Columbia Business School launched a new Honor Code in Spring 2007. Following are answers to frequently asked questions about the new Code, the meaning behind its language, and how it was developed.
How was the Honor Code developed? The Honor Code was developed jointly by Columbia Business School students, the faculty and the administration, as an initiative of the Student Faculty Academic Affairs Committee (SFAAC). Feedback received from students through focus groups held by and e-mails shared with the Integrity Board during fall 2006 was directly used in developing the Code.
What does the Code mean by adhering to "principles of truth, integrity, and respect"? Adhering to "principles of truth, integrity and respect" means that you should aspire to act in the spirit of these principles rather than simply obeying rules in a literal sense. Based on your desire to be part of the Columbia Business School community, it is expected that these principles are a foundational element of your character.
What does "not tolerate" actually mean? "Not tolerating" those who have violated the Honor Code means that you feel an obligation to take action on behalf of the School, the alumni, current students and yourself to protect the integrity of the School. Your individual judgment will need to be applied to the unique circumstances you may face. Taking action can mean having a one-on-one conversation with those you observe violating some aspect of the Honor Code, notifying cluster leadership, or formally bringing disciplinary action by notifying the MBA assistant dean or EMBA assistant dean.
What are examples of "lying, cheating, or stealing" as a member of the Columbia Business School community? There are obvious and literal examples of these actions, but any untruth or unethical behavior can be defined by these words: One steals other people's ideas when one plagiarizes; one cheats by taking an unfair advantage on a test; one lies by putting one's name –– or someone else's name –– on work to which you or they have not contributed.
What does the Code mean by being a "lifelong member of the Columbia Business School community"? The Columbia Business School name will be associated with you as an individual for the rest of your life and career. As a member of this community, it is your responsibility to embody the principles of integrity that Columbia Business School upholds to protect and advance the School as well as its legacy.
"There are no such thing as business ethics. There is only one kind [of ethics] -
you have to adhere to the highest standards."
- Marvin Bower, former managing director, McKinsey & Company
"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity
an obligation; every possession a duty."
- John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
"The five most dangerous words in business... 'Everyone else is doing it.'"
- Warren Buffet, MS '51
"Lose money for my firm, and I will be understanding; lose a shred of
reputation for the firm and I will be ruthless."
- Warren Buffet, MS '51
"No matter what the competitive landscape, as real leaders, we must do
the tough thing, the right thing."
-Sallie Krawcheck, MBA '92
"To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle."
"Always do right - this will gratify some and astonish the rest."
- Mark Twain