The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, welcoming 15 students entering grades 10-12 from across New Jersey, hosted the first-ever Ethical Leadership in Business summer research internship June 17-21 in Summit, NJ. The program provided students a hands-on opportunity to study ethical leadership through creating business plans that modeled ethical leadership in ways that were industry-specific and relevant for the individual business the students proposed.

Sophomore Arnob Dam (The Peddie School, Hightstown, NJ) commented, “One of the most significant take-aways I got from this program was the fantastic and ample knowledge about business ethics… putting it to use probably made me a better person.” Sophomore Laura Whelan (Kent Place School, Summit, NJ) also explained, “I learned so much from this program. I now understand a business plan and how to put one together. I understand what being in business means, and I gained a whole new perspective on what leadership in business is and how important it is to be ethical in a leadership role.”

Participants studied issues associated with 21st century American business such as product lifecycle, workplace culture, ecological footprints, financial cost-benefit analyses and relationships between business strategy and ethics. Concentrating on the leadership roles of CEO, COO and CFO, students learned to create and read financial statements and supported their learning with contemporary case studies. Face-to-face discussions about ethics with leaders from companies including Montblanc North America, Deutsche Bank, Endo Health Solutions, Celgene, Prudential, Alcatel-Lucent and other area privately-owned and government organizations played a key role in helping students understand ethical issues in business.

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After developing their business plans, students presented their work to a panel of judges and engaged in discussions about strengths and challenges associated with their business. “The key was to provide students with enough information so that they could identify ethical issues associated with business management and to provide a ready context for application,” noted Kimberly Coelho, program co-facilitator and Program Coordinator at The Ethics Institute. “The plans, which required a great deal of research and ethical decision-making, proved to be an excellent part of the program.”

Students this year represented The Peddie School (Hightstown), St. Benedict’s Preparatory School (Newark), The Wardlaw-Hartridge School (Edison) and Kent Place School (Summit). When asked about future business ethics learning opportunities at The Ethics Institute, Institute Director Karen Rezach added, “With the overwhelming success of this year's program, we are already planning an expanded version for next summer that will allow us to offer this unique and exciting program to even more students from across the region. One can only speculate on the profound impact that this program will have on the students who participate and on the greater society who will benefit from the ethical leadership that these young women and men will provide in the future.”

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