Grads to take ethics oath for first time


The Marshall School of Business will hold a ceremony May 11 following commencement for a select group of students taking the Master of Business Administration Oath, a voluntary pledge through which graduates commit to “creating value responsibly and ethically.”

The MBA Oath is a national movement that originated with Harvard Business School’s class of 2009. The MBA Oath at USC is being planned by the Marshall Honor Committee.

Diane Badame, assistant dean for the Marshall MBA Program, said the oath demonstrates Marshall’s commitment to honesty and integrity.

“We want to reinforce these values in our students and expose them to the kinds of values we think they should have as they leave our institution,” Badame said.

Anne Ziemniak, the MBA program manager responsible for the Marshall Honor Committee, said students and faculty brought the oath to Marshall to reaffirm their commitment to conducting themselves and their businesses ethically.

Ziemniak said the MBA Oath initiative was a response to the unethical practices of Wall Street executives.

“With recent issues, MBAs have been blamed for past unethical proceedings,” Ziemniak said. “We’re taking a stand because students don’t want to be associated with that reputation.”

Marshall’s adoption of the MBA Oath complements the goals of the Marshall Honor Committee, which requires students in the full-time MBA program to sign the Code of Professional and Academic Integrity upon enrolling, Ziemniak said. This honor code lays expectations for student behavior regarding the community, the curriculum and their careers.

The Marshall Honor Committee hopes to encourage more than 50 students, approximately a quarter of the graduating class, to take the oath next year.

Students will have to attend two lectures each semester to meet the requirements of the oath.

Though the Marshall MBA program does not offer courses specifically pertaining to ethics, the voluntary pledge symbolizes Marshall’s effort to create a culture dedicated to the betterment of society, Ziemniak said.

“We are trying to foster a culture that weaves ethics throughout all of our programs and initiatives,” Ziemniak said. “If students are armed with prior knowledge about ethics before getting in sticky situations, this program will make a huge impact.”

  • Cynic

    Oh yeah, I’m sure this meaningless ceremony is going to be “life changing.”

  • Friend of George

    It’s like asking a dishwasher to promise to wash his hands after going to the bathroom…

  • Mike

    An oath isn’t going to do jack squat.

    Whether these Marshall students prove ethical in their future careers relies on how well their professors taught them about the consequences of unethical business practices.

  • George

    How stupid!