Chart nine in the Corporate Reputation Watch 2008 study of MBAs tells a mixed story about how these future managers see reputation and countervailing offsets.
When asked the question "If an industry sector has a poor reputation, what could a firm in that sector offer you to compensate for the sector's poor reputation, and/or what could attract you to work for that firm?", most MBA respondents focused on the firm offering more career opportunities, more money and more chances for learning and development.
Again, not surprising. These are students who have invested a hell of a lot of money to advance their career options.
More interesting, though, is - to use financial phraseology - what is 'below the line'.
Once you get past the expedience (not meant to be judgmental) you find that MBAs want their employers to be actively enriching the reputation bank and sustaining ethical practices. The fourth item on the list in chart nine is "The firm's commitment to improving its own reputation.' In other words, MBA students don't want to be part of a company which ignores its industry's bad reputation. Nor do they want to come on staff of a company that fails to recognize the relationship between a commitment to high standards and ethics and a poor reputation (fifth on the list).
Or perhaps they are really just driven by the lure of filthy lucre . . . 96% (chart four below) agree with the statement that "a company that fails to look after reputational aspects of performance with ultimately suffer financially too." Self-serving or sensitive?