The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame earned a top rating for ethics content in its MBA curriculum in a recent academic survey of business schools.
The Academy of Management Learning and Education (AMLE) ranked Notre Dame in the survey’s “highest” category with just two other schools, Georgetown and Duquesne University. The survey included 183 business schools ranked by BusinessWeek
and U.S. News & World Report
and others with full-time MBA programs.
Significantly, the top three schools are Roman Catholic universities. A key finding of the report was that MBA programs at religiously affiliated universities are more likely to include ethics-related courses in their curricula, according to “Who’s in the Ethics Driver’s Seat? Factors Influencing Ethics in the MBA Curriculum.”
“In short, the religious institutions affiliated with the business school will provide a kind of authoritative control that is attentive to matters of ethics,” wrote authors Joel M. Evans, Linda K. Trevino and Gary R. Weaver.
Dean Carolyn Woo said the integration of ethics into the business curriculum draws on the fundamental vision of Mendoza. “Business is probably the most powerful force in shaping the opportunities and quality of life in a society. It also has the potential to do much harm,” she said. “Our mission is not just to prepare students to succeed, but to succeed in the right way, to contribute to the common good as we keep faith with our founding mission.”
The study took a broad definition of what constitutes an ethics-related class, including courses on ethics, business and society, and social issues in business. The survey showed that 159 business schools—87 percent—either offered no required or elective ethics courses (46), one elective course only (38), more than one elective course (13) or one required course but no electives (62). Notre Dame, Georgetown and Duquesne were the only programs to include more than one required ethics course and more than one elective.
All 19 required courses in Mendoza’s current MBA program integrate social impact and stewardship; three courses are wholly dedicated to ethics. Further, the 95 elective courses include ethics-related topics such as multinational corporate responsibility.
Stand-alone and integrated ethics courses serve complementary purposes, said Woo. “The former sharpens ethical analysis while the latter situates ethics in the midst of decision making, which fosters moral imagination, highlights the tradeoffs embedded in dilemmas and sensitizes students to the ethical dimension of problems,” she added.