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The future of finance: training ethical leaders with the support of business

Finance de demain : construire l’éthique des futurs leaders, avec les entreprises
Published on
21 October 2019

How can we implement sustainable finance with responsible practices? The Finance de demain (Finance of tomorrow) network was mobilized by Grenoble Ecole de Management in order to work on solving this challenge. With the serious game Finethics, the school invites finance professionals to question their practices and take part in the discussion on ethics.

The Finance de demain network was launched in 2016 by Arnaud Raffin, a professor of finance at GEM. “I like finance and its tools. But I also note the fact that when the media speaks about finance it’s generally to expose a crisis or ethically questionable situation. At the same time, many young professionals in the finance sector are leaving their jobs after six months to two years. Why is this? One of my initial goals was to revamp public perception of finance-related professions. And why not offer bankers, for example, the opportunity to be once again proud of their job!”

“Ethics? Everyone speaks about it, but few act upon it.”

Since 2016, three actors have come together to work on raising awareness and encouraging responsible practices: 15 professionals from all sectors and several European countries, 128 students from GEM as well as other schools and universities, and Grenoble Ecole de Management with its Business Lab for Society engagement. Together this network is working to foster sustainable ethics in the world of finance.

Finethics: an immersive experience with ethical dilemmas

Starting in 2017, several tools were launched for future professionals in the fields of finance, accounting and auditing. The most recent tool is the serious game Finethics, which enables participants to experience an ethical dilemma thanks to role playing scenarios that are suggested by the participating company. “Virtual reality technology is used to run the game and its development required the participation of many stakeholders. The serious game offers companies and their employees the opportunity to immerse themselves in an ethical dilemma,” explains Arnaud.

“This collaborative effort enables companies to take part in a complete scenario that includes targeted management objectives. A company can present us with a basic scenario idea and we will build on it to create an immersive experience. As a result, the game offers a foundation on which to build and experience concrete ethical dilemmas that are very business oriented.” It generally takes 8 to 10 months for a company’s suggested dilemma to be transformed into a usable scenario with results delivered after a year.

“Who can change the stakes? The professionals of tomorrow” 

“I’m wary of labels such as ‘ethical finance’. Only individuals can implement ethical behavior. That’s why our network is working to improve how things work in the field,” underlines Arnaud. To advance this goal, two tools complement the serious game:

  • Sponsorship: each student in the network can benefit from a sponsor who is an active professional. Thus, a student will be able to call upon a mentor for individualized support when faced with an ethical dilemma. “It’s an engagement on behalf of companies. Being partner to this initiative is also a means of highlighting a company’s leadership position in terms of developing responsible financial practices,” explains Arnaud.
  • A library of resources that obviously includes financial sources but also, knowledge gained from other sectors and practices. These resources offer a starting point to help build a coherent intellectual perspective. They are available on a website specifically dedicated to the project.

The ambitions of the Finance de Demain network

  • Train individuals in accordance with their career choice.
  • Help future professionals in finance become aware of the ethical dilemmas they may face.
  • Enable companies to understand new generations of talent and evolve side-by-side with them in order to increase performance.

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