VERMILLION, S.D. – New York Times best-selling author Sheelah Kolhatkar was featured as the headlining speaker for the Beacom School of Business’ Arthur A. Volk Symposium that took place on Monday, April 8.
Graduate M.P.A. student and Beta Alpha Psi president Megan Thomas introduced Sheelah Kolhatkar to an audience of nearly 400 students, alumni, faculty and staff. Kolhatkar discussed some of the biggest business scandals of the past 25 years. She shared detailed examples of businesses who have favored greed and deceitful practices over ethical and responsible behavior, including the Stephen Cohen of S.A.C. Capital, the focus of her 2017 New York Times best-seller "The Black Edge." She concluded with stories of companies such as Uber, who started down an unfavorable path but are making great strides in changing their corporate culture.
“Kolhatkar’s lecture was extremely relevant for our students,” said Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D., dean of the Beacom School of Business. “Championing ethical decision making in business is a strategic priority for our school. Our students learn business ethics in the classroom and now they can relate it to real-world examples.”
Guests engaged with Kolhatkar at the end of the lecture, asking questions and talking in more detail about how to create change. One student asked how they could make a difference as a consumer, to which Kolhatkar suggested choosing to do business with companies who reflect ethical behavior and have values a person can believe in and support.
“This year’s Volk symposium was, again, a tremendous experience for all in attendance,” said junior finance major Benjamin Lauer. “Sheelah Kolhatkar shared many interesting anecdotes throughout her presentation. Her unorthodox path to becoming a hedge fund analyst, which lead to her current success as a journalist, prove that applying one’s self is perhaps more important than credentials. She also relayed how vital it is that future generations of business leaders understand the value of strong ethics in the workplace.”