Buisness Ethics Forum kicks off

Bill Simon, former president and CEO of Wal-Mart, and Tom Mars, former general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., spoke at the Buisness Ethics Forum Tuesday evening. Photo credit: Timothy Hong

By Bailey Brammer | Staff Writer

The annual Dale P. Jones Business Ethics Forum began on Tuesday evening at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation with speeches by Bill Simon, former president and CEO of Wal-Mart, and Tom Mars, former general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The forum will run from Nov. 1-11 and will include lectures from leaders in the business world, as well as student competitions.

“If something happens to you, and you end up in an unfair situation, the key to success is to keep your eyes on the next step,” Mars said. “When you trip and fall, get back up, as long as you’ve done the right thing.”

Mars and Simon discussed how to react in the business world when accused with untrue allegations, using Mars’ own experience of being ousted by Wal-Mart after charges of bribery in 2014 as an example.

In addition to Simon and Mars, other business leaders such as Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, and Bert Smith, CEO of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, will be giving lectures throughout the forum.

According to the Baylor Business School website, the Business Ethics Forum has been held annually at Baylor University since 2005.

“We have a broad theme for this year’s ethics forum. It’s ‘Just Business,'” said Mitchell Neubert, Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business at Baylor. “It’s about the idea of fairness and ethics in business, and that’s lived out in a variety of ways.”

Three different competitions will also take place during the forum, according to Baylor Media Communications press release. These contests are designed to provide students with realistic ethical challenges and promote growth and leadership.

“The forum helps you learn more about business and get out of a classroom setting,” said Pearland freshman Abigail Finger. “And competing gets people out of their comfort zones.”

The 11th annual Business Ethics Case Competition on Friday will consist of teams of undergraduate and graduate students presenting an ethics case and their recommendations in formal business presentations. The winning team in each league will receive a $500 prize.

Twelve teams of students from across the U.S. will contend in the 10th annual National M.B.A. Case Competition in Ethical Leadership on Nov. 10. The winning team will be awarded the grand prize of $5,000, and the second and third place teams will also receive lesser prizes.

First-year business students at Baylor will have the opportunity to compete in the Ethics SLAM! Competition Thursday through Friday for a $100 gift card to the Baylor Bookstore.

While these competitions offer students a chance to test the waters of the real world, Simon gave students some parting advice on dealing with ethics and business as they move forward in their careers.

“There’s no gray in ethics, and there’s no gray in business,” Simon said. “When you make a mistake, the earlier you can acknowledge it and correct it, the better off you are. And, if you didn’t do anything wrong, stand up for yourself.”