The LANG School of Business and Economics, led by founding dean Julia Christensen Hughes through a 10-year strategic process, transformed from a traditional academic college to a business school for a changing world. Setting a bold vision to develop leaders for a sustainable world, formally endorsed by faculty and staff, LANG embodies the concept of business as a force for good, reflected across our three pillars - transformational learning, research with impact, and community engagement. To realize our vision, we developed an integrated plan, with clear accountability. Critical to the operationalization of our values was a fundamental revisioning of the introduction to business course. Management 1000 is now a mechanism for "onboarding" all 800 of our first-year students to the concepts of ethics, integrity, and leadership in a real-world setting.
Throughout the course, students work together in teams to conduct a macro analysis of a company, apply business theory, and research organizational factors. The culminating activity is The Great Ethical Dilemma case competition, whereby the teams act as the company’s leadership, and must respond to a (fictitious) ethical issue requiring immediate resolution. Teams have 38 hours to examine the issue, develop an ethical solution, and prepare a presentation of their recommendation for an “executive board”, including industry judges who assess the teams. Thus, students integrate ethical decision making, management theory, and considerations of sustainability, in their first term, and throughout their program.
This focus on leadership and ethics as essential skills for graduates in today’s complex business environment led to our culminating achievement. In 2019, we received a transformative $21 million gift from Stu and Kim Lang to name the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics to honor Stu’s father, founder of CCL Industries. A man of principle, Gordon S. Lang embodied the characteristics that make Guelph business students special: humble, hardworking, entrepreneurial, and resilient. The words of our benefactor, Stu Lang, motivate us to continue our path forward.