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From Artificial Intelligence To #MeToo, B-Schools Are Placing Ethical Dilemmas On The Syllabus

Controversial topics such as gun control and same-sex marriage have led to a rise in ethical MBA courses

Wed Apr 18 2018

BusinessBecause
In the wake of sexual harassment scandals that sparked the #MeToo movement and Oxfam exposés, business schools are stepping up their efforts to combat wrongdoing by placing more emphasis on ethics in the curriculum and creating new courses.

In October last year, the UK’s Warwick Business School commissioned a drama company to create a play on sexual harassment at Uber, based on a Susan J Fowler’s experience at the ride-hailing app firm. The idea is that students experience the ethical dilemmas of senior decision makers through the eyes of the protagonists.

Warwick is among a wide range of schools taking a harder look at ethics in the MBA syllabus. “Ethics has been at the forefront of the topic of conversation of late,” says Juliane Iannarelli, diversity and inclusion advocate at b-school accreditation body AACSB International. “Every high-profile scandal brings the subject into focus for business schools, who are, increasingly, exploring the roles of individuals and companies in combatting wrongdoing.”

Driving the trend are recent revelations such as senior staff at the Oxfam charity making liberal use of prostitutes in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, and a younger generation of students prioritizing positive societal and environmental impact over financial rewards in their careers.

At Cambridge Judge Business School in the UK, senior lecturer Michael Kitson teaches a course that explores how the rise of technology such as artificial intelligence, and climate change, are impacting social inequality. “Students want to know about these big global trends that are causing so much uncertainty,” he says.

While students are demanding an ethical curriculum, business schools are demanding MBA candidates who will become ethical leaders. NYU’s Stern School of Business in New York last year changed its admissions process to find candidates with empathy so that they can contribute to peer-learning.

“We are hoping it also helps us in terms of making sure they fit into our culture,” says Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions at NYU Stern.

Another contributor to the increased ethical focus of business schools is the trend of corporate leaders speaking out on moral problems. Several large retailers, such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, spoke out on gun control recently after a gunman killed 17 people in a Florida high school, leading to the #NRABoycott movement.

At Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina, a new course for this year is dealing with corporate activism directly: how future CEOs can approach speaking out on issues not directly related to their business, such as immigration same-sex marriage.

The challenge for schools is to address such sensitive and controversial topics in a classroom full of diverse and often competing opinions. Several UK universities including Cardiff have come under fire for failing to uphold free speech in recent months.

“There is lots of sensitivity, such as around the issue of the EU, the role of the euro and now increasingly the impact of Brexit,” says Cambridge’s Michael.

“We do stress that we are part of a university, so we allow diverse views and we are tolerant and respect that. It’s important for everybody to express their views but in a disciplined and fair manner.”

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.

Maxwell

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30/03/2023

On Campus

Diversity

The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.

Anabelle

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.

Monica

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.

Aline

Verified

26/11/2022

On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.

Student

Verified

16/06/2022

On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.

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