It was a wonderful change from a very different and alarming statistic I got a few weeks ago. 90% of the freshers in the MBA class I spoke to yesterday at VJIM, Hyderabad, spontaneously raised their hands in support of their belief that success can be achieved and businesses could be run successfully by ethical means. This was probably the best response I got to this question in the past three years that I have been interacting with MBA students in colleges in terms of numbers.Fantastic and truly heart warming.
The very few hands that were sceptical of the idea also listened carefully when I expressed my opinions of how their inchoate beliefs could set the tone for their real experiences later. And that they could perhaps hold and nurture a different belief if they wanted to experience a different reality.
I think that up to their mid-teens most children are highly idealistic. Almost painfully idealistic - that you fear for their illusions almost. In the next few years their opinions change and harden - mainly reinforced by what is happening in the world around them.
I do wish these students had more debates on ethics and values so they can hear viewpoints from both sides because I do believe that these youth innately believe in goodness, in good values and ethics, but fear that it may set them back. Maybe the right examples, interactions with people who can speak with conviction, that it is perfectly fine to live a life of integrity and honesty and still achieve what they want. They are at an age when they make choices for the rest of their life and it could certainly help a bit to hear more successful people speak from personal experience.
But whatever it is that brought out this reaction, it was wonderful. I do hope and pray that they all nurture these beliefs and grow them. It ensures an ethical and fine world for all of us.