MBA Oath: Now in a hundred countries

MBA Oath, the name speaks for itself, is a voluntary pledge taken by graduating and current MBA students. The interest in the Oath clearly spells demonstrates the a pent up demand for need of creating value ethically and responsibly in the ?hungry for money? amongst newly minted MBAsworld.

The MBA Oath was the brainchild of students of the class of 2009 at HBS. In the midst of the financial crisis, with significant unemployment, it spread like wildfire. Thunderbird, a well known business school for international MBAs, responded with a Oath of Honor and Columbia Business School created the Honor Code. MBA Oath signatories include MBA students, graduates and advisors and many eminent personalities like Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana.

See the MBA Oath here.

Why is this Oath Relevant?

Economics, Environment and Healthcare are the three most important issues that concern our people and our planet.

There’s a lot of discussion on the environmentEnvironment, and the need for all of us to act responsibly. The Nobel Peace Prize for Al Gore and significant investment in the clean energy and clean technologies sectors show that this issue is being tackled as a priority.

The Hippocratic Oath for doctors has been around for a very long time, and is seeped into discussions on conduct within the Medical profession.

That leaves Economics.

MBAs and non-degree holding business professionals are responsible for the financial well-being of this planet. Yet why don’t we ever talk about a code of conduct for this planetbusiness. Yes, there are laws. But laws are full of greay areas. Young bankers get routinely fired in November, a month before bonuses so Managing Partners can protect their share of a lower profit for the year. CEOs will fire employees and cut out healthcare for employees at the same time that they?re stock options pay out over $100 million in the same year for them. Why It is no surprise that often the terms management and greed are considered synonyms?

It is fitting that a code of conduct came out of one of the most storied names in business school education – HBS. The timing makes sense too. This Oath came out in the aftermath of a financial crisis that was fueled by a lack of regulation and unbridled greed everywhere. The MBA Oath is an attempt to guide graduates to a new set of standards for themselves. The questions that tarnish the term MBA are addressed by the MBA Oath. It recognizes the need of ethics and corporate responsibility in the management sector thus, professionalizing the MBA, and creates rules by which signatories are expected to conduct themselves in the workplace.

Its popularity is growing

Over 115 countries representing 49 languages have visited the MBA Oath website. You can see who signed it here. It is now a book. You can buy it online here.

As famous business personalities like Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Madoff and Jeffrey Skilling spend time in prison, the world is sitting up and taking notice of this desire of business school students to be more moral and truthful. This is not a fad. The young and future generations looks at the world differently. It This generation is more responsible. This generation It wants to work in meaningful job sectors and make an impact. The interest in social entrepreneurship and companies involved in creating a more sustainable environmentThe MBA Oath wishes to revolutionize the world with its strong objectives, and bring business education at par to other professional careers with a code of conduct like Hippocratic Oath for the doctors and the Lawyer’s Oath. are hot at business schools not because these sectors they offer great financial packages and year end bonuses. In fact they don?t.

However, these are issues that an increasingly more relevant to a responsible generation of MBAs, who are keen to take on challenges that are more meaningful contributions to society through work.

Can the Oath Deliver ?

We think so. A code of conduct for managers will not only help to create a difference in the world but also a different world. MBA Oath is required to restore the trust of the people in the managers especially at the time of financial crisis. With great duties come greater responsibilities. An MBA must conduct himself in such a way that they represent high standards of personal conduct and endorse reliability on management. It will is hoped that the Oath will lead to sustainable development, and more transparent business practices.

Who can take the Oath ?

The MBA Oath is not legally binding. You can sign it too, and agree to abide by a code of conduct. If you get together and take the oath at your business school with others like you, there is a greater chance that the group will adhere to the code. While the MBA Oath may not be everywhere, it is extremely relevant in a world where the drivers of big businesses are ego and greed?

To be a part of this movement, take the Oath.

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3 Responses to “MBA Oath: Now in a hundred countries”

  1. Abhilash says:

    “An Oath without some enforcement mechanism is empty, so what?s the point?”

    That’s not me saying it :)
    That’s one of the conclusions reached by a town hall meeting in Yale SOM. The current class decided not to sign/promote it for now.

    More here: http://blogs.som.yale.edu/archives/1155

  2. Ritica says:

    Hey!
    Just read this article..It is really great..I am a MBA aspirant and really want to take this Oath.The thing is, there are two sides to a coin.Abhilash you may disagree but I completely believe in this. Though this is not legally binding but I am sure all managers will take this Oath because of the basic realization of being a human! I wish this becomes legally binding!:D

  3. Rakesh Kumar says:

    Abhilash,

    U r perfectly all right when you say SOM says, ?An Oath without some enforcement mechanism is empty, so what?s the point??

    But further reading says “The Oath may be the start of a larger reformation of the profession to be more socially responsible. If so, SOM should participate wholeheartedly and push the conversation to a deeper attention on business ethics.”

    That is exactly the point Oath is more or less voluntary. Its basic idea cultivates a soacial sense of responsibility. I feel it must be treated in that sense only. However, one is free enogh to carry any impression and follow……………………………………

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