Longhorns Longview: Texas Business School Rallies for Investments in Ethical Entrepreneurship

The spring stampedes (yes, stampedes plural) in Austin have begun: Students fleeing for spring break and visitors invading for South by Southwest. Local businesses and groups have already inaugurated the annual confab, opening today, with pre-festival pub crawls as well as single-location, non-crawling parties. McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas (Hook ‘em horns!) also plans to celebrate all weekend long, promoting its innovative, entrepreneurial culture for fun, for press coverage, for hometown fans...and for some much-wanted donations.

McCombs ranks academically in the top-tier of business schools, alongside Darden (University of Virginia) and Marshall (Southern California), among others, but it's not keeping up when it comes to alumni donations. A couple years ago McCombs dean Tom Gilligan launched the Our Turn campaign to boost such giving, and the school is using Rally.org to continue its fundraising. (Before Rally was even a twinkle in the eye of founder and McCombs alumnus Tom Serres, he spent part of his undergrad years creating and building an earlier crowdfunding site.)

Whether from Longhorns or the people who love them, their financial gifts encourage training for and eye-opening research into business approaches that are creative, responsible, powerful, and forward-thinking. The McCombs campaign also supports resources available to anyone with an Internet connection. There's the alumni magazine (featuring, by coincidence, a timely story about why students have a hard time paying for a McCombs education). There's also the savvy video series Ethics Unwrapped, which explores the question "Why do good people do bad things?" using straightforward explanations (no jargon!) from students and charming animated drawings, plus downloadable classroom notes and discussion questions. Think biz-school and behavioral economics snapshots on Vimeo.

We at Rally love the cleverness of Ethics Unwrapped and how the series offers streamlined conversations about the collision of psychological biases and organizational and economic pressures. At the heart of these videos is the reality, as one student observes, that "we live in a social world...We can’t just make decisions based on what benefits us the most,” in part because this social world keeps nudging us toward choices that will ultimately harm, or help, an ever growing number of people.