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Ethically Speaking

What are today's students learning about business ethics?

This story appears in the December 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Students in business school have always taken ethics classes, but today's university programs are taking ethics learning to a higher level, teaching more courses on the subject and even integrating ethics instruction into other classes (think finance ethics, management ethics, employment ethics and so on). According to Alfred Gini, a philosophy professor at Loyola University in Chicago and associate editor of Business Ethics Quarterly, "Because of Enron, all MBA programs, all schools of business, are looking at themselves and saying, 'What happened here, and why did it happen?'"

At the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University in New York City, which is also home to the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, students learn how to develop alternative strategies when faced with ethical dilemmas. Other schools focus on giving students a barometer for how to approach ethical decisions. Ethics classes at Loyola Marymount University's MBA program in Los Angeles, for instance, focus heavily on self-awareness in decision-making.

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