After the financial crisis two years ago, students at Harvard Business School came up with an oath saying the MBA had a “purpose to serve the greater good.” Back home, B-schools have also introduced courses into their curriculum that aim to make their students more socially conscious.
After the crisis precipitated an economic downturn, management schools received flak globally for teaching students only how to make money.
Over the past year, Indian B-schools have introduced compulsory courses on business ethics and programmes in which students work with non-profit groups.
Two years ago, right after the slowdown, Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta made business ethics a compulsory course. Now it is setting up a separate cell on business ethics and communication.
“We used the example of what happened to Lehman Brothers [the US-headquartered investment bank that went bankrupt],” said Shekhar Chaudhuri, the director. “We have already recruited special faculty for it."
In Pune’s Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, graduating students this year had a compulsory four-day programme with workers in sugar factories at Baramati, during which they tried to understand the problems they faced and suggest solutions.
“With an increasing number of white-collar scams, students are getting the wrong message about ethics,” said Vivek Sane, the director. “These programmes will give them a sense of social responsibility.”
Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies used last year’s Dubai and Euro-zone crisis to get students thinking about ethics and introduced a course on ethics and ethical leadership as part of its curriculum.
“The course includes interactive workshops in which we place students in ethical dilemmas to see how they handle the situation,” said Rajan Saxena, vice-chancellor of the institute.
First-year students also now have to be part of a programme called ‘We Care’, as part of which they spend one day a week working with a non-profit group.