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Friday, 23 September 2005


Fernando Peral

Tolerance can never mean tolerating the intolerable; this is not a cultural conflict, but rather the constant fight to extend and defend basic human rights as specific values that are recognized by all people as critical in order to live a decent life. This applies to all countries, but also to all human activities, among them the essential one of creating wealth, which is entrusted on business. I'll quote Isaiah Berlin, who said "Indeed it is because men, and they alone, are authors of value, that they are supremely valuable. To use men for ends that are not their own, hence to exploit human beings, degrade them, humiliate them, is to deny their human essence, to deny that they are men; and this is the most heinous of all sins".

Ivan Ivanovitch

The set of rules that Dean Iñiguez writes about apply not only to business students, but also to people in advanced stages of their careers. Dealing effectively and respectfully with cultural differences is already an essential skill for everyone living in a multicultural society. In addition to the cultural norms and legislation in our home country, there are numerous other norms and values we should be aware of and try to live in accordance with, such as the protection of the environment and the respect of human rights and dignities. If you are in a country that does not protect a specific minority from discrimination and the legislation in your home country does, I believe you have an obligation do behave as if you were in your home country (whether you are a corporation or an individual).

In my experience as an MBA student at two of the world’s leading schools (The Schulich School of Business with exchange at The Instituto de Empresa), I noticed that many students were not particularly interested in such issues. Business schools tend to be dominated by Alpha males, who are not known for their interest in tolerance and communication. I have observed numerous situations where people have been insensitive and even offensive to people from other cultures and this behavior was tolerated by the other students or the administration. This does not create a welcoming academic environment. I believe that codes of conduct are a necessity and they need to be enforced. Business schools should be more active in promoting awareness of values other than profit and career advancement.

Ivan Ivanovitch
IMBA 2005
Toronto, Canada

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