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Can Business Be Ethical?

MELBOURNE – Something new is happening at Harvard Business School. As graduation nears for the first class to complete their Master of Business Administration since the onset of the global financial crisis, students are circulating an oath that commits them to pursue their work “in an ethical manner”; “to strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide”; and to manage their enterprises “in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.”

The wording of the new MBA oath draws on one adopted in 2006 by the Thunderbird School of Global Management, based in Arizona. Nevertheless, the fact that it has been taken up by the world’s most famous business school is significant.