MBA Emphasis in Ethics and Compliance

students in a classroom setting

Ethics and compliance specialists work to prevent organizations from committing errors that violate ethical standards or regulatory requirements.

Their role is to reduce the risk of unethical or illegal activities by individuals working in organizations by developing policies and procedures to prevent these failures. Examples of tools developed by E&C specialists include corporate codes of conduct and employee training, analytical frameworks and decision-making, as well as advisement to top management and senior leaders towards ethical corporate cultures. Bay Area employers have indicated a need to recruit a large number of ethics and compliance staff and officers.

Course work in this emphasis focuses on:

  • identifying ethical issues and developing solutions
  • ethical analysis and decision-making models for strategic planning
  • understanding the demands of transparency and Sunshine Laws
  • effectively understanding, negotiating and managing business risks and safety for stakeholders
  • understanding the compliance and regulatory challenges of global business practices
  • measuring and auditing the effectiveness of compliance programs
  • integrating,  aligning ethics and compliance management and risk management, with analytics and technologies
  • understanding the complexities of technology and protections for stakeholder privacy
  • developing organizational operations, training and structures under Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers
  • operating as change agents
  • developing best practices in leadership of organizational processes and managing stakeholder impacts

Core Courses

In addition to the core MBA requirements, students specializing in ethics and compliance complete the following three core courses and at least two electives approved by an adviser:

  • MGMT 850: Ethics and Compliance in Business - Prerequisite: graduate status or consent of instructor. Focus on integrity, understanding and applying managerial ethical decision-making, understanding regulatory compliance as it relates to a variety of organizational functions, developing ethics training, and evaluating stakeholder impacts. Extensive use of decision-making application models through case studies and interactive exercises. Research or internship in an area specific to students' careers.
  • MGMT 857: Leadership in Action - Prerequisite: two 800-level business courses, or consent of instructor. This course focuses on the strategic, operational, functional, ethical and integrity challenges of leadership in practice.  It is taught by faculty using leadership readings, case studies, experiential exercises, and incorporates frequent corporate leaders as guest speakers.
  • BUS 859/IBUS 859: Business Negotiating in the Global Economy Prerequisite: graduate status or consent of instructor. Development of business negotiating skills through experiential exercises, negotiation role-plays, and cases involving common business negotiation situations and contexts.  An emphasis is placed on learning negotiation fundamentals first, and then understanding how to adjust those fundamentals to be effective internationally and cross-culturally. Integrity and ethics issues associated with domestic and international negotiations are explored. This course is offered as BUS 859 and IBUS 859. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.

Suggested Electives

Students work with a program adviser to choose two appropriate electives.

  • BUS 884 The Political, Social, and Legal Environment of Business
  • MGMT 842 Seminar in Organization Design and Change
  • ACCT 818 Accounting Ethics and Fraud
  • IBUS 841 Creativity for Managers: A Global Perspective
  • IBUS 881 Seminar in Comparative Management
  • ISYS 814 Information Systems for Strategic

Certificate launches fall 2015 semester

This is a unique program that responds to the need for ethics and compliance professionals in growth industries such as healthcare, biotech, pharmaceutical, information technology services and products, finance and accounting, manufacturing and hospitality. For complete information, see Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance

Faculty Advisers

  • Denise Kleinrichert, Ph.D.
  • Sally Baack, Ph.D.