The sixth session of the Mandel Graduate Unit's program designed to train graduates to serve as board members of government companies and educational and social organizations included a simulation that provided an opportunity to practice the skills acquired during the course and apply the knowledge they learned so far.
The exercise was based on a fictional public real estate company. The participating graduates were divided into three committees: audit, risk management, and compensation. Each committee held a discussion and formulated conclusions and recommendations based on the data it was given, with each graduate assigned a role representing a different interest: CEO, board member, external consultant, stakeholder, etc.
The simulation script was complex and included challenges that required careful consideration and attention to detail. The committees were asked to prepare a policy paper on risk management, to authorize or reject a deal with stakeholders, and to set the level of the annual bonus that should be paid to senior managers based on the company's profitability and public visibility.
At the end of the committee deliberations, a simulated general board meeting was held, at which participants presented the findings and recommendations of the committees. A lively debate ensued, moderated by the two professionals who had designed the simulation exercise: Attorney Ronit Abramson, who serves as the professional consultant for the program, and Yigal Bar-Yosef, a strategic consultant to companies who himself is a member of several boards. The debate was followed by a summary discussion, in which graduates summarized the session and gave feedback about the learning process, the preparation of materials, and the way the program's sessions were run.
After the simulation, Ari Smadja, a graduate of Cohort 13 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, gave a lecture on ethics and morals in the work of boards of directors and recommended that discussions of moral issues be included in the training of board members. He noted that many decisions may be legal but at the same time far from moral; for directors to fulfil their responsibilities properly, they must look beyond the letter of the law and be sure that they are also abiding by moral and ethical norms.
Dr. Tamar Abramov, senior advisor to the president of the Mandel Foundation, was a guest at the session.