MBA Student at Mason School Chosen for Unique International Ethics Program

Emily Anding Joins Groundbreaking Program for MBA Students and Young Executives

Emily Anding, a student at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business, is one of 12 business students chosen by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to participate in a two-week program in Germany and Poland this summer, which uses the conduct of executives and managers in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on ethics in business and leadership today.

Now in its eighth year of operation, FASPE provides a unique historical lens to engage graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in five fields (business, journalism, law, medicine, and seminary) in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their professions.

The FASPE Business program offers an approach to ethics and professionalism that differs from the usual classroom experience by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond the specifics of formal rules to focus on ethical problems faced by individual leaders in the contemporary corporate setting. Daily seminars are led by specialized faculty who engage fellows in discussions and critical thinking about both the historical and the contemporary. The Business program is strengthened by the diverse perspectives of its participants and the power of place and context.

"By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions, FASPE seeks to instill a sense of professional responsibility for the ethical and moral choices that the Fellows will make in their careers and in their professional relationships," said David Goldman, FASPE's founder and chairman.

Prior to World War II, German professionals were well regarded internationally. In many respects, they set the standard for a commitment to quality of practice and for independence from state and political influence. Yet, leaders and practitioners in each of the professions, and often the institutions they represented, were fundamentally involved in designing, enabling, and/or executing the crimes of Nazi Germany. FASPE studies the perpetrators to emphasize the essential role of professionals and to ask how and why professional abandon their ethical guideposts.

The FASPE Business program examines the roles played by business executives and their enterprises in the Nazi state, underscoring the reality that moral codes governing corporate action and business leaders can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. With this historical background, the Business fellow are better positioned (and more willing) to confront contemporary issues.

In 2017, the Business program will be led by Mary Gentile, Creator/ Director of Giving Voice to Values and Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and Markus Scholz, Endowed Chair of Corporate Governance & Business Ethics at the FH Wien University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

"FASPE will influence my personal and professional growth by allowing me to learn in an interdisciplinary manner to further understand the interconnectedness of history, philosophy, economics, and ethics," said Emily Anding who is in her second year at the Mason School, where she specializes in design and innovation, "I am very interested in decision-making processes in corporate America and seek to further learn how to empower employees to make autonomous and ethical decisions, regardless of their position within a company." Anding received an undergraduate degree in environmental policy from Colorado College and worked in the fields of higher education and college access before pursuing her MBA. Alongside her studies, she currently also teaches design thinking and creative leadership at IDEO U.

Anding joins a diverse group of 63 FASPE fellows across all five programs who were chosen through a competitive process that drew close to 1,000 applicants from around the world. FASPE covers all program costs, including travel, food, and lodging.

The experience of the Business fellows is enhanced by traveling alongside Journalism and Law fellows, who together - in formal and informal settings - consider how ethical constructs and norms in their respective professions align and differ. In 2017, the three groups will begin their trip in Berlin on Sunday, May 21 and travel on to Krakow and Oświęcim (the town in which Auschwitz is located), Poland, on May 26 In Berlin, the program includes museum visits, meeting with a Holocaust survivor, and educational workshops at the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where state and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to coordinate plans for the Nazis' "Final Solution." In Krakow, fellows will continue their seminars at Jagiellonian University, one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious universities, and at Auschwitz, they will be guided by the distinguished educational staff of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

After the program, each fellow will submit an essay focused on a contemporary ethical issue of his or her choice. Select essays are published in the annual FASPE Journal, which showcases work in all five disciplines.

The FASPE Business curriculum was developed with the help of professors Gentile and Scholz, who also co-led the pilot trip in 2015, which included 8 American and 4 European business fellows. Business fellows from prior years are now working in various positions in financial institutions, investment vehicles, and other businesses.

FASPE maintains long-term relationships with its fellows in order to sustain commitment to ethical behavior and to provide a forum for continued dialogue. Today, the Fellowship boasts a total of 384 alumni across its five programs.

"FASPE is committed to a long-term relationship with fellows in order to sustain the ideas raised during the program. FASPE fosters an active network of alumni and provides a variety of opportunities for fellows to exchange ideas and to meet to continue the dialogue started during our trips as they move forward in their careers," said Thorin R. Tritter, FASPE's Executive Director. "The centerpiece of these efforts is our annual Alumni Reunion & Symposium where fellows from all years discuss current issues in their respective fields and participate in various interdisciplinary networking activities."

Full Press Release (pdf)