Business students need to steer clear of ethical “gray zones” as they seek big salaries in the corporate world, keynote speaker Rafael Rangel, Ph.D., told Thunderbird School of Global Management graduates Dec. 11 during the winter commencement.
“Many of the great problems we have today started with small activities in what I call the ‘gray zone’ of what is and what is not ethical,” said Rangel, the parent of two Thunderbird alumni and president of Thunderbird’s partner school, Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.
Overall, more than 1,300 students have graduated from the Global MBA distance learning program, which Thunderbird offers to Latin American managers through a partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey. Graduates of the program receive a joint degree from both schools.
Rangel, who received an honorary Doctor of International Law from Thunderbird during the ceremony, shared his keynote address with 195 graduates from 11 degree programs and 26 countries. The group did not include Global MBA-Latin American graduates, who received their degrees in August.
“As you seek to define your professional path, you should look for a career within institutions, corporations and organizations whose values are compatible with your values you learned from your family, professors, friends and life experiences,” Rangel said. “Do not try to negotiate these values just for a position or higher income.”
Rangel also counseled the graduates to find work they enjoy and to be passionate about their contributions to society. But he also said they need to save time for themselves and their families.
Many professionals become so immersed in their work that they neglect their physical and spiritual health and overlook the importance of raising a family, cultivating friends and devoting time to their communities.
“For me,” Rangel said, “the people who are truly successful are those who have known how to balance the different sides of their lives.”