In November last year, when MBA candidates at three business schools across the country decided to initiate oaths of ethical conduct for all graduating students, this is what I wrote:
"Now the same schools are calling for a responsible approach, one that inculcates CSR principles in its teachings and graduates entrepreneurs who want to work for the greater good and not institutional bonuses. How far this will go and whether this is a recessionary self-serving (and therefore, short lived) trend, of course, remains to be seen."
While the oaths were student-sponsored, these almost-socialistic self-administrations rang hollow amidst a recession. As I wrote at the time on my blog, In Good Company, it spoke of an identity crisis for business schools, which were beginning to look inwards at their curriculum for reasons behind the failed leadership on Wall Street.
At an event organized by the Better Business Bureau last week, Ernst & Young's CEO Jim Turley discussed a similar identity crisis in the finance industry. Calling 2010 the "most game changing time yet for corporate responsibility" he stressed that "our professions are based on trust and there is a serious lack of that in the marketplace today."
So when the students at the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa), Harvard Business School and the Richard Ivey School of Business (University of Western Ontario) decided to administer the aforementioned oaths last year, they weren't far off from preemptively addressing today's growing debate.