Turns out “Responsible Management in Finance” is a tool that students can apply when faced with difficult decisions in their current and future working lives. The course was extremely engaging and exceeded my expectations.
During the first lecture, we jumped directly into one of the most famous philosophical and ethical dilemmas. “What has that got to do with responsible management?” you might ask. The purpose was to trigger our personal sets of values. This provoked a lively and even fierce discussion, as specific dilemmas exposed our ethical values. We were able to see and contemplate our potential behavior in tough working situations when several opinions clash against each other.
Our advisor’s experience in compliance within banking and recent development into philosophy allowed us to benefit from the well-structured lecture, which encouraged us to consider and assess moral values and the effect our decisions will have on others.
The diverse theory and practice in “Responsible Management in Finance” allowed me to reflect on my personal values and taught me the need to speak up either in agreement or in opposition to others. We discussed, for example, a court filing on child labour abuse in the cotton industry in Turkmenistan. For a lot of people who had never been to a developing country, such situations sounded unrealistic. It is always worth drawing attention to these issues as once we assume our roles in banking or industry we may stop questioning the bigger picture and impact the company makes. At the same time, there are also a number of opinions which can lead to a wide range of interpretations. This creates another shield of misunderstanding and detachment from real issues. All in all, it is important to analyse and assess information that we receive, considering all aspects ranging from the source to the intention.
Finally, it is important to be able to apply these moral decisions and obligations to the world of finance. As Master of Finance students, we are studying to advance our knowledge and opportunities. With knowledge comes power and great responsibility. Whether you are a manager or an analyst, it is important to distribute this responsibility by educating and setting an example to follow. We should take time to assess individual situations, as although quantitative and legislative objectivity exists, we are humans after all, don’t be scared to speak up about your values.