Ethics – Opus Magnum
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Global Business, Newsroom, Study Abroad

German Business Students to Negotiate at St. Thomas May 2013

A partnership between the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and the Fachhochschule  Trier in Germany offers their students a unique experience. Students meet peers from other countries; discover cultural differences and commonalities; study international business, trade laws and ethics; and apply that knowledge in contract negotiations.

Check out our recent blog posts from an MBA student on her experience negotiating in Germany.

Hauptmarkt public square is Trier's main marketplace

Trier is the oldest German city, with an approximate population of 105,000. It is located in the very west of Germany on the banks of the Moselle River, near the Luxembourg border.

Business students from the Fachhochschule Trier will visit St. Thomas next spring (May 27 to June 1) to engage in simulated contract negotiations with St. Thomas students as part of International Business Law and Business, Law & Ethics courses (BLAW 303 & BLAW 615). Site visits and meetings with executives from multinational organizations will provide insight and exposure to legal, business, contractual, ethical and cultural issues that business professionals face in international business.

Read more on The Global Business Education Initiative blog.

Centers, Ethics, Newsroom

The Business Case for Teamwork Skills

This post, by Neil Hamilton and Verna Monson, Ph.D. comes from the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership blog and was published in Minnesota Lawyer on April 16, 2012

Over a century ago, entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie observed “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision – the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Lawyers seek to obtain uncommon results for each client, and an effective lawyer has to develop excellent skills to work as a team both with each client and with the lawyers, staff, and others to address the client’s objectives efficiently.

This essay reviews highlights of empirical research on the importance of teamwork skills for the individual lawyer and for the law firm or law department. We then summarize the major findings of scholarly work on both the essential elements necessary for effective teamwork and dispel some myths about teamwork. Continue Reading

Ethics, Newsroom, Student Life

Being Honest

By Deb Basarich, Full-time UST MBA Associate Director of Student Life


I was once asked in a job interview “When is it OK to lie?” I’ve often thought about this question and have asked it to others. The answers I receive vary, but I’ve found most people can identify a time when it’s OK to lie. A recent post by Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network entitled “Do People Really Want You To Be Honest?” makes me wonder – do they?

Peter suggests that we often “position messages to gain buy-in from others” or to “present things in a light that we think will make it easier for others to accept.” By doing this are we protecting someone else’s feelings or are we really just protecting our own? Have there been times where we may have tweaked our answer in order to make our answer seem less rude or make it more acceptable?

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Career Services, Ethics, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Resolve to be “flawsome” in 2012

Today is January 2, and hopefully most of you have not given up on your resolutions for the new year already.  One of the mistakes that many people make is that they look at resolutions as an “all-or-nothing” proposition.  The thought process goes something like this:  “Well, I said I’d be on time for work every day this year, and I got to work 10 minutes late today, so I’m just going to give up on my resolution for the rest of the year.”  Making one mistake doesn’t mean that all is lost.  Admitting your mistake and vowing to do better in the future is a much better course of action.

A recent article in Forbes looked at this from a corporate marketing/public relations perspective.  Domino’s Pizza endured some terrible PR a couple of years ago.  Rather than trying to cover up or talk away the severity of the issue, the company decided to face it head-on–and won quite a bit of respect in the process.  As the article notes, “Despite the best intentions in presentation, no brand, company or representative is perfect. How imperfect moments are handled can make the difference between a small situation or reputation capital vaporized in short order.”

So as you make decisions that affect your company as well as your personal “brand” in 2012, do your best to avoid pitfalls and scandals.  But when the inevitable misstep occurs, remember to be “flawsome”–be authentic, admit your mistake, and chart a course to remedy the situation.  That’s a New Year’s resolution we all have a chance of keeping!

Ethics, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Are business schools failing at teaching business ethics?

A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article featured two guest columnists debating whether or not business schools are doing a good job teaching MBA students about business ethics.  Dr. Kenneth Goodpaster, the David and Barbara Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics at the Opus College of Business, wrote a response to this article.  It was published online by Businessweek a few days ago; you can read his entire response below, as well as in the comments section of the original article linked above.

Kenneth Goodpaster, Ph.D.

Kenneth Goodpaster, Ph.D.

Michael Beer’s observation that management education, analogous to legal and medical education, has “for the most part” not delivered on its historical promise to prepare business executives as professionals is a limited generalization, but does have some merit, and is documented with insight and historical scholarship by Harvard Business School Professor Rakesh Khurana in his book From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession.

In a forthcoming book from Cambridge University Press, Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience, I have worked with a team of scholars to offer a portrait of more than two centuries of business thought and practice in the U.S.   The second of those two centuries has witnessed the emergence of B-schools in universities. 

To level a charge of unfulfilled promises against business education during this time is not unwarranted, even if it must be carefully qualified in view of the fact that many schools do explicitly or implicitly embrace what Beer calls “higher-ambition principles.” (I’m relieved to say that one such place is the school I work for, the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, where business students are imbued with the idea that profit is not the goal of business. Rather, it is the deserved reward for a business that offers products and services that fully meet customers’ needs, provides a safe and respectful work environment at a fair and equitable wage, and respects and protects the physical and societal environments in which it operates.)  Continue Reading

Ethics, Faculty, Newsroom

‘Tis Better to Give than to Give Back

By Christopher Michaelson, Ph.D.

‘Tis the season to give back. Last year in the United States, total charitable giving of more than 2% of GDP was redistributed from wealthy corporations and the well-to-do to comparatively needy organizations and the poor whose activities do not earn them enough in the free market. Much of that giving typically occurs around the December holidays – motivated by, for example, Salvation Army bell-ringers and United Way corporate campaigns taking advantage of the holiday spirit, and by the accidental timing of tragedy: the Bam earthquake in December 2003, the Indian Ocean tsunami a year later and the Haitian earthquake that struck in January 2010. This year, in many cases, the very bankers who were blamed for the global recession will head up the lists of most magnanimous companies and individuals.

Although giving back has decreased moderately since the recession, need has grown. More Americans are living below or treacherously close to the poverty line, and over one billion people worldwide earn less than $1.25 a day. Meanwhile, the wealthiest 20% of Americans account for more than 80% of total American wealth. Many of them recognize they have more than enough for themselves and a surplus to give back; paradoxically, relatively fewer support a tax structure that would rein in the widening wealth gap. A similar surface paradox subsists in foreign aid: While the United States ranks at the top of the list in the amount of official development assistance provided to poorer nations, it is near the bottom when that total is expressed as a percentage of gross national income. Continue Reading

EveningMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, Study Abroad

Follow the Sun

This post is by Lindsey Buhrmann, student in the Evening UST MBA program and comes from her blog, Lead Changes.

Smooth Sailing in MinneapolisThree weeks ago I didn’t realize that Sydney, Australia, is a 16-hour time difference from Minneapolis, or that Minnesota/London office hours take place during “my morning” and “their afternoon.” In short, while I was aware of life and commerce outside of “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” I didn’t need to operate in a global environment on a daily basis.

I recently started a new job at a large multinational organization, which means my days are now spent working in a global environment. It’s exciting and a bit humbling to see how business is done on an international scale and I get so energized communicating with, assisting and learning from my colleagues around the world.

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EveningMBA, Executive MBA, FTMBA, Local business, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

Intersections: Where theory and practice converge

General Mills senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Mark Addicks has overall responsibility for the company’s world-class marketing function and its marketing services organization, Gcom.

General Mills senior vice president and chief marketing officer Mark Addicks has overall responsibility for the company’s world-class marketing function and its marketing services organization, Gcom.

Last week the Opus College of Business announced the launch of its “Intersections” speaker series. The four-part series for the 2011-2012 academic year will put top local executives and academics on the same stage to converse about important and emerging business issues and related best practices. The events are designed to be a place where practice and theory meet and will feature strategic insights on the topics of marketing, ethics, organizational effectiveness and innovation from firsthand experiences as well as published research.

Each hour-long event will be held free of charge to the general public at the school’s Schulze Hall auditorium, 46 11th Street South in downtown Minneapolis.

For the inaugural event, Dean Puto will team up with Mark Addicks, General Mills Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, to discuss, through an open, conversational format, “Intersections in Marketing” at the inaugural event on Thursday, November 10. The formal program, which includes a time of Q&A, will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. and a welcome reception will begin at 5 p.m. Remaining topics in the series will focus on ethics, organizational effectiveness and innovation and will feature leaders from Best Buy, Target and 3M. Continue Reading

Career Services, Ethics, EveningMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

The glass doors

By Lindsey Buhrmann, a student in the evening MBA program.

private-dining-room-1995-staff[1]Glass doors separated the women executives from the rest of the patrons at the restaurant. My pal, A., who is also earning her master’s in the Evening UST MBA program kept watch on this group of seasoned and accomplished career women while I shoved lobster and risotto in my mouth, a meal ordered in celebration of a new job.

The women looked to be 20 to 30 years our senior and the idea of becoming one of them someday was intriguing. We had just attended a program at the Opus College of Business with other MBA candidates about a man who opened his own bike shop as a teenager and now – years later – continues to watch his business thrive. How fortunate he was to discover his calling so soon and be able to develop a sound business model centered around his passion! And what were we doing when we were 13?

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Ethics, Media, Newsroom

Fast Company asks: Are B-School Graduates More Ethical? Yes, at UST.

bgp_home[2]Last week Fast Company posted an article on the results of the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey of how schools are teaching social, environmental, and ethical topics:

Many industry watchers saw business schools as contributing factors in the financial crisis, arguing that, by failing to challenge orthodoxies, and overlooking “socially useless” activities, they helped create conditions for collapse. That nearly every relevant banker, regulator, and politician was an MBA graduate helped make the case.

But what about now? Have b-schools changed? Yes, and no, according to [the] survey. On the one hand, MBA programs are teaching more social, environmental, and ethical content than ever. Four-fifths now require students to take a business and society course, compared to just 34% in 2001. …On the other hand, schools have yet to significantly reform “core” subjects like finance and accounting.

Dawn R. Elm, Ph.D., Chair of UST’s Department of Ethics and Business Law notes that in the Opus College of Business “we do have a required business ethics course in all of our programs, and we supplement our ethical focus with integration of the emphasis on ethics and values as the whole proposition across all the courses in our curricula.” Continue Reading