Baylor grad R. Dean Graves discusses living ethically at second forum event

By Michael Knight | Reporter

Students gathered in the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation Tuesday night to hear about applying a balanced ethical approach as part of a featured keynote speech.

This second keynote speaker, Baylor grad R. Dean Graves, spoke about “ethical breakdowns” as part of a series for the 2019 Dale P. Jones Business Ethics Forum.

R. Dean Graves is currently a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) Disputes and Investigations in Houston and specializes in damage analysis and related financial issues.

He has also previously worked with multiple Big Five accounting firms and was a senior managing director at a large consulting firm. At Baylor, Graves received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master of professional accountancy degree.

Graves started out his keynote speech with words of advice to the students, speaking about how one can be ethical, yet still live a balanced, fulfilling life.

“Acting in an ethical manner doesn’t mean that you can’t make a very good living,” Graves said. “It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. I would argue that acting in an ethical manner enables you to have a long-lasting career and have a lot of fun doing it.”

As the title of the keynote would suggest, Graves spent much of his lecture giving multiple stories and examples of ethical situations that he has witnessed to the audience, and pointing out where the breakdown of ethics occurred. At his current job, Graves said he deals with these types of situations and tries to find the best outcome when they arise.

Graves also said that when someone is unethical, the consequences can be greatly impactful, and that the amount of money that can be earned and the chance of landing another job can go drastically down.

The night ended with students asking various questions to Graves. A few students texted in their questions, and several answers lead to additional stories about the industry that he could share.

Dr. Mitchell Neubert, associate dean for research and faculty development, opened up this keynote by giving thoughts on the forum, as well as encouraging students to text in questions that they may have during the speech.

“Ethics is really important to the business school,” Neubert said, “And this [forum] is one way to reinforce that, to hear from leaders in the industry and talk about ethics.”

The next big event in the forum is the “Ethical Leadership in the Energy Industry” panel that will bring together several names from big companies, including Cynthia Hablinski from Shell, Mark McCollum from Weatherford International and Tom Carbone from TriGlobal Energy.

Later this week on Nov. 7-8, the 13th annual National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership will be taking place, which spreads across 12 universities and serves to find bright and ethical minds across the upcoming business world.

For more information about the event, visit their web page and the Baylor Business site.