The idea of bringing the Oath to MIP was raised by a small group of MBA students. The motivations behind our choice were connected with the acknowledgment that part of the current crisis is due to errors and misconduct carried out by managers, both in private companies and in public organizations. We feel, as MBA students and future managers, that it is our duty to confront difficult topics such as ethics and decision making in complex contexts, which are unfortunately not dealt with in depth by most MBA programs. Taking the Oath encourages us to analyze our own beliefs and motivations, and make a public commitment to uphold ethical standards in our communities.
During the year, we arranged meetings among interested MBA students where we discussed the Oath and its implications. We decided not to include the Oath ceremony into the Graduation ceremony as we felt it was a personal choice whether to be involved or should not have been a mandatory commitment. Instead, we arranged a small Oath ceremony at the end of the class period before going on to our individual internships. The school was also involved in the process and assisted us in arranging the ceremony. As the class who introduced the Oath at MIP, we see our work as just the beginning. The school has decided to continue the Oath project with a more structured approach for future editions, organizing specific events dedicated to the topic and extending the Oath project to all the students of the school.
First, we sent an email to the MBA class in an effort to involve as many people as possible and to explain to them what we saw as the value of such an initiative. We invited them to join a group discussion and then arranged a meeting for interested students and approached the school for support. We held a third meeting to involve those students who had not already participated in the previous ones giving them another chance to get involved. Finally, we set a date for the Oath Ceremony and finalized the planning. Our efforts resulted in 70% of the class taking the Oath, a number we were very proud of, given that this was a brand new initiative. We hope to continue to expand and fortify our efforts.
The first suggestion is to start as soon as possible during the MBA year. As months pass, the calendar gets busier and busier, and it gets more difficult to involve people and allocate time for meetings. Try to build a strong group of very committed students who can work together and involve as many people as possible. It is also important to involve the school for two reasons: to find support and – if possible – to have some seminars and classes specifically dedicated to corporate ethics and responsible management. Make sure you prepare material, slides and meeting notes and make these available to students who are unable to attend the meetings. This will help them to get a better understanding of what the Oath is about and also to feel that they are a part of the process. Finally, plan the date of the Oath carefully in a way that allows the highest possible number of people to participate. Be flexible!
We are extremely proud that our initiative, which began with just few students, grew steadily and in the end 70% of the class decided to commit to the Oath. Not bad for the first MBA class ever to take the Oath in an Italian business school! We have already introduced the idea to the incoming MBA class and we were encourage by the enthusiasm they showed as well as the school’s dedication to the project’s continued success!