Corporate Ethics Lecture Series #1

By Nash Wills, Staff Writer

What Happened?

Ram 1Last Thursday the Honor Council in conjunction with the Thunderbird faculty, held its first of what will be a series of discussions on corporate ethics. Because the role of the Honor Council has changed in light of the ASU merger, the organization has had to adapt and is now taking on more of a promotional role in regards to ethics. The talk, which was led by Dr. Ramaswamy, concerned three different stories: the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal, a BP safety mishap, and a Siemens bribery situation. A relaxed, discussion-oriented environment subsequently promoted student participation and the whole process flowed smoothly. Attendance was good, involvement was high, and it seemed as though everyone was sufficiently captivated by Dr. Ramaswamy’s lecture style and his many Thunderbird stories and personal anecdotes.

What the students thought?

Dr. Ramaswamy. Courtesy of
Dr. Ramaswamy. Courtesy of

A large chunk of the attendees was made up of second semester MAGAM and MGM students. Whereas the MAGAM class has been fortunate enough to have Dr. Ramaswamy as a strategy professor this semester, for many MGM students, this was their first chance at getting to hear the esteemed professor speak. Prita John (MGM 17’) “was amazed and really happy with how passionately he presented the topic of ethics, connecting it with relevant stories and current events.” Mahmood Alabbas (MGM 17’) reflected Prita’s sentiments and added that “The lecture was really informative and I enjoyed it. The majority of the concepts he discussed were very helpful and I think every businessperson should think about them.” Reflective of the high levels of participation throughout the discussion, Mahmood then went on to say, “But there was a disagreement with what’s considered a bribe and what’s not. I think providing benefits to people in order to help get things done is not a bribe. Because basically it’s just like when countries give businesses incentives to make them operate in their countries more easily. And as a businessperson, you can provide benefits to your connections to help you reach a business goal.”

What I thought?

There were a couple of reasons why I was very pleased with the lecture and left smiling. First and foremost—and though I never doubted him because I currently have him as a professor and have already been able to witness his brilliance as a speaker—Dr. Ramaswamy was absolutely fantastic. The way he structured the discussion, his stories about Thunderbird, his stories about life, the way he encouraged the audience to participate, all really added up to the way an ethics lecture should be done. As a member of the Honor Council, I don’t think that we could have asked for a better first speaker for our lecture series. Secondly, the participation was strong. I feel as though that’s been a problem recently at Thunderbird. There are a lot of awesome clubs full of people with bright ideas and it always seems like the one thing that is lacking is participation. This semester I have taken it upon myself to attend more student led events because, as Ghandi said, I’m trying to “be the change in the world that I want to Ram 2see.” I encourage everyone else to do the same. Lastly, I loved the mixing of the MGM and MAGAM students, something that hasn’t taken place in a classroom setting since it last happened during Foundations. Due to the fact that the MAGAM program is on the semester system and the MGM program is on the trimester system, it is virtually impossible for students from different degree programs to take the same classes together. The only way to remedy this is through student led initiatives and increased attendance at club events. Through this Honor Council lecture, I was reminded of what I had almost forgotten: that both MAGAM and MGM students come from diverse backgrounds. This allows each of us to bring different ideas to the table, making it even more important for us to take advantage of the time that we have together because building relationships for the future is what it’s all about here at Thunderbird.

Dr. Michael Finney will give the next lecture in the series on Wednesday, February 24th. The Honor Council cordially invites you to attend this event and hopes to see you there.

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