Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation

Baylor Business Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation

Business Ethics Forum Focuses on Entrepreneurship

Dec. 4, 2012

In its eleventh straight year, Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business hosted the Dale P. Jones Business Ethics Forum, November 7 - 16, 2012. The forum, which engaged students, faculty, alumni and business leaders in discussions of major ethical issues facing the business world today, was sponsored by The Dale P. Jones Ethics Endowment, The Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business Endowment, BancAssets and BancVue.

This year's theme, "Starting with Integrity: Entrepreneurship and Ethics," aimed to help students understand the importance of ethics in experiential and interactive ways.

The annual forum kicked off with a panel discussion on November 7th that featured David Busch, CEO of Hawaiian Falls; Chris Deleenher, CEO of Sunzer Consulting Group; Morgan Johnson, director of the Slum Empowerment Ministry, Come, Let's Dance; and Gil Sheehan, founder and president of Barrington Gifts.

Dr. Mitchell Neubert, associate professor and Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business, moderated the panel. Neubert noted, "The panel guests highlighted diverse ways Christians can intentionally live out their faith through business, and they encouraged the audience to bring their faith to all their entrepreneurial endeavors."

In addition to bringing together speakers and industry experts from around the country, the forum also hosted two competitions for students, a Business Ethics Case Competition for Baylor students and an invitational MBA National Case Competition in Ethical Leadership.

In the Business Ethics Case Competition, teams consisted of four graduate students or four undergraduate Baylor business students. The first place teams from each league were awarded a $1,000 prize. The competition also awarded two special honors, Best Presenter and Best Q&A. This year's winners were:

League #1 Team Winners: Brooke Borgias, Hannah Franzen, Hannah Gore, Ileana Sanchez

  • Best Presenter in League: Hannah Franzen
  • Best Q/A in League: Hannah Gore

League #2 Team Winners: Patrick Kendrick, Angela Ombaso, Bryson Reynolds, Justin Shannon

  • Best Presenter in League: Angela Ombaso
  • Best Q/A in League: Michael Heath

League #3 Team Winners: Brian Browder, Tanya Bukowski, Charles Kelly, Matt Richey

  • Best Presenter in League: Cody Orr
  • Best Q/A in League: Kendra Collette

League #4 Team Winners: Reece Fitzgerald, Stephen Garner, Ryan Gebhart, Jerry Hodge

  • Best Presenter in League: Preston Williams
  • Best Q/A in League: Matthew Polk

League #5 Team Winners: Louis Agnone, Wenhui An, Bracken Arnhart, Sunkanmi Agbomeji

  • Best Presenter in League: Joy Lee
  • Best Q/A in League: Joe Aviles

League #6 Team Winners: Jeff Bischoff, Sherri Sanchez, Josh Smith, Thomas Totoe

  • Best Presenter in League: Charlie Gasmire
  • Best Q/A in League: Chase Cutler

In the MBA National Case Competition in Ethical Leadership, sponsored by BancAssets and BancVue, graduate students from across the country competed in multiple rounds. Participants in this year's competition represented Auburn University, Baylor University, Iowa State University, Pepperdine University, Texas A&M University, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Washington. First through third place winners in this year's competition received $5,000, $1,200, and $1,000 respectively. This year's winners were:

  • 1st Place - Pepperdine University: Thomas Mitchell, Adam Buffum, Maria Carrasco, Neha Shrivistava
  • 2nd Place - University of Illinois: Christopher Angelica, Melissa Chua, Ameya Alkari, Arjun Dutta
  • 3rd Place - Baylor University: Josh Smith, Jeff Bischoff, Hunter Miller, Preston Williams
  • Best Presenters: Morgan Hawley Ford, University of Minnesota; Adam Day, Texas A&M University; Kim Thelwell, University of Florida
  • Best Q/A: Jake Titus, University of Minnesota; Sindhu Rao, University of Pittsburgh; Spencer Siegel, University of Florida

"For the first time, we developed a case for the MBA competition and had the subject of the case also speak at the luncheon that the MBAs attended," said Marlene Reed, Baylor Business Entrepreneur-in-Residence. "The ethical dilemma of the MBA case was one faced by Cecilia Levine, founder and President of MFI International. During the luncheon, Levine suggested that one's integrity is like a shawl that Mexican women wear that wraps them up from the time they are a baby until death," added Reed.

This year's keynote address was delivered by Nancy Richards, founder and chairman of the First Preston HT family of companies. Richards also founded HomeTelos, a technology company specializing in online real estate sales and management. She was recognized as Ernst & Young's 2004 Southwest "Entrepreneur of the Year" for Real Estate/Construction/Hospitality and won their prestigious "National Entrepreneur of the Year Award" in 2005.

"One of the great outcomes of the Entrepreneurship Ethics Conference was the opportunity for students to hear entrepreneurs discuss some of the ethical dilemmas they face that are unique to their particular industries," continued Reed. "Each of them suggested that it was their commitment to Christian values that guided their lives and helped them make decisions with which they could live."

The forum concluded with a panel discussion on "Entrepreneurial Ethics" on November 16. Panelists included Kim Galvan from Bentwood Realty, David Hill from BancAssets, Blake Mattson from Mattson Financial Services and Jake Roye from Chick-fil-A.

"From the initial Business as Missions panel to keynotes by Nancy Richards and Cecilia Levine, and then echoed again in our concluding panel, we were challenged to hold fast to our ethics and never cross the line into unethical behavior," said Neubert. "We were reminded through the stories of successful entrepreneurs that despite particularly challenging short-term costs, acting ethically offers the long-term benefits of building trust and enhancing your reputation."

Past business ethics forum topics have covered cyber ethics, marketing rights and responsibilities, finance and ethics, the responsibilities of business, conflicts of interest for leaders and leadership lessons from Enron and Anderson.

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