Why a Jesuit business education is the key to success today

By Karyl Leggio, Ph.D.  |  Photos by Scott Suchman

In a business world still reeling from recent scandals of historic proportions, people looking to advance their careers need to consider where they can receive an education that prepares them to be ethical leaders. Karyl Leggio, Ph.D., dean of Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business and Management, explains why a Jesuit education is increasingly relevant today and why graduates say the Jesuit aspect of a Sellinger education was most important to their continued success after graduation.

Photo of the Sellinger building courtesy of the Everyday Loyola Project

The Jesuits know education.

When I think about Jesuit education, I think about rigor and reflection. People know that the Jesuits are focused on quality education. The reflection piece is thinking about the impact of your every decision and the consequences, not just for your shareholders today, but for your stakeholders tomorrow.

Ethics course? Not in the Sellinger School. The whole program is ethics.

We talk regularly with our faculty about how a course is different because you teach it at Loyola. We hold faculty retreats twice a year and monthly mission lunches to talk about Jesuit education and to share with our colleagues mission activities we’re doing in our classes. Every business school says, “We teach ethics.” In the Sellinger School it’s not just a course that we teach. Our program focuses on ethics and reflection. Ethics education in business isn’t effective unless it’s woven into everything learned and applied.

Your mission—if you choose to accept it—is educating your mind, body, and spirit.

Before prospective new faculty come to campus for an interview, they have to write an essay discussing what the Jesuit mission is and how they will incorporate it into their classes. You don’t have to be Catholic to be successful at teaching at Loyola. It is more important that you believe in the mission of educating the whole person—mind, body, spirit.

Students learn to think beyond themselves—way beyond.

We tell students we know that they will have successful careers, but to be truly successful and have a real sense of achievement, reach out to help in the community in which you live. If you’re coming out of one of our MBA programs, we urge you to use your skills and talents to help others.

They take a new approach. Every. Single. Day.

Students learn to use new tools. For example, Tony Mento, Ph.D., professor of management, teaches our students how to do mind mapping, and it is a phenomenal technique. He teaches students to consider what happened today, why did these things happen, what did I do to influence the outcome, and what could I do differently. It’s a very deliberate approach to reflection focused on learning to continue to improve in your decision-making process.

CEOs say Jesuit business school graduates are different—and that’s why they want them.

When people talk to me about Loyola students, they tell me Loyola students are smart, articulate, hardworking, and ethical. I hear that all the time from CEOs, and they almost always use the identical words. This is the Jesuit difference and something that makes us very proud.

Alumni say reflection is the most important thing they learned.

On average, one-third of our students come to Loyola because we’re a Jesuit school, one-third say they didn’t know we were a Jesuit university, and one-third say they knew we were a Jesuit business school, but that did not influence their decision to come to Loyola for their graduate work. Yet in a recent survey or our alumni, 92 percent indicate that learning the art of reflection was the most important part of their education. This is the Jesuit difference.

Jesuit Education.

It really is not about religious beliefs. It’s about educating the whole person, regardless of your faith tradition. And I believe there is no better way to educate our future business leaders than by doing so in a Jesuit framework. A religious institution gives you the freedom to talk about topics you can’t talk about at state schools. I believe the Jesuit tradition provides the ideal frame for educating business leaders.

How has your Jesuit education contributed to your professional success?

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