I began my journey in the nonprofit space 6 years ago back in India. At the time, I had spent a year in for profit consulting and had already begun to burn out with the long hours, constant travel and repetitive client meetings. I was looking for a change
On Friday February 15th, Net Impact gathered the socially conscious among us for the Social Impact Summit at Gleacher. The theme of the Summit this year was Social Intrapreneurship: Creating Impact for Society and Value for your Employer.
I can still recall last year’s Emerging Markets Summit vividly. I remember having heated small group discussions with the Director of Country Credit Risk at the World Bank and a Vice President of Google in India.
The biggest struggle for me while moving cities has been to figure out the ‘food scene’. In a city like Chicago, this sounds like an absurd ask, but when you are ‘vegetarian’, it starts to make a little more sense.
What if modern corporations pursued ethics at the expense of profits? This was the question posed by Prof. Luigi Zingales to an audience of approximately 30 students Monday at an event hosted by Catholics at Booth and the Lumen Christi Institute. The answer, according to Zingales, is that modern corporations should seek to maximize utility, not profits, and that it is the duty of shareholders today to hold their corporations responsible for ethical violations.
Zingales began his discussion by focusing on the source of what he termed a “Copernican Revolution” in finance and ethics: Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones (or Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system), a new document commissioned by Pope Francis and written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document states that the “vision of man individualistically understood, as primarily a consumer whose worth consists above all in a maximization of his earned income” is inadequate. Instead, the document states that “the human person . . . has a sense for gains and flourishing that are more holistic, not reducible either to a logic of consumption or to the economic aspects of life.” Zingales contrasted the document with Milton Friedman’s conclusion that “the sole social responsibility of a corporation is maximizing profits,” which has effectively become the assumption upon which modern corporations operate. Citing the sparse legal indictments of business leaders in finance following the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent economic crash, Zingales found Pope Francis’s writings to be necessary to build a more ethical economy moving forward.
The bulk of the speech focused on how to turn Pope Francis’s words from theory into reality. According to Zingales, the change must start with shareholders deciding to “invest and engage,” using their votes to force corporations to make decisions that prioritize ethics over profits. As an example, Zingales spoke of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, an investor group run by nuns that has invested in firearm manufacturers and for decades attempted to use those investments to pressure the manufacturers to take steps to reduce gun violence. The group claimed victory following the Parkland school shooting when BlackRock joined them in publicly demanding that firearm manufacturers respond to the tragedy. As current and future financial investors and business leaders, Zingales stated that MBA students have a responsibility to follow in the steps of these activist investors in forcing companies to think about ethics and not just profits. He reminded the audience that “not choosing [to actively invest] is choosing not to choose,” and that attempting to avoid the debate over ethics entirely was a moral choice, endorsing the status quo.
In response, Booth students asked questions regarding obstacles to Zingales’ proposal in the United States. The first challenge involved forcing corporations to be more transparent regarding their business operations. In response, Zingales advocated for better protections and rewards for whistleblowers, as they are the key to making unethical practices known. The second challenge involved tolerance for companies that make controversial ethical decisions. Zingales responded that Americans must learn to be tolerant of competing ethical systems. As an example of the U.S.’s failure to be tolerant in this regard, he referenced the recent Hobby Lobby case before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the Hobby Lobby owners argued that the Obama administration’s insistence that they cover contraceptives in their health care plans violated their desire to run their business according to Christian principles. According to Zingales, Hobby Lobby should be able to run its business according to its own ethical principles. The effort to make businesses consider ethics over profits will never succeed in a pluralistic society, he argued, if Americans are only willing to accept corporations that align with their own ethical and political preferences.
On Tuesday, February 5th, three renowned scholars debated the place of faith in the world today. Professor David Nirenberg, the Interim Dean of the UChicago Divinity School, moderated the discussion
When I heard of First Day – the idea of meeting my future (potential) friends, experiencing the community, TNDC and even a class – it sounded fantastic! But I was in India and only dreaming.
AudioBooth’s LPF featured bands Ida Noise and Baby Daddy, along with DJ Greg Kim, Singer / Guitarist Yang Zheng, the A Capella group Economies of Scale, and rock and roll duo Liquin and Lawyer.
Chicagoans are a hardy bunch and don’t just survive, but thrive in the winter. From holiday festivals to wintertime only bar and restaurant experiences, winter has become one of the best seasons to be in Chicago!
The Venture Capital Investment Competition is coordinated at Booth under the leadership of Professor Scott Meadow. This year Partners from Listen Ventures, Origin Ventures, 7 Wire Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures Partners, Wintrust, Energize Ventures, Company First, Jump Capital and Horwood Marcus and Berk served as judges to the six finalist teams.
Every year, nearly 400 Boothies descend on the slopes of the best ski resorts, to blow off some post-finals steam. This year at Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was no exception.
Closer to home in India, thousands people in smaller cities were struggling to apply to business schools as they lacked the network or finances. Even more heartbreaking was to learn, from 50+ of my international friends at b-school I spoke to, that messages on LinkedIn from those MBA aspirants were going unanswered.
Dr. Rajan was generous to meet bunch of MBA exchange students and full-time Booth students at an intimate conversation on financial and economic risks surrounding the world. He started with a quick background of three imminent risks facing emerging markets today
As January comes to a close, Boothies are relieved not to have bidding strategy on their mind. Maybe you spent all your bid points on Professor Epley’s “Designing a Good Life”. Or maybe you’re bid-poor from snagging that coveted consulting interview. Have no fear – you won’t need any bid points for Giving Something Back’s Charity Auction!
For veterans at Chicago Booth, one event stands out among the myriad cocktail hours, dinners, and Liquidity Preference Functions that comprise the MBA experience. That event is, of course, the Dining Out.
The 2018 Fall Exchange, which took place across 9 U.S. cities with over 125 attendees from graduating classes 1977 to 2020, explored how women can develop political savvy and personal strategy in the workplace.
Last weekend, on Nov. 10, two teams from Booth, CHIdeation and Maroon Mid-westerners, participated at the Kellogg Design Competition (KDC), an initiative sponsored by Medtronic.
On November 9, Booth Health Care Group hosted the 17th Annual Booth Health Care Conference at the University Club of Chicago. This year’s conference, with 280 attendees, was the largest healthcare conference hosted by the school.
For me, at least, there’s something unaccountably comforting about being in a bar or restaurant when Chicago’s wind and chill rage outside. And if I must escape to a winter bunker, I’d prefer to be somewhere in the Ukrainian Village.
The consultant learns an enormous amount about what not to do in business rather than what to do. If you have an ambition to start your own business, there may not be much you can learn in consulting that will help you when or if you do strike out on your own.