to a higher standard. There may be no more relevant question in the world today than “What is the responsibility of business to society.” Think about the questions about BP in the Gulf, Google in China, Goldman as a market maker. These all revolve around the issue of what duties business and business leaders ought to bear. In the MBA Oath we make a stand about these questions and we invite you to take a stand too. Sign here : alumni/sign-the-oath/

14 A lifelong project Questions? Comments? Ideas? Help? Contact us :

15 The Association Net Impact Net Impact is a worldwide network of students and young professionals present in more than 200 MBA programs, with its headquarters in San Francisco Our mission : using business for the social good Our actions : conferences, information, networking, career building, initiatives targeting businesses and the social economy We also organize this project at ESSEC - Come join us!


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