The QS Global 200 Top Business Schools survey for 2010-11, based on the perceptions of leading recruiters, has also released a rating of B-schools perceived to address issues of ethics and social responsibility most effectively in their MBA programs.
The importance of incorporating ethics and responsibility in MBA curricula across business schools first started receiving attention following the Enron corporate scandal of 2001, and became an issue of renewed and critical focus in the wake of the recent financial crisis rocking the global economy.
Consequently, business schools around the world have woken up to the need for imparting sound ethics and a responsible mindset in the future leaders graduating from their portals. These schools are now consciously trying to groom socially relevant and responsible management talent – either through introduction of discrete courses in business ethics and CSR, or by integrating elements of these into every class taught.
The QS Survey identifies the following schools as the top 5 for an MBA with a focus on Ethics and CSR:
Stanford University: Ethics and responsibility are an integral part of the curriculum and a cornerstone of the MBA experience at Stanford. Perspectives classes in the first year of study, such as Ethics in Management and Strategic Leadership, provide students a contextual understanding of these issues in business. Faculty members are also encouraged to devise courses that underpin the importance of ethical issues. For example, management lecturer Mark Leslie led the development of Real-Life Ethics, in collaboration with a number of practitioners – a class that examines complex and nuanced ethical situations.
Incidentally, Stanford also appears among the top in the Aspen Institute’s ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ MBA Ranking of 2009, where it stands 4th in a ‘ranking of full-time MBA programs according to the social and environmental stewardship they have introduced into their curricula.
Harvard University: Leadership and values are considered inseparable at HBS. Since its establishment in 1908, ethics has been integrated into the curriculum – either as stand-alone courses or as components of courses in Human Resource Management, Corporate Finance etc. For example, Leadership and Corporate Accountability is an interdisciplinary course that draws on economics, law, psychology, and organizational behavior to help prepare students for the challenges of leadership in a changing global society.
Through its Community Values Program, HBS seeks to create an environment in which all community members may align their actions with the stated values. Speakers, forums, outreach events, informal conversations, and special initiatives under the program ensure that community members keep value-based decision-making top of mind. Among student forums too, the Leadership and Ethics Forum challenges the HBS Community to confront, consider, and debate leadership and ethical issues.
Tuck School of Business, University of Dartmouth: Tuck requires mandatory credits from students in the topics of CSR and business ethics, with elective choices that include among others Ethics in Action, Business Strategies for Sustainability, Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector and Corporate Responsibility. Every student must take at least one mini-course (1.5 credits) that explores the complex ethical and social challenges of business. The Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship at the School has expanded students’ career horizons, collaborated with nonprofits around the world, and helped bring issues at the nexus of business and society into the classroom.
INSEAD: Leading the way among European schools that feature in the list, INSEAD is guided by the strong conviction that it is in the own interest of business to give importance to CSR and ethics. It is actively involved in five areas of related research: CSR, Business and marketing ethics from a normative perspective, Ethical consumerism, Ethics of defaults and the opening of firm boundaries. The INSEAD Social Innovation Centre is an inclusive platform focused on the innovation of business models and market-based mechanisms that deliver sustainable economic, environmental and social prosperity.
Wharton: Ethics and social impact have been at the heart of Wharton philosophy throughout its history. Wharton’s PhD program in Ethics and Legal Studies is unique – it is the only doctoral program in the world to focus on ethical and legal norms relevant to individual and organizational decision-making within business. Moreover, its most recent revision of the MBA curriculum lays explicit stress on an integrated focus on ethical and legal responsibility in business. This is expected to allow Wharton to provide deeper and more challenging frameworks that will guide students’ managerial decisions upon returning to the work force. The new provisions also include the appointment of a Vice-Dean for guiding studies in Social Impact.