Business community changing as recession charges on

The recession is tough in a lot of ways, but there's some positive news coming out of the business sector. One of Business Week's cover stories ("The Risk Takers") described the best kind of risk companies can take that isn't based on greed: hunting for growth in a bad market. In a world of bleak news, it was good to hear about corporations diving into a raging sea seeking the treasure of new opportunities.

Perhaps I was particularly interested in hearing this kind of news because it seems that if there are those risk-takers out there, looking for the next big thing, than Detroit might have a chance. I mean, come on, where is there more risk than in Detroit? Then again, where is there a better place to try something completely new and innovative? I've got to think that with all the misfortune plaguing the City it'd be an eager beaver, ready to take on something, anything that could boost the circumstances.

The other really awesome thing I heard about was the push to create something similar to doctors' Hippocratic oath for business managers. The Economist had a great article in June about how 400 MBA's from Harvard Business School all took a voluntary oath the day before graduation. The article said the oath required MBA's to "avoid corruption, to represent the performance and risks of their firm accurately, to educate themselves continuously and to allow their peers to hold them to account." Not too shabby. And measurable, too!

Between the economy being in the dumps, unemployment numbers being daunting and corruption (see Detroit politics for examples) and outright fraud (see Bernie Madoff Wikipedia entry) being prevalent, it is refreshing to see the new members of the business community taking a more active interest with the value of all people, not just the value of shareholders. I'm not saying that there aren't companies out there with great social responsibility records, but the number is still too low. This time of need is exceptional.

One last thing that I really liked reading in the Economist's article was the fact that Harvard's new class feels the non-profit sector is their best bet. The article said the oath is one sign students are looking to "distance themselves from earlier generations of MBAs, whose wonky moral compasses were seen to have contributed to the turmoil, especially on Wall Street, the biggest employer of Harvard MBAs in recent years."

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