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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Ethical MBAs

All grads should take oath — and seriously

As a physician who clearly remembers and cherishes the day I repeated the Hippocratic oath, I was drawn to the recent article “MBAs will vow to be more ethical” [News, May 31].

As I read the article I discovered that at the Harvard Business School a small group of students had written an oath they asked graduating students to sign essentially saying they would refrain from advancing their own ambitions at the expense of others.

As someone who believes this is an oath we should all take as compassionate human beings, I was slightly surprised that there wasn’t already some sort of code of ethical standard at business schools. The real shocker came when I read that only 20 percent of the graduating class was willing to sign it. I find it incredibly sad and disheartening that a full 80 percent of these future leaders of our businesses and Wall Street do not feel comfortable signing such an oath.

The headline surely should have been “Few MBAs vow to be more ethical,” and perhaps in the future such an oath should be required for admission to business schools.

— J. Michael Watt, MD, Seattle

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