Does Ethical Leadership Pay? 4 Advantages of a Purposeful Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Business management has historically centered around growth. How can an enterprise make more money, increase its profit margin and grow its market share?

But can a more meaningful metric matter for business success? It turns out there is a benefit to making business decisions that speak to social, environmental and ethical causes as well. Studies show companies with policies that reinforce a cultural commitment to sustainability outperform those that don’t. And with a new generation of workers seeking company values when choosing where to work, businesses are having to compete on a deeper level in order to attract top talent.

This cultural shift means doing good is now a critical part of any long-term business strategy. And behind that strategy is an inevitable need for skilled, ethical leaders who can manage both profits and purpose in business.

How can ethical leadership skills in your MBA set you apart?

At Saint Joseph’s College (SJC), an ethical perspective has always influenced our undergraduate and graduate programs. As a liberal arts college with a mission to “nurture intellectual, spiritual and social growth in students of all ages and all faiths,” challenging students to evaluate their decisions on a deeper level is par for the course.

This is even true within our MBA program – a degree that, for many colleges, is primarily about how an individual can climb the corporate ladder. Nancy Kristiansen, the Director of Business Administration programs, embraces a more holistic approach. She believes businesses don’t have to lose sight of values in order to be successful. Those values actually offer you a competitive advantage in today’s business world.

So how can you stay ahead of this trend toward ethics in business? Read on for a few reasons why an MBA for ethical leaders can set you apart as you advance your career.

  1. You’ll develop skills for achieving profits while upholding values
    Fundamentals like finance, human resources management and marketing are must-haves for any quality MBA program. But not every program develops these skills while balancing profitability with social responsibility.At Saint Joseph’s College, students are exposed to dynamic MBA courses designed to challenge “bottom-line thinking.” In the Leadership MBA program (for those with prior career experience), the tiered curriculum focuses on training students to guide organizations with an understanding of context, relationships, sustainability and strategy. Kristiansen points out that the curriculum in each track is tailored to a unique point in an individual’s career, but the goal is similar — to give students the tools they need to influence through ethical decision-making and not just pressure for the bottom line.
  2. You’ll expand your concept of sustainability in business
    “In its most holistic sense, business administration is certainly about knowing what makes an enterprise sustainable,” Kristiansen says. “How can a business ensure its longevity?” But the concept of sustainability doesn’t stop there. She explains that other factors, like social justice, economic equity, strategy, risk-based thinking and global thinking, must all be considered. At Saint Joseph’s College, these topics are woven into the curriculum, so students get used to thinking about business administration from every angle. This is a critical skill for leaders who want to remain relevant in changing times. “For the next generation of business leaders, sustainability is a word that isn’t going away,” Kristiansen explains. “Even in our accreditation standards, that word is taking root.”
  3. You’ll evolve your approach to managing people
    Being a good manager isn’t just about managing your team’s workload and giving year-end reviews. Some of the most influential leaders are those who inspire their teams to push boundaries and motivate them toward achieving a common goal. The caliber of leadership needed to achieve this is not always easy to find, but it is worth investing in. Studies show workplace satisfaction and productivity increase when modern managers lead from an ethical, purposeful standpoint. Thanks to courses like Cross-Cultural Leadership, Strategic Leadership of Human Capital and Ethical, Social and Environmental Responsibility, MBA graduates at Saint Joseph’s College walk away with a broadened perspective on human resources and organizational dynamics. They learn to recognize their team’s strengths and lead by example.
  4. You’ll develop tools for self-directed and lifelong learning
    No degree program can provide you with all the answers and training you will need for the rest of your career. The main takeaway is solving problems as they arise and continuing to challenge yourself and your team to be innovative. In our MBA program, students are challenged to reflect on their own values and use them to guide their decision-making. “Students really come away feeling more accomplished when they’ve gone through a formative curriculum that allows them to continuously improve as they go through each course,” Kristiansen explains. “And the end you can say, ‘I learned more about these different disciplines, but I also learned more about myself — critical thinking, risk-based thinking, systems-thinking — and I feel ready to learn something new.’”

Advance your career and your cause

If you’re an aspiring business leader who wants to rise above the dog-eat-dog business world, you no longer have to choose between a lucrative career and your sense of purpose. By earning your online Master of Business Administration at Saint Joseph’s College, you can gain real-world business skills that will grow your career and empower you to make a difference.

Curious to learn more? Request information today and our admissions team can help you explore your options.