The Ethical Barometer

News & Events

A Look At The MBA Mindset

A Wall Street Journalarticle on MBAs that was published last week has some disturbing quotes from newly-minted MBAs. Melissa Korn, “M.B.A.s Sour on Strings-Attached Tuition,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2014, p. B6. The disturbing thoughts come from MBAs whose employers have paid for their grad degrees on the condition that they return to work for at least two years after completing their degrees. If they do not return to work, the grad school money has to be repaid to the employer, plus interest. The employers thought the agreements had teeth. Oh, poor, miscalculating souls.
Many MBAs are reaching the conclusion that they can go with another firm after graduation, make more money, and repay the money, easily, because the offers they receive from other companies include salaries that make repayment of the loans painless. (This comment came from one John Picasso, a 2012 Wharton grad, who is pictured wearing a cashmere sports jacket and Ferragamo belt — think $320 — the Barometer had Judy’s belts — $7 (more…)

Mathew Martoma, former SAC trader, found guilty on all counts on insider trading

Oh, and one thing that came out during the trial — he was the co-founder of the Society of Law and Ethics at Harvard Law School. One hopes the society still carries on because Mr. Martoma was expelled from the law school before earning his degree for altering his transcripts. How did this guy get a job in the securities industry?

Classic Quotes

“We’re going to have to create a story. Get ready to do some dancing.” Response: “What the heck. We’ll all be retired when this comes up on audit.”

E-mail exchange between PriceWaterhouseCoopers partner, Thomas E. Quinn, and PwC managing director, Steven R. Williams, on the tax strategy they had helped Caterpillar create. The strategy, which drew both IRS and congressional attention, involved shifting profits to Switzerland through transfer of Caterpillar’s parts sales to a Swiss operation. When Mr. Quinn was asked about the e-mail exchange during congressional hearings on the issue, he responded, “Senator, that was a very poor choice of words.” The hearings came about because the e-mails emerged in a lawsuit filed by a former Caterpillar tax department employee. The lawsuit was settled in 2012. What happens in e-mails never stays in e-mails.

“Can you find another clueless auditor?”

From a 2008 e-mail from Joel Sanders, the former CFO of Dewey & LeBoeuf, to Frank Canellas, the director of finance, about their plan to come up with $50 million in income to meet loan covenants. Mr. Sanders, Stephen DiCarmine (former executive director), Steven Davis (former chairman), and Zachary Warren (former clients relations manager) have been charged with systemic fraud because of an alleged four-year scheme to manipulate Dewey & LeBoeuf’s books to keep the firm going under during the financial crisis. Their e-mails also spoke of “fake income” and “accounting tricks.” By the way, Mr. Canella (more…)

Ethical Dilemmas

“Get Yourself Fired — You’ll Make More Money!”

The Barometer was strolling through the home section of a major department store.  Tempted by  Christmas potholders at 50% off, the Barometer stopped and soon planted feet firm to continue listening as three employees of this fine establishment conversed about their futures.  The ring leader was explaining to the novice employees that after the new year begins, most of them would be going to part-time status because of slow sales, the economy, health care issues, etc.  The two employees seemed crestfallen.  But, their mentor would have none of it.  “Don’t do it!” said he.  “Get yourself fired because the money you make on unemployment will be better than part-time work here and you can get 99 weeks of unemployment.  Plus, you are eligible for medical care through the government because you are unemployed.  It’s a better deal. It is so not worth it to keep working.” This fine consigliore (more…)

Returning Slightly Used Shoes

Even the well seasoned Dillard’s manager was taken aback by this one. A customer brought in a pair of moderately expensive dress shoes, expressing a desire to return them because they just weren’t quite right. As the manager processed the order she checked inside the box to be sure that the shoes in the box were the shoes the matched the box – past experience dictated that follow-up on returns. The shoes were the correct ones for the box, but the customer had another issue. The shoes had masking tape on the bottom – masking tape that was dirty. When the manager returned to the customer (more…)

Trust Across America - Top 100 Thought Leaders Ethisphere - 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics

Featured Books by Marianne Jennings

Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, 8th Edition

Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, 8th Edition

Available 1/31/2014 at
Somewhere Between Ezekiel & Miss Havisham - 365 Days At The Cemetery

Somewhere Between Ezekiel & Miss Havisham - 365 Days At The Cemetery

Available Now at
The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse

Never trust the people you cheat with. They will throw you under the bus.

A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success

Meet Edgar P. Benchley. Charitable people tend to call him a nerd. Others use less subtle descriptions. If you hear Edgar chatting to himself, don't be alarmed. He has an invisible friend who's kind of a cousin to Harvey from the old movie of the same name with Jimmy Stewart.

Anderson's Business Law and the Legal Environment, Standard Volume, 22nd Edition

Anderson’s Business Law and the Legal Environment, Standard Volume, 22nd Edition

Available Now at
Anderson's Business Law and the Legal Environment, Comprehensive Volume, 22nd Edition

Anderson’s Business Law and the Legal Environment, Comprehensive Volume, 22nd Edition

Available Now at
Real Estate Law, 10th Edition

Real Estate Law, 10th Edition

Available Now at