Warrington, UF MBA featured in BBC Radio series

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Warrington College of Business Administration and UF MBA were featured in the BBC Radio 4 program “The New MBAs,” a two-part series examining how business schools are addressing the problems that facilitated the global economic crash through ethics education.

Warrington was one of only five U.S. business schools featured in the series along with Harvard Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Part 2 of the series dealt with the response of U.S. business schools to the global economic crisis. The series discussed Warrington’s emphasis on ethics, notably the activities of the Poe Center for Business Ethics Education and Research and its Director, Virginia Maurer. Professor Maurer, borrowing from her experiences at academic dinners in the UK, instituted luncheons and dinners for Warrington staff and students to discuss ethical issues affecting business practices. The program also discussed Maurer’s chief teaching method of using a case study to demonstrate an ethical dilemma. She said the most difficult decision that students face is when there is not a simple choice between right and wrong.

“They have to recognize that this isn’t just one thing is ethical and the other is unethical,” Maurer said. “It’s that there are two ethical principles in conflict, and so you need an analytical process. That’s what I try to give them: A way of recognizing an ethical issue that might otherwise elude you, and analytical tools for recognizing the values at stake.”

Also appearing in the series was Alex Sevilla, Assistant Dean and Director of UF MBA Programs. Sevilla said he has noticed a contrast in the views of current MBA students in regards to ethics and business.

“There’s a difference sense and a different attitude with the group of students that are coming through our MBA program over the past three or four years versus what I would have seen certainly 10 to 12 years ago and even five or six years ago,” Sevilla said. “I do not believe it’s a passing phenomenon solely tied to the economic downturn and the global recession although I think that has been an accelerant to the topic and to the level of interest. But there is a natural desire for these students to want to learn about these issues and to make better decisions, and I think that says a lot about hopefully where we are going if these are the future leaders of industry. And if business schools do their job, then we hopefully will have some say in making that better versus holding them back.”