It is really hard to identify when ethics –or the lack thereof –became a social issue of the magnitude that it seems to be now. When I received my MBA from Tulane in 1978, a course in ethics was required for everyone in the last semester of the two year program. It was considered the capstone course of the MBA program and our professor utilized the case study format.
When I attended graduate business school in the late 1970’s, the big “change” in finance was examining cash flow instead of earnings. After all, the logic went, how can you make fair assessments on leverage and other ratios if you do not have a basic understanding of the underlying cash flow? A few of us jokingly proposed that the solution to every case study should be the mantra, “cash is king.”