The Individual, Business, and Society Curriculum at Columbia

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The Individual, Business, and Society Curriculum at Columbia

The Individual, Business, and Society (IBS): Tradeoffs, Choices, and Accountability curriculum at Columbia Business School presents students with ethically conflicting dilemmas and the chance for open discussion to analyze and scrutinize these dilemmas through group discussions, speaker sessions, and case studies.

In the classroom, core classes and electives prepare students to deeply examine the tradeoffs, accountabilities and conflicts of ethical decisions. Developed under the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, core class topics include Corporate Finance, Creating Organizational Effectiveness, Decision Models, Financial Accounting, Global Economic Environment, Managing Marketing Problems, and Strategy Formulation among others. Each of these core courses debate and challenge the conflicts that businesses and individuals face in growing success ethically while contributing to greater society. Topics include the debate of outsourcing and offshoring, social responsibility and customer value, fairness in setting pricing quotas, property rights and predatory costing, global income inequality, etc. During these topics, students learn the complexities of decision making and the difficulties involved in reconciling seemingly conflicting goals. Ethics and values are similarly explored through elective courses such as Personal Leadership and Success, Finance and Sustainability, and Business in Society: Doing Well By Doing Good.

Beginning at orientation and continuing throughout the school year, Columbia Business School additionally holds special sessions of integrative and interactive events as part of the IBS curriculum. These sessions address the moral exchanges between equity and efficiency, how individual values may conflict with values within the organization and how to address these conflicts, and maintaining organizational and corporate accountability. Past events have included the appearance of alumni and New York business leaders to speak to these issues, as well as movie premiers, documentary showings, interactive theatre, panels of industry leaders, and the IBS sessions, which include: The KPMG Pear Marwich/Stanley R. Klion Forum speaker series; The Paul M. Montrone Seminar Series on Ethics (a small group roundtable discussion to engage students); and The Botwinick Prize in Ethics, awarded annually to industry leaders who show the highest standard of ethics.

During the courses, special sessions, and IBS speaker series and events, Columbia students are not only confronted with true-to-life ethical dilemmas that they will continue to face throughout their career, but are also exposed to some of business’ most renowned leaders, including Jack Welch, former chairman of GE; Paul Atkins and Harvey Goldschmid, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioners; and Howard Schultz, Chairman and Chief Global Strategist of Starbucks Coffee Company.

 

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