Corporate scandals and salsa– E/M style

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by

Last night I hosted a film showing and discussion of the documentary, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” for a theatre full of students– most of whom were 8 or 9 years old when Enron imploded in the early 2000s. It is easy for me to forget that such a defining corporate event for me as a business student, former banker and now business prof was not even on the radar for many of our students. They also often don’t realize that the fallout from Enron (and all the other meltdowns) is still with us, such as increased regulations, forced separation of audit and consulting work for CPA firms, and admonitions from financial planners to never, ever put all of our retirement savings into one company’s stocks. We talked about not only the cultural artifacts and values from the film but how to look for telltale signs in any organization about what it is really like to work there. Hopefully, none of our students will ever be in the position many of the Enron employees were– go along with the fraud or find another job.

The real treat, though, was having Russ Michaletz ’74 provide context and commentary after the movie. Recently retired from Deloitte and now teaching for us in Business Law, Russ was actually at Arthur Andersen during the Enron debacle, and watched, from the inside, the country’s oldest and most prestigious accounting firm go out of business. I have never heard a first-person account of that time, and the backstory from his experience as a partner at A.A. Just terrific.

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Oh, and the salsa part of this post? Paul Estenson, along with Aden Letcher ’16, shared instructions with willing and good natured students, faculty and staff to help test soon-to-be-marketed salsa product for the student entrepreneurs. Their charge was to see if they could ascertain a difference between salsa Paul had hand-crafted and salsa that a food manufacturer had made using Paul’s recipe.

We await the research results!

 

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