Dean Paul Danos is the author, US News & World Report, February 24, 2012
Paul Danos is dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
There have been innumerable references to ethical lapses among MBA degree holders during the financial crisis of the last few years and understandably so. I believe that what irks many people in retrospect is the fact that the rewards and punishments of the major players did not seem to be commensurate with their roles in the fiasco. Some attribute the disaster to unbridled greed run amok among the financiers, and others put the responsibility on flawed public policy or inadequate regulatory oversight.
No matter who is ultimately to blame, lessons for anyone who purports to be educating leaders abound, and because so many of the bankers involved had MBA degrees, business schools must analyze the whole series of causes and effects, and try to draw conclusions about appropriate modifications to their own programs.
In light of the financial meltdown, I believe that MBA programs would better prepare their students if they could answer "yes" to the following three questions:
1. Are students exposed to the fundamentals of ethics and to cases of ethics violations from the real world? I would guess that most top schools give such exposure, and many schools have made ethics and social responsibility required coverage. This approach would address some of the issues around the appropriateness of reward structures and the morality issues related to the growing disparity in compensation within and across major organizations.