Dr. Mitchell Neubert, associate professor and holder of the Hazel and Harry Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business said the theme for this year’s forum is Starting with Integrity: Entrepreneurship and Ethics.
He said ethics is an integral part of the Baylor business school.
“We try to integrate ethics into all the classes,” he said. “We focus on bringing additional experiences outside of the classroom by bringing speakers and offering competitions for students to participate in to reinforce teaching in the classroom and focus on ethics. Ethics is part of our DNA.”
The forum will last three days and feature a variety of events.
The sixth annual Master’s of Business Administration National Case Competition, an all-day event in which participants will address and give a recommendation for an assigned, relevant ethical issue, will be held today.
Twenty-one teams consisting of four people, each from different universities across the country, will compete for the grand prize of $5,000. Twelve teams from Baylor will compete.
Anne Grinols, assistant dean for faculty development and college initiatives at Hankamer, said the competition began at Baylor due to an experience of a Baylor MBA team at a past competition.
She said the out-of-state event, which happened eight years ago, wasn’t run ethically and the Baylor students noticed. Grinols declined to comment as to how the competition was unethical.
“They asked ,‘Why doesn’t Baylor do this? Baylor would do it right.’ So I went to the MBA faculty members, and said we should start an ethics case competition that would be ethical,” Grinols said.
Grinols said the teams will be required to address a topical case in which a female entrepreneur is in conflict with the people she has partnered with for her business. Grinols said while the entrepreneur needs her connections, she is also protective of her employees.
Grinols said the point of the competition is to help students grapple with ethical issues in real-life business situations.
“It’s a real situation that outlines kinds of dilemmas that entrepreneurs can run into when they own their businesses ethically,” she said. “There’s not an answer between a good answer and a bad answer. They have to look at who’s going to be harmed and benefitted, and there is not a clear answer.”
Grinols said the competition is meant to teach students the ethical manner of business in order to prepare them for the future.
“We believe that if students come together, the experience to grapple with ethical issues in real-life situations will help them make ethical decisions when out in the business world,” she said. “If you start off ethically, you’re more likely to succeed,” she said. “Knowing what that ethical start entails is vital.”
The second event will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the Banquet Room on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center, featuring keynote speaker entrepreneur and Baylor alumna Nancy Richards, the founder and chairwoman of First Preston HT, one of the largest real estate entities in the country.
Neubert said Richards will be speaking about her experiences as a leader in ethical decision-making and the ethical challenges about her position.
Thursday’s event is free and open to the public.
The third day of the forum will feature keynote speaker Cecillia Levine, president of MFI International, an international provider of Turnkey Contract Manufacturing and Shelter Services.
The event, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in the Conference Room on the fifth floor of Cashion, is invitation-only.