I have just finished my fourth year of teaching a course on compliance and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act created for the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.
With 40 students from across the globe, we focused on the requirements of the FCPA and other global anti-bribery laws, recent revelations and investigations related to the behemoth retailer Wal-Mart, the substantial risks when doing business in Russia and China, the challenges facing global organizations, and perhaps most importantly for students, job opportunities in compliance.
The course required students to make a 15 minute presentation regarding the risks and rewards related to entering a select country (there were 15 countries analyzed) not rated well by Transparency International. This exercise resonated well with students, who are urged to identify corruption and bribery risks as part of the process of assessing business opportunities.
We focused upon the need for organizations to attain compliance and mitigate risks inevitably arising when entering less transparent markets. We discussed how corruption and bribery skews the markets, taking valuable resources from communities that sorely need healthcare, clean water, roads, and schools.
With eight Chinese students in the latest class, we discussed the challenges of attaining compliance in China, as well as the Chinese government’s efforts to stop corruption. We noted that the Wal-Mart case, which was discovered and reported by the New York Times, earning those reporters a Pulitzer, may never have been brought to light in China, where there is no freedom of the press.
Students from the Masters in Accounting and MBA programs populated the class. Noting that the FCPA Blog and other sites regularly post compliance-related jobs, I urged students to consider compliance as a career. I identified the SCCE as an organization for students to utilize both now and in the future as a substantial resources for their professional careers.
What is perhaps unfortunate is that the foreign students this year didn’t interact much with their U.S. classmates. I need to figure out how to get more “integrated activities” going.
Jeffrey Klink is CEO of Klink & Co. www.klink-co.com.