I suck at blogging… an attempt to catch up.

I started a blog back in January of 2013 – go figure! history repeating itself. In an effort to be all-conclusive, I’ve included those two successful posts (yes, only two) below.

1/18/13

While this is my first blog, I’m hoping it will be a success in modeling my growth throughout the MBA program.

January 14th, 2013 marked the beginning of a new chapter for me. As I entered my first graduate level class, a flood of emotions ran through me. I didn’t know whether I should be intimidated, nervous or excited! Introductions soon began and as I learned about my peers and their experiences, I quickly felt like the least accomplished individual in the room. Now that I’ve had time to process everything, I’ve decided it’s time to be excited!

Accounting was a ‘bear’ for me during my undergraduate attendance and I can already see that it’s going to hold true this semester as well. I’m hoping I’ll take away some valuable experience during this course, but I haven’t yet determined what there is to be excited about… more to come on this course later I suppose.

Tuesday night was Ethics. Although my night begin in a sheer panic to find the correct classroom (I found myself sitting in a Project Management course somehow.. thank goodness I asked!), it quickly turned to amusement, excitement and curiosity. My professor quickly gave the impression of a pompous know-it-all by skipping all introductions and simply beginning his lecture. He had my attention though, that’s for sure. I soon caught on to the possibility that this was a way of gaining alertness from his newest students. It worked. We began by discussing the difficult ethical dilemmas we would be analyzing throughout the semester and followed by debating the decisons made by characters in an article. My heart pounded when our professor started speaking about the article we received via email and were to have prepared for discussing prior to class… I didn’t get the email. Boy, was this an “ass” of a way to begin a solid student teacher relationship… luckily I wasn’t the only one and a courtesy 15-minutes-to-catch-up were extended.

By the end of the debate amoung my colleagues regarding the ethical dilemma that was faced in the article, I found myself reflecting on views I previously had and even contradicting myself… saying/thinking things I didn’t know I beleived in or felt so strongly about. The class ended with a video clip from the movie Everest that showed one man making the difficult decision to leave a man for dead at the summit of Mt. Everest.

I can’t get my mind off of what I would have done in the situation… it’s physically impossible to carry another person’s dead weight at those heights and altitudes, it’s too high for a helicopter to fly and years of training goes into preparing for a journey like that. Would I let one man’s decision to descend into this journey unprepared stop me from reaching my goal? Or better yet, would I let this man, a stranger to me, endanger my own life?

It’s incredible how thought provoking this class has already proven to be. I can’t wait to learn more…

Tonight: Organizational Behavior. We began class with typical introductions, a powerpoint and a reveiw of the expectations of the course and throughout the semester. We then participated in a “birthday lottery” (who knew!) to divide into groups for a small project and later divded ourselves according to skillsets for a larger project. Although it sounds cliche, I have to say, I enjoy finding out the goals, experiences and backgrounds of my peers and always appreciate the mundane introductions. Unfortunately our class was cut short due to inclement weather and we weren’t able to dive into any content however, from the overview of the syllabus, I’m looking forward to the course!

Well, I know this was a rough attempt at my first blog posting… but hey! Who’s it for anyway!?

I hope to be posting my experiences a few times a week throughout this program… stay tuned for lessons learned along my journey!

1/29/13

Rather than try to make up for the postings I missed last week, I’ll just start with tonight’s insight.

Like many other people I know, my Mom tends to be my sounding board. Increasingly I’m finding myself dialing her cell directly after my ethics class on Tuesday nights just to discuss the dilemma we argued that night. I haven’t yet figured out whether it’s my way of recapping the night’s discussion or if I just like the fact that our views are typically in line with one another. The opinions of my colleagues frustrate me sometimes and I think I may find it refreshing to hear someone in agreeance.

Tonight’s class opened with a thought provoking question of the responsibility of Anheuser Busch to minimize sales near an alcohol dependent Native American reservation. Long story short, of the 13 companies in this lawsuit, AB seems to be the one company most commonly attacked for their “corporate social responsibility” in this particular matter. What is interesting is that this lawsuit is not requesting that sales cease nor is it even focused on the minimization of sales, it’s merely seeking $500 million in damages from those 13 defendents. The arguments in the lawsuit are limited to staggering statistics stating, among others, the 90% of crimes on the DRY reservation being alochol related, the 150% higher teenage suicide rate and the 300% higher infant mortality rate than the U.S.

Of Anheuser Busch’s $10 billion in sales for 2012, $4.2 million came from the only city within walking distance of the reservation, White Clay. So the question is, just how far does the responsibility of the brewery go toward the alcohol dependency of this reservation? If Anheuser Busch limits it’s sales to White Clay, or better yet, ceases sales all together in the name of “saving face”, does that not just open a door for another supplier to step in? If AB were to settle outside of court and just hand any amount of money over, would it go to anything even remotely related to the issue presented? After all, AB is in the business of brewing and supplying, is it not? And who can deny the impact of $4.2 million in sales?

Without going too far on this particular case, I find it interesting the relationship between the common view of corporate social responsibility and the fundamental purpose of a business. Though the common definition tends to be; the purpose of the corporation is to maximize shareholder wealth, I think the more appropriate focus is on maximizing profits, in accordance to common ethical standards. What we do not see in the definition of a for-profit business is the purpose of maximizing the well-being of the stakeholders and, where the definition of the responsibility goes too far is when the corporation is expected to contribute so much to the good of the stakeholder that the purpose of the business in the first place is compromised.

This is a soap box I could stand on for a while, so I’ll spare you. But I hope you’ll find my condensed version of tonight’s lesson at least somewhat useful to your own considerations.

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