SHARE
COPY LINK
PRESENTED BY ESCP BUSINESS SCHOOL

International study: how to become an ethical leader

The environmental and societal challenges of the 21st century demand big choices – from individuals, governments and businesses. Global uncertainty may be growing during 2020 – but many young people are clear about the future they want to create.

International study: how to become an ethical leader
Photos: Nathalia Rocha/Laurent Högl-Roy

That includes students on ESCP Business School's Bachelor in Management (BSc) programme. ESCP focuses on educating and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders with the principles of ethics, responsibility and sustainability. 

We spoke with two student ambassadors on the Bachelor in Management (BSc) about what we should expect from their generation: Nathalia Rocha, 21, originally from Brazil, and Laurent Högl-Roy, 23, who is half-French and half-German and grew up in Switzerland. 

Leading in a changing world: are you ready to get a head start with ESCP's Bachelor in Management (BSc)? Get more information now.

Ethics and responsibility

“Everything I do needs to be in accordance with my moral values,” says Nathalia, who will soon start an internship at a social impact company in Helsinki whose partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Being responsible means you’re accountable – and if I’m going to be held to account for something, it needs to reflect my values.”

Sounds simple. As the international representative for an NGO supporting children in Brazil and having previously worked on social projects in South Africa, Nathalia is very much living by her values.

But in the complex and pressurised business world, consistent value-based decision-making can become less straightforward. ESCP actively challenges its students to deal with business dilemmas and the final year of the Bachelor in Management (BSc) programme includes a ‘CSR & Business Ethics’ course to prepare them for what lies ahead using real case studies.

“In the past, big corporations have not always been honest and have had some negative impacts for years to come,” says Laurent.

Photo: Laurent Högl-Roy (furthest right) with fellow students at ESCP's London campus

His year group was only the third to start the Bachelor programme and he values its innovative approach. “This Bachelor has a very contemporary point of view, covering these crucial issues to give us the best head start for the future,” he says. “We have classic business classes but we’re also educated, like our slogan says, for ‘Leading in a changing world’.”

Next generation values: find out about the benefits of taking ESCP's Bachelor in Management – which begins for first year students in 2020/21 on September 14th.

Sustainability becomes second nature

You may think the meaning of sustainability is obvious by now. Think again. For the next generation, the concept goes far beyond just trying to be ‘green’ or thinking about the environment. 

Sustainability also encompasses human, social and economic dimensions. The circular economy and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing are just two of the more visible aspects.

ESCP's Bachelor promotes sustainable development as fundamental to transforming business – a transformation Laurent says will benefit all parties. “We’ve learned that resources are not endless,” he says. “But it feels like there’s too much questionable ‘greenwashing’. Efficiency will be key to making corporations more sustainable.”

To help its BSc students develop informed views, ESCP invites guest speakers, who have included Kurt Morriesen, Head of Europe, Sustainable Finance & Impact Investing at the United Nations Development Programme.

ESCP's Madrid campus also launched a Green Scholarship for the BSc; prospective students were invited to apply by setting out in PowerPoint how their school could introduce or improve sustainability initiatives.

“Sustainability is about creating something that will last,” says Nathalia. “Why would I want to be part of something that doesn’t leave a legacy?”

Cross-cultural understanding

Whether the meetings of the future take place face-to-face or via video, the ability to relate to different cultures is becoming crucial. Nor is this only about seeking new clients. Diversity is also a huge topic for organisations looking to enhance their own team dynamics.

Students on ESCP’s BSc programme represent more than 50 nationalities. They have the opportunity to study at three different European campuses and to learn languages in addition to their main courses.

“Through languages you learn how to live with different cultures,” says Laurent, who grew up bilingual in French and German and has studied Spanish and Mandarin at ESCP.

“We work on group projects with people from completely different cultures and this teaches us to understand them better. This flexibility is especially precious. Every situation will look somehow familiar and won’t be intimidating.”

Cross-cultural education: find out how you could start an exciting personal journey on ESCP's Bachelor in Management (BSc) this September

Learning to think local

Familiarity with different cultures does not mean dismissing anything local as parochial. Far from it. The pros and cons of globalisation remain a hot topic. But Laurent and Nathalia believe businesses that look for local solutions have a vital role.

“You can already see it with younger CEOs coming in or start-ups showing they can slow down globalisation a little,” says Laurent, who will do an internship in rail logistics at Deutsche Bahn this summer. “The pandemic shows we might be a bit too interdependent with certain necessary goods, like medication. We need to balance the local and the global.”

Nathalia points to food miles as an example of how more localisation could drive wider progress. “People go to the supermarket and want to buy foods that are not in season,” she says. “I hope people will become more aware of where products come from, as well as the effects on people in supply chains. Unless this changes, businesses will not change – they’ll give people what they want.”

Both students are impressed with how strongly their courses at ESCP focus on sustainability, which encourages open-mindedness about local solutions. “ESCP really focuses on it a lot, which is great,” says Nathalia.

Photos: Nathalia Rocha/Laurent Högl-Roy

Optimism in a long-term outlook 

“On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world.” It’s just over a decade since Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, made this shock declaration about corporate excess.

In 2020, is the trend finally turning away from short-term strategies that seek to maximize profits at all costs? It may be too early to say. But ESCP’s Bachelor in Management (BSc) aims to support a more long-term perspective on prosperity.

Nathalia hopes to see changes in the clothing industry. “With fast fashion, they usually don’t give a living wage to people making the clothes,” she says. “The quality is poor, so people buy things and throw them away.”

“Business should be done for the good of society,” adds Laurent. “Without society there are no customers. My generation can see and build on what has been successful until now but we can also focus on what has been going wrong. I think we have a very interesting future and I'm rather optimistic.”

With its emphasis on ethics and sustainable solutions, ESCP's BSc is giving a new wave of decision-makers the tools to turn their visions today into tomorrow's reality.

Ready to be a next generation decision-maker? Find out more about ESCP's Bachelor in Management (BSc), which starts on September 14th for first year students in the 2020/21 intake – with classes on campus and/or online in accordance with national government recommendations. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
For members

EDUCATION

EXPLAINED: How Spain will make it easier for students to graduate

The Spanish government has passed a new decree which will allow secondary and sixth form students to graduate and receive their qualifications, even if they have failed some subjects.

Spain is changing its education rules
There will also be no re-sitting of exams at Spanish secondary schools. Photo: CESAR MANSO / AFP

The Spanish government approved on Tuesday, November 16th a new Royal Decree which gives instructions to teachers to change the way they grade their students for the rest of the school year of 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.

Education in Spain is compulsory for all those from ages 6 to 16. The Spanish education system is made up of primary and secondary schools. Secondary school is referred to as ESO and students receive a Título de Graduado Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (Title of Graduation from Obligatory Secondary School Education). This is the last four years of compulsory education, up until age 16, and is similar to GCSEs in the UK.

After age 16, Spanish students can go on to study for the optional Bachillerato for the next two years up until age 18. This is equivalent to A-levels in the UK and is needed if the student wants to attend university. 

The new rules apply to the ESO and Bachillerato qualifications. In primary education, there were no specific qualifications or failure limits and this is the same in the new decree too. 

What is changing?

  • Before, students studying for the ESO were allowed to pass each year only if they did not have more than three failed subjects, but now with the new decree, there is no limit.
  • There will also be no re-sitting of exams in ESO.
  • In order to graduate with the ESO qualification at age 16, students could still graduate even if they had up to two failed subjects, however now there is no limit in the number of failed subjects allowed to graduate. 
  • In order to pass each year of the Bachillerato, students could still move on if they had up to two failed subjects. This will stay the same in the new decree too. 
  • In order to graduate with the Bachillerato qualification before, students had to pass all subjects and exams, but now one failed subject is allowed. 
  • Students will also be able to sit the Selectividad, which are the Spanish university admission tests if they have failed some of their Bachillerato (sixth form) school subjects.
  • For the first time in history, students with special needs who have had significant curricular adaptations and have not studied the minimum requirement for other students will also be able to receive their high school qualifications.

READ ALSO: Why Spain is failing in maths and science teaching

How will it be decided if students can graduate?

The text presented to the Council of Ministers by Pilar Alegría, the Spanish Minister of Education states that the decision on whether or not a student passes secondary education will be decided on by each board of the school or institution at the end of the school year.

It is the teaching team “who is given the ultimate responsibility for the decision on the promotion and qualification of students” she stated. It will be the teachers who have to make the decision after assessing whether the student “has reached the appropriate degree of acquisition of the corresponding skills”. 

This means that there will no longer be specific requirements to graduate high school and that the parameters for passing will be different for each institution.   

Why have the rules changed?

The new measures are designed to avoid students repeating years and improve graduation statistics.

According to the latest statistics, out of the countries in the EU in 2020, 79 percent of the population between 25 and 64 years old had graduated Secondary Education or higher and Spain is around 16.1 points below this average. 

Pilar Alegría said that 30 percent of 15-year-old students have repeated a year at least once and “dropout rates are increased by this percentage of students”. 

That is why we are committed to a system “based on trust in teachers”, “continuous evaluation” and “collaborative work by teaching teams”. She has assured that “the culture of effort does not run any risk with this new norm. An effort based on motivation is better than one based on punishment”.  

READ ALSO: Spain passes contested education bill

Are all regions on board with the new rules?

Madrid, Andalusia, Galicia, Castilla y León and Murcia strongly oppose the new rules because they “lower the requirement” and “unsettle the teachers”. 

The five regions complain that the royal decree changes the rules of the game in the middle of the course since the students have started the academic year with a particular curriculum and specific criteria in order to pass it. 

Madrid 

“Within our powers, while respecting the law, we are going to try to prevent the royal decree from being applied, as we consider that it is a direct attack on one of the pillars of the Madrid educational system, as is the merit and the effort of the students “, said sources from the Department of Education of the Community of Madrid.

Galicia

The education authorities in Galicia said that they will also “explore any legal possibility that allows for preserving the culture of effort and quality as signs of identity”.

Castilla y León

The education departments in Castilla y León said that for their part, they “will make sure that the curricular development and the norms of promotion and qualification are the least harmful”.

Andalusia 

“Although the norm establishes that the Baccalaureate degree can be obtained with a failed subject, we understand that it does not make sense because all subjects contribute to the acquisition of the necessary competencies,” said the education authorities in Andalusia.

Murcia 

Murcia is also not in favor of the royal decree and denounces “the improvisation of the Pedro Sánchez government and the lack of legal security for the decisions that have been taken”.   

Unions and Associations

Teachers’ unions such as Csif or Anpe or associations such as Concapa or Cofapa warn that more students are going to arrive less prepared for the next level of education, where the problem will explode. 

These regions argue that this new system will leave a lot of grey areas because teachers’ criteria can be very subjective. The elimination of make-up exams is also causing confusion because “they give another opportunity for students to pass based on their effort and ability”. 

The rest of the regions, on the other hand, were in favor of eliminating the need to re-sit exams because they believe that the evaluation should be “continuous” and the student should not risk everything for a single exam.

SHOW COMMENTS