June 9, 2009 (Last edit January 10, 2019)

I found this article in Time magazine as I perused a copy while waiting in line to get my hair cut last week. The article is about the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona; what makes them special is the “Thunderbird Oath Of Honor.” While they don’t require graduates to take the oath, it’s recommended and included in the graduation ceremony.

I will strive to act with honesty and integrity. I will respect the rights and dignity of all people. I will strive to create sustainable prosperity worldwide. I will oppose all forms of corruption and exploitation. And I will take responsibility for my actions. As I hold true to these principles, it is my hope that I may enjoy an honorable reputation and peace of conscience.

Imagine if every business school’s graduates were expected to uphold such terms! I admire West Point’s honor code:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.

Cadets are required to uphold the honor code, and have been since the 1920s. Any system of honor and values is better than none; defined expectations give us grounds for societal judgement on what’s acceptable and what’s not. Honesty and integrity are acceptable. Personal responsibility is acceptable. Corruption, exploitation, and untruth are not acceptable. Unfortunately, these are not the real expectations of our society. Regardless of what society thinks, though, these are the qualities and characteristics of a real man.