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Signature Sessions

The IBS curriculum includes a series of sessions held during Orientation and throughout the semester. These sessions address topics of current debate such as corporate governance and accountability, tradeoffs between equity and efficiency, and individual values and intraorganizational conflicts in the workplace.

Signature sessions include executive speaker fireside chats, debates, socratic dialogues, case discussions, and student workshops. Upcoming and past events are listed on the Events Calendar.

Select Events from Past Years:

Individual, Business and Society Fireside Chat with James Forese, Co-President of Citigroup and CEO of the Institutional Clients Group

Following the Individual, Business and Society (IBS) cases in Orientation, James Forese, Co-President of Citigroup and CEO of the Institutional Clients Group, discussed the importance of leadership, values and corporate governance in finance with Professor Bruce Kogut. The two also explored what MBAs need to do to succeed in financial services. This event was supported by the Citi Foundation.

Financial Innovation: A Risky Business?

This interactive discussion explored the issues that arise when a dynamic economy depends on a vigorous financial industry. The recent financial crisis showed that misplaced incentives, poorly understood financial products and regulatory errors can have disastrous consequences. How can the benefits of and access to financial innovation be preserved without suffering the excesses? WNET/Channel 13 aired “Financial Innovation: A Risky Business?”, featuring a Nobel Prize winner, investment banking leaders, and key government regulators in the financial sector including: Wilson Ervin, Credit Suisse; Former Representative Barney Frank, House Financial Services Committee; Gary Gensler, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Blythe Masters, JPMorgan; Alicia Glen, Goldman Sachs, Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big To Fail; Robert Solow, Nobel Laureate, and Peter Stringham, Young & Rubicam Brands. This event was organized with Fred Friendly Seminars, formerly based at Columbia Journalism School.

Leadership Perspectives on Corporate Governance

Lee Cooperman, Chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors and Chris Browne, Managing Director of Tweedy, Browne Company, joined Dean Glenn Hubbard and students to discuss leadership and corporate governance and the role of active investors. They spoke about recent high profile cases where boards have failed to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and how this might be reformed in the future.

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line

Ingrid Dyott

Ingrid Dyott of Neuberger Berman (pictured), Kevin Thurm of Citigroup and David Schilling of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, discussed how companies are interacting with stakeholders, society, and the environment. Ray Horton, Frank R. Lautenberg Professor of Ethics and Corporate Governance and Director of the Social Enterprise Program moderated.

CEO Perspective on Leadership and Corporate Integrity

Chuck Prince, CEO of Citigroup, joined Dean Glenn Hubbard and students to discuss ethics, integrity, leadership and corporate governance of a global organization. He spoke candidly about the recent challenges Citigroup faced when regulators ordered the closure of its private banking operations in Japan and investigated issues related to a London debt trade.

Corporate Governance: Hollinger International Inc. Case

Professor Frank Edwards led a student discussion on the types of transactions, ownership structure, role of the board of directors, and key governance mechanisms in this case, and how similar issues have played a role in recent corporate scandals in the news.

Film Screening of "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"

Professor Eric Abrahamson led the post-film discussion of this documentary on the people behind the Enron scandal. Students examined the contributing factors that led to the downfall of the company and explored options that could be considered by leaders and managers when these issues arise in the future.

Fighting AIDS in Africa: Lessons from Botswana

It is estimated that nearly 30 million people in SubSaharan Africa suffer from HIV/AIDS, making the region responsible for nearly two-thirds of the world’s reported cases. In 2000, in an effort to combat the epidemic, Merck and the Gates Foundation teamed up with the government of Botswana, which is among the hardest-hit countries. Jeffrey Sturchio, vice president of Merck & Co., joins Professor Lee Branstetter to discuss what the company has learned from this and other public/private initiatives.

How High the Firewall? Separating Investment Banking from Research

Sallie Krawcheck ’92, CFO and head of strategy for Citigroup, and Trevor Harris, managing director at Morgan Stanley and codirector of the Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis at the School, joined Dean Glenn Hubbard in exploring regulation’s role in resolving conflicts of interest on Wall Street.

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Financial Sector

Chris Beale, managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, and Scott MacLeod, managing director of the Global Environment Fund, discussed tradeoffs between the firm, society, and the environment. Professor Geoffrey Heal, who is noted for his work aligning economics and the environment, moderated.

Symbol Technologies: Securities Fraud Investigation and Corporate Governance

CFO Mark Greenquist ’86 and General Counsel Peter Lieb discussed navigating Symbol Technologies through the aftermath of an SEC investigation into allegations of securities fraud, including manipulation of inventory levels, channel stuffing, use of “cookie jar” reserves, and fabrication of restructuring charges. The investigation, which centered on activities between 1998 and 2003, led to the criminal indictment of 12 former executives and a $37 million dollar civil penalty.

Scenes from the Slippery Slope

Decision Theater, a group of professional actors who dramatize personal decisions in corporate life, presented scenes from business life that pose dilemmas and challenge values. Then, the action stopped and the audience chose the course of action. Professors Beim and Abrahamson led discussions.

Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Crime

Leslie Caldwell, now a partner at the law firm Morgan Lewis, discusses her work as director of the Enron Task Force at the U.S. Department of Justice in 2002. In that role, she led federal prosecutors, FBI, and IRS agents in investigating one of the most complex cases of corporate fraud in history.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Too Little, Too Far, or Just Enough?

Led by Dean Hubbard and featuring Commissioners Paul Atkins and Harvey Goldschmid of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the panel debated the costs and benefits of the landmark legislation on corporate accountability.

The Firm and Society:
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line

Geoffrey Heal, the Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility, moderated as a panel of industry leaders addressed the question, Is socially responsible business too costly, or is it profitable in the long run? Read more coverage >

The Individual and the Firm

Professor Michael Feiner of the Management Division lead incoming students through a case discussion dealing with a clash of personal values in the workplace. The case challenged students to discover effective ways of dealing with moral dilemmas in the workplace.

Emerging Markets and Corruption

Professors Ray Fisman and Steven Feldman ’81 discussed the tension that can arise when attempting to adhere to an American idea of ethical business practices while doing business overseas.

The Changing Role of Today’s Boards

A distinguished panel considered the intersection between the theory of law and the practice of serving on corporate boards, including when societal, corporate, and personal values may be in conflict.

Featured Research

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Program Brochure

View the Bernstein Center brochure, Ethical Challenges in Business