October 27, 2009

Booth curriculum addresses financial crisis

In response to the global financial crisis, the Booth School of Business has added courses to its curriculum that address issues of corporate responsibility and business ethics.

The decision to offer courses on contemporary business issues and questions of responsibility was a natural next step for the school, which had already facilitated discourse about current events, according to Stacey Kole, deputy dean of full-time M.B.A. students.

The Chicago School of Economics, which advocates free-market policies, has come under fire from critics on the left who cite a lack of regulations as a cause of the recent economic crisis. But Booth School faculty have also been offering solutions, Kole said, from publishing op-eds in leading newspapers to suggesting solutions during testimony before members of Congress.

Those discussions will move into the classroom with classes like “Analytics of the Financial Crisis,” which Kole described as a direct result of the crisis. The class will use the tools of corporate finance to analyze financial meltdowns, focusing on the most recent global crises but also touching on past financial breakdowns.

Another course, “Money and Banking,” will address the flipside of free-market economics by discussing how the government addresses Wall Street when it crumbles.

Taught by Randall Krozner, a recent former governor of the Federal Reserve who stepped down from his position in January of this year, the course will focus on recent actions taken by the Federal Reserve Board and their impact on the crises.

The third course, “Business, Politics, and Ethics,” looks to the future of ethics in business instead of analyzing past faults. Students are forced to think about business decisions that may bring up important ethical questions and must analyze situations that “raise moral dilemmas or appear to call for unpopular actions,” Kole said.

Kole said course additions like these will keep the Booth School of Business and the University on par with or ahead of their peers. Booth’s professors and staff, who have personally tackled the most current issues of the financial crisis head-on, may give the school a leg up compared with other schools’ offerings in response to the crisis, she said.