Students Get a Taste of Business Ethics

Posted: June 6, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

For the sixth year, George Mason students enrolled in PHIL309 Business Ethics Internship are assisting in the judging for the National Capital Business Ethics Awards (NCBEA).

The awards program, which was instituted by the National Capital Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, evaluates companies on their business practices.

Each organization in the competition got a careful scrutiny by the 10 students. This included interviewing the CEOs and conducting on-site visits. The students wrote a two-page paper on each company and filled out ratings sheets. The information was then handed over to the judges.

“It’s nice to see that many large companies take ethics seriously,” says Lindsay Vick, a junior majoring in philosophy and Spanish who examined a paper company.

The class is taught by Shannon Skousgaard, an associate professor in Mason’s Philosophy Department.

“The students check out everything from the codes of ethics of these companies to the programs they run that support their ethical initiatives,” Skousgaard says. “It’s exciting for them because they interview the CEOs and other executives and visit the companies, which is a great opportunity to learn about these businesses.”

The students will be special guests at the NCBEA Gala Awards Dinner on Oct. 19, when the National Capital Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals will recognize the top businesses that demonstrate the highest standards of ethical business practices in daily operations, management philosophies and response to crises and challenges.

Only companies outside the financial services industry were eligible to enter the competition.

“Involving the future leaders of the business world in the NCBEA judging is extremely important to us,” explains NCBEA program chair Dan Haverkos of the local retirement planning company CompDesign.

“The due diligence work [the students] do is critical to judging the entries we receive. With their help, we are confident that the organizations with the very best ethical standards and programs will be honored at our dinner.”

NCBEA winners are selected in the categories of large, medium and small organizations. For-profit and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. For more information about the program, visit

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