MBA Oath: The Debate Continues

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on January 21, 2010

If you haven’t seen it already, the Debate Room has an interesting debate about the MBA Oath. To readers of the b-school channel, which has covered the oath phenomenon and had its creators address the oath’s critics, a lot of it may sound familiar. But it’s another chance to weigh in on the ongoing kerfuffle over whether MBAs should swear an oath to do no harm, much like doctors and lawyers do now. It’s also a chance to use the word “kerfuffle” in a blog post, which doesn’t happen very often.

Charles Green, a Harvard Business School alumnus, author, and founder of TrustedAdvisor Associates, takes the pro position, arguing that by linking managers’ actions to a larger purpose the oath will prevent future misdeeds. INSEAD professor Theo Vermaelen says that’s a lot of hooey (I’m paraphrasing). He says the oath invites managers to violate their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders.

Where do you stand?

Reader Comments


January 25, 2010 1:55 PM

Honesty and sincerity ought to come from within. You can't enforce these values on people with a twisted moral compass. The very fact that these professions, especially noble professions like medicine practice, have come to this low level itself is an indication that formal education isn't doing it's job. It's in fact creating bigger and worse fraudsters and scam artists every year than before. Bad lawyers learn about new laws only to understand and teach others how to break/find loopholes in the law. Doctors are recommending unnecessary tests, medicines and surgical procedures (e.g. implanting stents vs. blood thinning drugs) only to get richer than the next doctor down the street. Same goes for MBAs. Karma will take care of everyone. Nobody gets to escape Karma.


February 8, 2010 11:51 AM

There have been many blogs, debates, stories, et al regarding this oaf.. er oath. And many many people have responded with near unanimity as to the worthless stupidity of this oath. But I guess "The Debate Continues" until you MBAs get the "answer" you wish.

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