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2011 JMU College of Business 
Thomas J. Masterson
Ethics Essay Competition

CoB Sophomores and Juniors - What should Paul do???
Download the 2011 ethics case

NEW DEADLINE: Sunday, March 20th (see below for details)

The College of Business Annual Thomas J. Masterson Ethics Essay Competition, now in its tenth year, is sponsored by Rich Masterson, A JMU College of Business alum and highly successful entrepreneur, and Rich's sister, Beth Masterson Beahm, a JMU alum and strong JMU supporter (along with her husband and JMU alum Mike Beahm). The contest is named in memory of their father, Thomas J. Masterson. 

This competition is open to JMU business majors who are SOPHOMORES and JUNIORS. Winners are selected to receive scholarship awards (to be applied to each winner's JMU student account!) and are recognized during the annual College of Business Awards Banquet held each fall. There will be now be five awards (up from 3 in prior years), including a first place award for $5,000!! 

The NEW deadline for this year's submission is 11:59pm, Sunday, March 20th (2011).  
Materials are to be submitted electronically as email attachments to Dr. Bob Kolodinsky at kolodirw@jmu.edu. See guidelines below. 

Email Dr. Bob Kolodinsky at kolodirw@jmu.edu
Director, Gilliam Center for Ethical Business Leadership, Showker, Room 644
Phone: 540.568.3014

Guidelines and Requirements for the Case Analysis and Personal Statement

To participate in the Thomas J. Masterson (TJM) Ethics Essay Competition, you must submit both a personal statement and an analysis of a short case. 

Your personal statement should recount and discuss an occasion in your life when you faced an ethical dilemma and what you learned from it. An ethical dilemma typically involves a "right or wrong" situation or decision in which someone benefits in some way and someone else is harmed (or in which someone's rights are denied). This need not be an occasion when you behaved well, though it could be. But it must be an occasion when you faced an ethics-oriented choice, made a decision, and acted (or failed to act) - and then learned something; e.g., a valuable lesson about right and wrong. The example can be drawn from any time in your life and from any part of your life (e.g., from school, work, sports, church, a romance, or time spent with friends). In the discussion, be sure to make it clear why this was an important event in your life and what you learned from it. 

Your 2011 "WeNet" case analysis should address several issues, including (not necessarily in this order): 
- a clear statement of the ethical dilemma(s) in this case
- summary of important issues known from the ‘facts’ in this case
- possible motivations behind key actors’ behaviors (Paul and Sandra)
- Paul’s alternatives (i.e., different courses of action Paul might consider taking)
- likely consequences of each alternative course of action
- your recommendation for Paul (what you believe is his best course of action and why you think this).  

For both your personal statement and case analysis, competition judges also will consider your writing skills and your adherence to the directions (as stated above and in the writing instructions below). In addition to proper word choice, grammar, and spelling, they will look for a clearly stated issues, appropriate organization of your response, balanced logical argumentation, and content that maintains reader interest. 

Please make sure you follow these guidelines:

  • This is individual work. It must be done on your own (i.e., without any help from anyone) and pledged by the James Madison University Honor Code. Type your name and the date completed on the cover sheet (which includes your honor pledge). By including the cover page (with your typed name and a date) along with your essay and personal statement in an email attachment, you are promising that you have completed this work alone and that you abide by the JMU Honor Code.
  • Word limit for case analysis: 1,000 words. Note: to easily check the total number of words in an MS Word document, go to Tools > Word Count. 
  • Word limit for personal statement: none - write as much as you need to in order to convey your ethical situation and what you learned from it. 
  • Use 12 point font; double-space the entire paper; indent each paragraph 5 spaces; use one-inch margins (top, bottom, and sides); do not use any headers or footers; and do not put page numbers on the pages.
  • Send your cover sheet (see below), your case analysis, and your personal statement all in the same file. Separate each by page breaks (Insert > Break > Page Break).
  • Scoring criteria. The case analysis will be scored by several COB faculty members and JMU alums based on the criteria set forth above. Note: there are no scoring criteria for the personal statement other than writing skills and adherence to directions. 
  • Follow all instructions. Failure to follow instructions may disqualify your submission from consideration.

Download the cover sheet for the ethics essay statement

Download the 2011 ethics case