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Mendoza recognized for ethics

John Tierney | Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The MBA program at Mendoza College of Business ranks fifth in a biennial international study of stewardship in graduate business schools, according to results announced Oct. 10.

The Aspen Institute, an international, non-profit organization that seeks to promote “enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue,” conducted the study.

The study ranked business schools not only on the starting salaries of its students and other typical ranking criteria, but also according to the courses taught and research interests of faculty.

Notre Dame’s Catholic character plays a role in the high ranking of the Mendoza MBA program, said Mary Hamann, director of communications for Mendoza.

“There’s certainly an acknowledgement of the need to look deeply at the impact business decisions have in the world,” she said. “At a faith-based institution, we are very comfortable exploring these issues.”

In addition to requiring courses that help teach students how to conduct business in a way that promotes social responsibility, Mendoza fosters research that furthers the goals of stewardship throughout the business education community, she said.

“There’s a conference that we do each year asking some questions from an ethical perspective that mainstream business researchers should explore,” Hamann said.

Stanford University was the highest-ranked program, followed by the University of Michigan, York University in Canada, the University of California-Berkley and Notre Dame. Columbia University, Cornell University, Duquesne University, Yale University and the Instituto de Empresa in Spain rounded out the top 10 schools in the ranking.

The Institute lauded Stanford’s courses with an environmental focus.

The study seeks to discover how the “issues of social impact and social responsibility are mentioned throughout the curriculum, as opposed to being limited to a few select courses,” Hamann said.

The Aspen Institute also ranked the Notre Dame MBA program fifth in its previous stewardship ranking, released in 2005.

The rankings are based on “how well prepared [graduates] are to guide a company through the complex relationship of business and society, where issues relating to the environment or the well-being of a community can impact a company’s performance and reputation,” the Institute said in a statement.

Although the Aspen Institute does not expect stewardship concerns to replace those of post-graduation financial success, it does express a desire for a balance between the two.

“While graduate business schools are finding the ability to deal with such issues an increasingly important part of the training for successful business leaders, there is still room for innovation and improvement,” the statement said.