Ethics, Society, and the Institution of Business  Minor

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Contact the Advisors: 

Email: esib@holycross.edu

Professor Kendy Hess (Class of 2024)

professor kendy m hess

Professor Karen Teitel (Class of 2025)

professor karen teitel economics and accounting and ESIB

Professor Denise Schaeffer (Class of 2026)

professor schaeffer

Is ESIB for You?

If you think you’re interested in ESIB, start by identifying a particular ethical or social issue that interests you.  Are you concerned about free speech, climate change, political polarization, inequality, bullying, LBGTQ issues, immigration, education, racism, mental health, social media….  What worries you about the world you live in? 

Once you have your issue(s), ask yourself where the institution of business contributes to that issue, either for better or for worse.  Does the way we work, produce, and consume make the problem worse?  Whether we act as individuals, as organizations, or through the government, is there something we could change about those activities that would help?

As you begin to understand and analyze some of the dynamics behind today’s headlines, two electives chosen from across the College – from environmental studies, history, psychology, sociology, political science, religious studies, philosophy, and more – will introduce you to the broader context which has given us our particular version of the institution of business, and help you develop a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the social issue of your choice.  

If you think the answer is “yes,” then we invite you to apply to the minor in Ethics, Society, and the Institution of Business (ESIB).  ESIB students use a faculty-designed template to create their own curricula, in consultation with the ESIB advisors and subject to review and approval by the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, to explore exactly these questions.  You will begin your studies with foundational courses in Business Fundamentals, Accounting, Economics, Capitalism, and Ethics, then continue through two electives chosen from across the College  to deepen your understanding of the ethical or social issue that concerns you.  After completing a qualifying work experience with associated research and reflection, all of this work comes together in the ESIB Capstone.  In the Capstone you will identify a real-world organization that contributes to the social issue you’ve explored in your ESIB coursework and develop a “pitch”: an argument addressed to that organization for a specific ethical action firmly grounded in financial and legal considerations.

Students accepted into the Minor in Ethics, Society, and the Institution of Business will gain substantive knowledge about the institution of business, the practices that define it, and the many ways that it impacts our society and our world.  They will learn practical skills in writing, presenting, and ethical action.  And they will develop what we hope will be a life-long attitude of hopeful skepticism about this institution that has become so central to our lives.  For all its productivity, is it right? Is it just? Does it promote flourishing, and is it sustainable? To the extent that it fails to meet any of these criteria, how do we fix it?  All together, the minor will prepare you to engage in the ongoing debate about what business should become, either from inside the institution or beyond it.

Student Testimonial

“It [the ESIB capstone] is the perfect project for a liberal arts school because the whole point of liberal arts is to have a comprehensive understanding of core subjects so that a deeper understanding of discovered interests can be achieved. It made my presentation well rounded and I felt that because I had looked at my issue from different perspectives, I was prepared to answer questions.” Class of 2022

“I would recommend the minor to another student if they are interested in going into business. Organizations are rapidly becoming aware of the importance of ethical business, and they want employees who believe in that sentiment and understand its importance. Furthermore, the combination of classes and requirements has given me important foundational knowledge about the inner workings of business, while also offering applicable knowledge across disciplines that may not be directly related to "business". I think the BES minor is attractive for employers and it has helped me receive internship offers.” Class of 2022 

“This minor was the main topic I would talk about in my interviews post-grad. Interviewers were surprised I cared about mission statements of the companies at all so that was something that made me stand-out as a candidate overall. I realized that generally, individuals have no moral language, meaning my peers are rarely asked about where they develop their values from. I had never thought about where my value system is rooted because we live in such a relativistic society so having that skill now definitely sets me apart.” Class of 2023