By: Danyal Solomon
Not being very far removed from my undergraduate education, I can relate to the plight of the typical college student. Memory recall for finals, mnemonic devices for reciting a textbook’s summary on a three-hour exam, and struggling to understand how Middle Eastern literature would help me land a job. My education has served me well; however, I cannot say it prepared me for the world of ethics and compliance.
College is the ideal time to instill ethical conduct and a compliant mindset amongst students. Recently, my colleague and I guest lectured about International Due Diligence at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Professor Paul Melendez hosted a business ethics course with more than 100 undergraduates in attendance.
It was gratifying to see many young men and women listening intently and engaging in conversations us compliance professionals often take for granted. There is the business side of ethics and compliance – FCPA Due Diligence, international due diligence vendors, dressed up yet ineffective “certifications,” and technology solutions. There is also the theoretical perspective.
In theory, ethical conduct and compliant business procedures are quite simple. In practice, maintaining these standards can be difficult. To mitigate varying standards of ethical conduct in a global economy is at the very least, challenging. For future business leaders to maintain a solid understanding of these challenges is important.
Professors worldwide would do well to follow Dr. Melendez’s lead. His students were engrossed in learning about the practicalities of compliance and the professionals who observe it daily. Dr. Melendez’s students had an impressive knowledge of FCPA compliance, Anti-bribery Anti Corruption compliance, and important legislation significantly impacting the way global companies operate.
More importantly, they were learning the intricacy of the international economy and how good corporate citizens behave within this arena. When these students graduate and enter the global work force, their ethical acumen will be light years beyond mine when I graduated just a few years ago. Their knowledge of the complicated interplay of ethics, compliance, business, and cultural divides will be greatly enhanced and ultimately this will bolster their standing in international business careers.
The purpose of any education is to prepare students for the “next level.” Whether that next level is another year of education, or a career in international business, the fact remains that it is of the utmost importance to instill ethical character traits earlier than later – the collegiate years are the ideal time to prepare our students for their exposure to the challenges of conducting business abroad.
Danyal Solomon is a global due diligence consultant for Kreller Group. Prior to his tenure at Kreller, Solomon was a business analyst for Microsoft and worked in Constituent Services for the United States Congress. He advises multinational Fortune 100 companies in the areas of FCPA Compliance Program Construction, Third Party and Serial Litigations Investigations, Anti-Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering and M&A Due Diligence. Solomon received his B.A. in Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures/International Relations from Columbia University. He is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at Salmon P. Chase College of Law. Solomon is fluent in Arabic.
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