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Mendoza ranks first in ethics

Charitha Isanaka | Thursday, January 17, 2013

At Notre Dame, ethics matter as much as the almighty dollar when it comes to learning business.

This past December, Bloomberg Businessweek MBA Specialty Ranking announced that the University of Notre Dame MBA program ranked No.1 for ethics.

“The ranking is a wonderful recognition of our values-based approach to business, which is foundational to the mission of Notre Dame and the Mendoza College,” Mary Goss, senior director of the Notre Dame MBA, stated in a press release. “It’s not a trend for us, but the essential core of what we do, who we are and what kind of business leaders we hope to develop.”

These rankings are based on the MBA Class on 2012′s ratings of their program’s ethics offerings from one point for “poor” through six points for “outstanding.”

The average ethics score for all 82 U.S. and international schools in the ranking were 4.64, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Businesswas at the top of the list with a score of 5.87 out of 6, followed by University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Joseph Holt, director of ethics programs in the Executive Education program and concurrent assistant professor of management at the University said that ethics is integrated into our MBA program both because of who we are and what we offer our students, and because of who they are and what they bring to us.”

“I say that ethics is to business as a foundation and skeletal frame are to a building,” Holt said. “Ethics in business is also critical because companies will not get the most of their employees, and society will not bet the best from companies, unless employees see the work they are doing as consistent with the values that define them morally and spiritually.”

There is a required ethics course that engages students in stimulating and mutually enriching discussions about particular dilemmas but also about larger questions such as how to create a values-based company and how best to measure success in life as a whole. 

In addition to the required ethics course, students must choose at least one ethics elective from the rich variety of options involving marketing, finance, accounting, sustainability, international business ethics and spirituality of work.

“I believe that our students can and do help create values-based companies like that in their leadership roles after graduation,” Holt said.

The student-created “MBA Values Statement” hangs in every classroom. Students spend a full day on community service as part of orientation and most faculty teaching core business discipline courses also integrate ethics into their courses.

“High rankings are a good thing so long as we remain concerned first and foremost to be the best business school that we know how to be consistently with the mission and values that define Notre Dame, and only secondarily concerned with being recognized as a great business school,” Holt said.