Maggie Calonico, MBA 94

Author, Shakedown
New York

Maggie Calonico, MBA 94, first delved into the world of business ethics at Haas, co-authoring a negotiation exercise on ethical debate so heated that fellow students nearly came to blows enacting it.


Business ethics continued to pique Calonico’s interest well after earning her MBA and her subsequent vibrant career on Wall Street, where she most recently worked as a managing director at Bear Stearns.


Today, Calonico is using the age-old question of right vs. wrong as a platform to further another one of her passions: writing.


In 2005, Calonico voluntarily left her job at Bear Stearns to consult and spend more time writing. In May, her first novel, Shakedown (Lenox Road Publishing, 2009), won a Benjamin Franklin silver award for best first fiction book from the Independent Book Publishers Association. Shakedown was also selected as an Indie Next List “Great Reads” title by the American Booksellers Association. ’


Shakedown evolved from a short story Calonico originally wrote for a writing workshop. Calonico formed her own publishing company to produce the book.


Focused on a fictional San Francisco-based company, Shakedown
is a suspenseful thriller that explores the motives and individuals
behind a massive insider trading scheme—one with murder at the
heart of it.


Murder aside, it may not be so easy to answer other ethical dilemmas raised by Shakedown, Calonico says. These include determining the extent to which a company’s ill-gained earnings are mitigated by a vast global philanthropy and economic presence.


“Wrongdoing can start small,” says Calonico, whose next book focuses on an illegal human drug trial. “Varied motivations, good and bad, can feed it. Competitive and personal pressures can make it difficult to observe ethical boundaries consistently.”


Calonico, who writes under the pseudonym Andie Ryan, believes it’s time to look long and hard at the corporate and regulatory cultures and pressures that gave rise to recent business scandals. “At some point in their careers, managers will likely be asked or told to push an ethical or legal limit,” Calonico says. “How do we prepare them?”


Her hope is that books like Shakedown will be used as tools to further examine the multiple underpinnings of such scandals and the different choices managers can make.

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