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News - 15 November 2008

The Aspen Institute Bookstore: Where Will They Lead? 2008 MBA Student Attitudes About Business & Society

This is the third time in the last nine years that Aspen BSP has surveyed MBA students to find out what they are learning and thinking about that relationship. What we have discovered through those surveys is that MBA programs definitely influence the way students think about the role of business and its relationship to society once they become managers and leaders. (Each of the surveys was conducted via the internet by Universum, a global consulting and communications company. 1,943 students responded to the 2007 survey.) This recent survey shows some encouraging changes in the way business school curriculum addresses the complex relationship between social issues and business practices and decisions. Business students in 2007 are thinking more broadly about the primary • responsibilities of a company. In addition to citing shareholder maximization and • satisfying customer needs, more students are also saying “creating value for the • communities in which they operate” is a primary business responsibility. • MBA students are expressing more interest in finding work that offers the potential • of making a contribution to society. (26% of respondents in 2007 say this is an • important factor in their job selection compared with 15% in 2002.) That said, business schools and companies have not convinced them that • environmental and social responsibility contribute to corporate financial success. Although more students in 2007 than in 2002 believe it is very likely that they will • face values conflicts on the job, the further they progress through their MBA program • the less confident they feel that their business school training is preparing them to • manage those conflicts.

15 Nov 2008

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