Enron- The smartest guys in the room

enron.jpg The movie- Enron: The smartest guys in the room (2005)- is based on a book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. It examines one of the biggest corporate scandals in the U.S. history- the unexpected sudden collapse of one of the largest corporations in the world. It introduces us to Ken Lay (“Kenny Boy”), Jeff Skilling (“a former nerd”), Andy Fastow, and others who were the top dogs at Enron.  The  movie combines insider accounts, C-span clips, voice-over effects, and corporate audio and video tapes to present the why, how, and to what effect of the Enron saga. Worth watching, I believe.

What really happened at Enron? Were the activities and events at Enron any different from those in other big corporation? Why did nobody speak up when they were making money off Enron stock? How did Enron top management manage to fool the media, journalists, employees, and the public for so long? I doubt these questions will ever be completely answered. For most people, Enron is already history- Something that happened in the past.



129 responses to “Enron- The smartest guys in the room

  1. It is hard to believe that an industry leader can go bankrupt so fast. This movie really opened my eyes to the problems that occured at Enron and it showed that when you look close enough Enron never deserved to be the industry leader in the first place. Within any business school, I think professors talk about Enron more than any other company and truthfully I never knew the whole story. This movie really helped me to understand what happend at Enron and it shows that with enough pressure even the most noble people will turn into devils. What I can not believe is that a company with no profits could be so admirable to so many people.

  2. This movie was informative for me. When Enron collapsed I was still in high school and was uniformed or for lack of better words, I did not care too much about the business world. As a result of that I never really heard the story of what happen in one of the largest scandals in America. I only knew that the company acted unethically and lied about their profits. I think this movie can act as a deterrent for future business men and women. It shows that what goes up must come down. Basically if you think you can get away with acting unethically it will eventually catch up with you. When this happens everything will come crashing down; and that is exactly what happen to Enron.

  3. This movie really blew my mind! As an accounting major, Enron has been brought up in nearly every single one of my classes. However, I’d never really taken the time to look up exactly what happened there. It was very, very interesting to finally get an idea about what went wrong. Strangely enough, one of my first thoughts was: Hopefully I can be as smart as Skilling and Lay someday. Those men were very smart and knowledgable about business. I think they were strategic thinkers, too. In fact, everyone at Enron was the best and the brightest. However, because they used their brains to achieve unethical numbers, nobody will ever remember them for being so smart! I definately think there is a valuable lesson to be learned here: In our careers we will be faced with many opportunities to cheat, but we do, we will eventually get caught and nobody will ever care about any of our other achievements. It’s something to think about. It’s important to be smart like Lay, Skilling, Fastow, and the other executives and employees, but you should use those smarts to come up with solutions that are honest and ethical!

  4. This movie was shocking to me. I was always aware of the scandal at Enron but I never knew what exactly went on. It was also surprising to me how much the collapse of Enron resulted from their “idea man” Jeff Skilling. It seems as if Skilling was too clever for his own good. The signs were there long before the collapse, you have to question a company that repeatedly reports earning above estimates yet cannot describe how they make their money. As analysts described it, “it’s a black box”, no one knew where the earnings came from, and they just took it on good faith. If you ask me that is the ideal investment to stay away from, if you can’t describe the business model there is no way to properly value the investment. The signs got more and more evident as eventually Enron could not even produce a cash flow statement and a balance sheet. When asked why they could not produce these statements in a conference call Skilling called the analyst an asshole, a big red flag. The involvements with Fastow’s partnerships and structured finance practices are what created these reporting difficulties, Enron’s debt was placed in many different specialty companies to create the image of a financially sound company that continuously beat estimates. The whole story is a perfect example of what money can drive people to do and how devastating the violation of fiduciary responsibilities can be. As one PGE employees said, his retirement account, mainly Enron stock, went from a value of almost $350,000 to being sold at $1200!

  5. What really got to me was the portion where the former Enron employee acknowledged that he never questioned “why”. At the core, organizations are groups of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. All of these people were working to achieve the goal of profitability, but nobody questioned where the money was coming from or why. Sometimes it’s the small questions that can make or break life. If Newton hadn’t asked “why” when the apple hit him on the head, where would we be? As Nicole said, when we cheat, we get caught. If only someone had asked the right questions and brought down Enron sooner!

  6. Wow. I never knew how massive this scandal was. I never really researched the scandal back when it hit the press; the numbers, the money, and the people involved are mind-boggling. I never knew Enron was behind the “California Black Outs.” It was so sad to see how many people’s lives were raveged because of the greedy actions of some money-hungry executives. But what a well-done movie. I thought the producers did an excellent job with the story. They arranged the story so we could see how it got started, how it came into being, and how it “sailed under the radar” for so long. I thought it was slightly funny and ironic how one of their company’s mottos was “Ask Why?” Nobody really asked why. Everyone essentially took Enron at their word, and unfortunately the ones closest to them who took them at their word paid the biggest price.

  7. It amazes me how long Enron was able to hide the truth from EVERYONE! They were even able to convince Alan Greenspan that the company was giong very well and is a successful investment. Enron was extremely good at misrepresenting their financials and not so good at running a business. Like previously stated, why didn’t anyone question what the executives were doing? And where the profits were coming from? Several investor’s life savings and retirement were flushed down the drain. It’s devastating!

  8. Dan Sundermeier

    Dan Sundermeier
    MGMT 4480
    When I watched the movie Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room I was reminded of the principal of remaining independence from their auditor. I am reminded of this principal from my accounting classes. Because Arthur Andersen relied on Enron for their income, they were more willing to participate in unethical practices to keep Enron afloat. Enron was making their books look favorable while they were going into debt.
    The concept of different ownership was demonstrated in the movie when the relationship between Enron and Arthur Andersen was explained. Arthur Andersen received one million dollars a week from their largest client Enron. There was high motivation for them to manipulate Enron’s statements to show a profit. The stock was increasing in price at an unheard of rate. They went from a $68 billion company to nothing in just a few weeks. The Enron scandal let to the development of the Sarbanes Oxley act. This act ensured that auditors remain more independent from the company, as well as stronger penalties for fraud, reporting more information to the public, and reporting their internal control procedures. In the end of the movie Arthur Anderson was indicted for obstruction of justice.
    I dislike how the movie used some things to show how the workers were unethical. For instance the movie showed the head trader dressed up as a devil for a Halloween. While he may have dressed up in this costume, I don’t think it showed any internal reflection as to who he is. It is a very common costume. Another example is the top executives participating in extreme sports. They went to Baja to go motorcycling. The movie showed clips of motocross riders performing aerial stunts and jumping 70 feet. I think this exaggerated the sport they were participating in. I think that it is perfectly fine for them to go have fun like this. Skiing is dangerous but is publicly acceptable. My overall opinion of the movie is that it is very good. It shed much more light on the situation than I had ever been shown. I think that every business student should watch this movie, especially accounting students.

  9. I never knew that the black outs in Cali was from the guys at Enron. I think that to make money you have to be honest with your customers. All those people could not pay their bills because the traders were selling a such a high price. I wonder what the people say now to the ex. gov of Cali. Maybe he should be put back in office?

  10. Daniel Miller

    The movie shows how reliant the system is on the financial statements of a company. The analysts used the numbers fed to them by Enron to give their opinion of the stock. There were signs that things were not as good as they appeared on the surface. It blew my mind that Merrill Lynch would fire an analyst just because he didn’t give Enron a strong buy recommendation. That should have been a clue. I also think the movie shows just how far charisma will take a person if he/she knows how to use it. The movie talked about how if an analyst had a question about the numbers they would just call and talk to Jeff Skilling. Jeff would smooth things over and the analysts would buy what ever he said and drop it. The reason that they got away with it for so long was because everyone wanted to be just like them. They seemed to have everything and instead of people questioning that they tried to achieve the same thing for themselves.

  11. After watching this and “The Corporation,” how can I trust big business? There is no real end in sight to corruption in corporations. There’s a fine line between too much government oversight and too much freedom. Intense government regulation slows down the economy and innovation in business. Deregulation gives individuals too much power over billions of dollars and thousands of lives. I think what people must learn from this is to be honest. If you feel that an activity is wrong, stop doing it. Try to stop others that you know are doing it. Tell others about it. The real flaw in these situations is that the bystanders don’t ask the important questions looming in their minds and their private conversations. In a democratic society, we have an obligation to speak our minds and be true to ourselves so that this society can become even greater over time.

  12. Steve Kluthe

    I think this movie had a lot of business application because it showed what happens when business go bad. It really gave the other side of business all to often we
    talk about what makes a good company but in Finance classes we never really get into what can lead a company to economic disaster. For me personally it really helped me to understand all the corruption and why Enron was such a corrupt company. I thought it was interesting when Enron started to fall apart Lay was still telling his workers to buy stock in Enron while he was selling his shares left and right.
    It was shocking to see all the major companies in the US that helped ENron hide there finances while they were not really questioning what was going on because after all it was ENRON every had to trust Enron. This movies shows the that its important to always ask why and how.

  13. This movie made me genuinely angry at the people in charge at Enron. I never really knew much about why the company sank and how all of the events played out. It seemed like Enron was extremely cocky and even mocked the US market when they got their mark to market clearance with that commercial spoof. Seeing Jeff Skilling try to lie his way out of the mess that he created makes my blood boil! He caused a lot of people to lose millions of dollars, many of them right here in Omaha from Northern Natural Gas. It all seems so obvious in retrospect but yet no one could catch them at the time. I am glad that Ken Lay got what he had coming to him when he died of a heart attack in 2006!
    Hearing those greedy traders manipulate the market is unnerving. I am really glad that I watched this movie to better understand everything, it really makes you think.

  14. Jillian Bierce

    I thought this movie was very interesting. I never knew all of the detaisl, but knew it was a big deal. All business teachers are always talking about Enron and comparing everything to it and now I have a better understanding of all the details after watching the movie. I think Enron did a very good job on hiding all of their accounting scandals and a question that was in my mind the whole time was how long did they really think they could keep going on with their scandals before they would get caught. They kept having to make up every year for the lies the previous year. Another thing that really shocked me was the power outage in California was because of Enron. The people were of California were really upset. I am very glad that I got the opportunity to watch this movie.

  15. I found this movie very interesting. I had heard a lot about Enron and the whole scandal but it was nice to get an insider’s point of view. I really think that is was a shame that no one in the company was able to speech up earlier. I feel like the whole thing should have been able to be uncovered earlier. The stock advisers should have realized want was happening. This was a great movie for us to watch, you do not want to repeat the same mistakes twice.

  16. I thought the movie took forever. I know a few accountants and auditors and when I mentioned the movie most my friends who just graduated always thought they would work for Aurthur Anderson and now work for a different firm. They had family that had worked there and remeber the fall of Enron much better than I do. It must have been hard to go to sleep some nights. The movie was about digging a whole and being so far down you can not get back to the top so you just keep digging. I find it crazy how many people were involved as well as compnaies. How hard to be the whistle blower and bring lies to the table. The men were great at lying and got away with it much longer than I expected. How much money is worth it? How could no one of reasearch the company more with the outragious stock prices rising?
    I talked to a friend that was on a faris wheel in Californina when there was a power outage. He said they were at the top and had to wait for the generators to kick in. It is amazing how all of our movies involving huge corporations have so many players in the big picture. Government and political power always have some role of the outcome of the situations. Money is a consistant factor as well. There are many common themes in the movies that we have watched and I do not know what I will write about this time.

  17. Corey Bronson

    This movie made me realize the extent people will go to to manipulate others for their personal gain. The executives at Enron were very greedy and got so wrapped up in the own lies that it began spreading throughout the company and made honest people into liers. Im glad I got to see this movie and see all of the unethical behavior that takes place in corporate America. We as a people should learn from this experience and make sure it never repeats. Many people lost their nest eggs and are forced to work as elderly people because of someone elses greed.

  18. Prior to watching the movie, I did not know much about Enron and its demise. It seemed like everyone that was invovled with the company on a higher level took part in the events that led to the failure of the company. Not only the executives of Enron but also the banks they were using. Arthur Andersen also looked past issues. It seemed rather appalling that such things could occur in the business world. The executives did not care at all about the employees. Ken Lay said that his net worth went from like 20million to 2million. He was trying to relate to all of the employees that had lost absolutely everything and by his statement, one can infer that he did not care at all. There were so many issues dealing with downfall of Enron and it was interesting to see what actually happened. The movie documented the scandal quite well.

  19. Megan Weatherwax

    In almost every single one of my classes the company Enron was always brought up to discussion. I never ever really looked that deep into it and only knew the gist of what had happened. This movie was a real eye opener. It really is just too bad that they got away with what they were doing for SO LONG!!! HOW!!!? The parts that really made my stomach turn was how they bought out that Seattle company and everyone’s 401k was transfered over into Enron’s stock and the company price plummeted. All those people expecting that as retirement money watched it just disappear right out from under them. Another part that truely got to me was how much of the Calafornia powerlines they controlled and whether or not the state had power. Just listening to some of the employees saying. “shut it off”, was just unreal. How many lives were touched by this company!! And not in the least bit of good came from it…

  20. Blake DeNoyer

    I’m glad I was able to watch this movie while reading “Power Failure” because I am now able to put a face to a name while reading. So far, the book is almost the exact same as the movie. It still baffles me that Fastow was able to come up with these creative ways for revenue recognition and 99.9% of the people in the company seemed to find it acceptable. I guess when it comes down to money, people will do anything or let anything slide by as long as they end up becoming rich.

    It was extremely shocking to hear about the California energy shortage and how Enron created it, laughed about it, and profited from it. It scary to think corporations can have that much control over our every day lives.

  21. Sarah Eltiste

    I agree w/ so many of the students that have voiced their opinions of Enron. The manipulation, unethical creativity, and need for personal gain is so evident within most, if not all of the individuals that worked at the executive level at Enron. This movie tied back to The Corporation for me – does the above described characteristics fo these employees exist at all corporations? Is it just a matter of time before other “Enrons” will be put under the unethical corporate microscope????

  22. After watching this movie it makes you wonder how truthful other large corporations are in everything that they do. We saw how fast this story blew up and how fast the company went under, one might wonder if something to this extent could happen again. Like many students have already said these men at the top were very intelligent and thought they would never get caught but instead they wronged the company and ruined so many people’s lives. Hopefully this taught a lesson to many people in big corporations to either stand up and voice your opinion or be truthful in everything you do because you will get caught someday if you hide the truth.

  23. Rajeev Arora

    The movie Enron was very interesting and showed the truth about the nation largest industry. I didn’t know much about the Enron earlier. I heard that there was very big scandal which made Enron to bankrupt. I was surprised how their stock was rising day by day with false number they were using for their profit which they never earned. The movie showed that how smartly the CEO’s and financial advisor of the Enron used the accounting system and made tons of money for themselves. They knew that now it is time to walk out because people start asking question about their profit, and they knew that they do not have any satisfactory answers for them. The movie made me realize that how far people can go to manipulate others for their own profit. The executive didn’t care about their employees when their stock worth almost nothing and they had very big amount in their banks. I was wondering, did they realize that what is going to happen when they shut off the power for a while in California. The movie Enron helped me to understand what was happen to the nation largest corporation. I was surprised to see that how they were showing so much profit in the books and nobody ask. This is an interesting movie, a story about the scandal that can arise when government stays out of the regulation business and allows private companies to fuzz the numbers.

  24. Lindsay Cordle

    Enron is a great documentary about unethical actions in the workplace and the fact that it actually did happen makes it even better to watch. Business people can learn a lot and be reminded just how important smart decision-making is by watching the movie. We are all faced with tough decisions at work from time to time, and if something doesn’t seem quite right, asking questions is the way to go. There is no long-term potential for a company who lies and is dishonest, and I am appalled that people would even attempt this strategy. Luckily, they didn’t prosper in the end; however, the job and shareholder losses are unfortunate. This company was amazing while it prospered, or so it seemed. We even have a computer lab in CBA named after it. A good way to explain Enron as a company is, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” I really wonder what Skilling, Lay, Arthur Andersen, and others involved were thinking during this time. Did they actually believe they would never get caught? Or did they just think it was okay because so many people were doing it? Either way, irresponsibility was demonstrated by all involved which led to substantial negative consequences.

  25. Nick Hammer

    I had no idea the extent of the scandal. It was interesting to see just how many people had their hands in Enron’s pockets. As long as they continued making money the analysts, the banks, and accounting firm were happy. I agree with the others about needing to “ask, why?” Everyone involved with Enron essentially took their word and never questioned what was going on in the company. They did not care as long as the money kept coming.

  26. Nicole Dwornicki

    I found this movie to be fascinating! I have always been interesting in accounting fraud, and if there was ever a great example of accounting fraud it would be Enron. I could not believe the extremes that Enron went to in order to increase their stock price. I still can’t believe that they were able to report earnings they never even made by using mark-to-market accounting. I was shocked to find out that they were the ones behind the rolling blackouts in California. I still hate that Ken Lay continued to lie to the employees at Enron ensuring them that Enron was doing great and not worry about anything. I feel horrible for those employees that lost their retirements because the executives at Enron were so obsessed with making money. It is amazing that there are such scandalous people out there.

  27. Craig Thommes

    This was an interesting movie because it talks about one of the largest cases of accounting fraud ever. I am an accounting major so I hear about what happened at Enron atleast a couple times each semester, but the professors don’t really go into detail about what actually happened, ley just say just don’t let it happen where you are working. For Enron to be able to cover up what was really happening bethind the scenes and not have anyone say a word is scary. It really made me think about other companies that are out there doing the same sort of things but just haven’t been caught yet. Very insightful.

  28. Tineisha Whitehead

    Wow, this documentary was shocking. I thought I knew enought about Enron but apparently not. The Rolling blackouts in California was a shocker. Its is sad and totally unethical. The fact that it was done to increase the energy prices to make more money makes it worst. Also, the possibly of George W. Bush being apart of the scandal through his presidential campaign proves that he didn’t care about the U.S. in general except the election. Ken Lay should have not told his employees that everything would be fine when the company was going down. I’m glad that someone stepped forward such as Sherron Watkins and went to the public to share the fraudulent information to the world.

  29. Eli Martinez

    This just another example of how the greed of money hungry people can cause them to go to behave so unethically and be involved in such selfish acts. I did not know very much about Enron before watching this movie either, but it was very informative and shocking at the same time. It is scary thinking that it was so easy for Enron to be providing such false information and deceived so many people into thinking that everything was going well and there was non eed to worry. So many people were affected by the scandal and lots of money was lost by people who had invested in their retirement and 401K with the company. It was a disaster waiting to happen and very unfortunate.

  30. How does someone at the top of their industry go bankrupt in such a short period of time. Thinking about this the only conclusion i can come to is Enron avoided all of its problems and tried to hide them, once the leak starts and all the problems start to come out, its downhill from there. i have read a lot of stuff on enron, but i had not seen the movie, i am still shocked everytime on how a large company like this got a lot of people involved in being morally wrong. This is a pure example of business greed at its best, and an example that will be talked about in the business world far into the future.

  31. MorganWalker

    It was interesting to finally learn about how the rise and fall of Enron happened. I had heard about Enron in almost all my classes but I did not fully understand what they did or how they got away with it for so long. I still don’t understand how they got away with it for so long, but I do have an understanding of what they did to hide things. It was crazy to learn about the California blackouts and Enron’s roll in causing this. It was also crazy to learn about the ability to declare expected profits on current income statements. To me, it seems expected that someone would take advantage of manipulating the financial statements when the mark to market method allows them to. It seems to me that there were no bad intentions to start, but Lay and Skilling seemed to get so caught up in the companies supposed success that they seemed unable to declare failure. Skilling was quoted as saying something about money being the only thing that motivates people. I definately agree that this was true for him.

  32. Alex williams

    After watching this documentary about Enron, made me realize how big of a accounting and business scandal this was. I had no idea that such a big and admirable corporation would do such a thing. The way they hide information and showed false accounting valuation on their balance sheets were so un-ethical. Ken Lay must of had no respect for his employees! At least this whole spule finaly got in the press and action was taken.

  33. Molly Mickeliunas

    I was surprised at how creative this scandal was. The executives at Enron really thought about what they were doing and how they were going to do it. It is sad to see that a company that seemed to be dominant and was an industry leader, was actually so evil. I didn’t know all of the details until I watched this film. Knowing that they were doing wrong and others from accounting firms and traders pretended they didn’t see what was going on. There were a lot of unethical actions taking place. Enron rose to the top and fell very quickly. It shows that doing wrong will haunt you.

  34. Bobbie Adams

    This movie was crazy. I never knew all the details about the Enron scandal and they were shocking. These people were corrupt and unethical. I don’t buy how they can say “they didn’t know” the poor business behavior was happening. Why would Jeffrey Skilling get so upset, even to call an investor an asshole, when asked why they can’t produce a balance sheet or cash flow statement if he “didn’t know” something bad was going on. They were kind of smart on how they deceived the papers and very creative with their methods on how they played games with the books, naming things weird names. It was funny how no one could find a man named M. Yass, they probably were trying to be funny with that one. The movie kept saying they were good actors because they played off that nothing was wrong so well. It was surprising to see President Bush was friends with Ken Lay. There was just something weird about Ken, he didn’t seem like a good person. It was disturbing listening to the traders laugh about the black outs in California saying they are going to charge so much for the energy. I feel bad for all those people that lost their money they invested in the company, while Jeff, Ken, Pai, and others tried to get away with millions of dollars.

  35. Everyone talks about the “Post-Enron” world and how it has affected business and the way corporations do business. In every class from Economics to Business Communication, the topic of Enron has come up. My knowledge of the entire situation was little. I knew they “cooked the books,” I knew a scandal had been committed, but I had no idea to the extent and detail. After watching the video blame can be placed on Lay, Skilling, and Fastow; however, maybe hindsight is 20/20, but the fact that the SEC allowed Enron to use mark-to-market accounting is ridiculous. The fact that no analyst, no investor asked to see a cash flow statement, a balance sheet that showed were these profits were coming from is ridiculous. The fact that they wanted to use weather as a commodity would be a giant red flag that this company is crazy and just scouring for ways to make up for losses. Maybe the saddest part of the whole story is the workers not getting their pension or the money Enron cost the country through power outages, unemployment, lost retirement, and loss pension. It will be up to the business leaders of today and in the future, to commit to having a strong moral sense beyond the bottom line to ensure that this does not happen again.

  36. I wasn’t sure why this movie was rated R until I saw the strip club! I’m not sure why that was even in the movie. This movie makes me sick. I can’t even believe that Enron was using Mark to Market Accounting. That just seems so suspicious. This was such a big scandal and hurt so many people it makes me sad. It is an interesting movie to show how companies try and hide things. Enron wasn’t even profitable but there stock kept going up and the bad things is that their financial statements were being audited and the investors were relying on them. Also Andy Fastow had all of these other companies where Enron was holding their debt. I think the most shocking part of the movie was when Enron decided to go into the Electric Business in California. I can’t believe they were causing blackouts so that the energy price would go up and then betting that the price would go up so they would make even more money. If I lived in California during this time I would have been so mad. Then it seemed as if President Bush knew what was going on and did nothing. I definitely think there should have been regulations on this in California. Also all of these employees in Enron had to of known something was going on. The employees that were calling the plants in California to shut the plants down had to think hmm I wonder why this would be happening so often. I think most of them were persuaded by money obviously. All in all this was a good movie. I did not know all of the things that Enron did and it was pretty interesting to see how they tried to cover it up.

  37. Scott Bradley

    As an accounting major, this movie definitely captivated my interest. I always knew Enron was a big scandal, but I never truely understood how they did, and the depth of the scandal.

    First, ‘how’ Enron did it. The answer: Mark to Market Accounting. When they explained the concept in the movie, I could not beleive that a public accounting firm would ever pass it off. But, money is sometimes the ultimate pursuader.

    Second, the depth of the scandal. I did not realize that if you traded during this period, you HAD to go through Enron. Therefore, others jumped into the ship, even if they knew it was bound to sink. Players like J.P. Morgan, Chase, CitiBank, Arthur Anderson, GM, and on and on. It made me wonder, okay, all the big names were in on it. They too were not making the profit they had claimed, so what was the fall out? Now that big players loose a substantial part of their investment income, how do they compensate? I beleive they either ate the losses and mended their ways, or reverted to the recent surge in “nickel and diming.” It seems that a lot of large banks and financial service organizations began these elaborate fees and debt structures to compensate.

    All in all, it seems our market is running from one scandal to another…when will it finally settle and indicate the true economic condition of the market? Then I realized that most of these organizations have been engaging in questionable activities for so long that they have no other alternative.

  38. Aaron Winters

    I remember I was in the early stages of my college career when everything with Enron went down. I was actually in a financial accounting during the semester all the news started coming out, so it made for some good class discussions. I feel bad for the employees and investors. I have a fraternity brother who worked for enron whose 401(K) was almost worthless when he was let go and he sold all his enron stock for a total of 36 dollars. Luckily he was in his mid 20s so he’ll have plenty of time to make money and recover his losses, but many people he worked with were much older.

  39. Richard Caniglia

    I’m a finance major so in everyone of the classes I take they mention Enron in some way. The movie filled in some of the blanks for me because I knew most of how they did it but I didn’t know all the ins and outs of how it worked. It is disturbing how they were able to do what they did for so long, but on a positive note it did pave the way for the Sarbanes Oxley law. I know if it wasn’t Enron some other company would have done it.

    One of my Dad’s friends worked for Enron for 25+ years and went from about to being a retired millionaire to looking for a part time job. It is truly sad what happened to the innocent people involved. I think that the guys found guilty should have got more time.

  40. Prior to watching this movie, I picked up tidbits of information as to why Enron fell. However, This film opened my eyes and showed me details that were unclear to me. I was astonished at how people so bright would use their genious and power to destroy numerous lives and dreams. So any people were negatively effected by this event directly and indirectly, however the silver lining includes the SOX act and a revived focus on auditing company financials. I believe if it were not for the acts of the executives at Enron and other large organizations, we would still have companies using reckless accounting procedures.

  41. Umutai_Mamarasulova

    Enron was an informative and interesting movie to watch. I have heard about Enron in many of my accounting courses and have always wanted to know the whole true story about it, including the reasons why such a successful, leading company like Enron failed so suddenly. While watching the movie, I was amazed at how intelligent people, like Skilling were fearlessly playing with numbers and situations just to achieve the desired. He or any other person in the company didn’t care that what he or she was doing was wrong and affecting many people. Manipulation of CA’s electricity is an example. After watching the movie I should admit that Enron had some very smart people working for it, who just weren’t smart to realize that one day all their fraudulent activities will surface and they would have to face charges.

  42. Jeremy Windeshausen

    Getting to hear about all of the details behind this scandal was very interesting to me. I have heard and seen many different explanations of what happened, but none like this. It was shocking to see how the ‘smartest guys in the room’ acted behind the big corporate front. Overall I think this is a very educational and influential movie. It should be a mandatory movie for the college of business students.

  43. Andrew Hutton

    It was good to finally hear the details of what happened at Enron, I have heard about the Enron scandal hundreds of times but never really knew exactly what happened. I was amazed at the things that these guys could think of. I have a hard time believing that they were allowed to use Mark-to-Market accounting, which allowed them to take any risk they want and show profit based on future projections.

  44. joshua classen

    ENRON was a very informative movie, that i really enjoyed. I was aware of the scandal at Enron, but I never knew what exactly went on and how much money was lost and embezzled. I had a hard time believing that the SEC allowed them to use Mark-to-Market accounting, which allowed them to take any risk they want and show profit based on future projections. The projections could be as big as they wanted. The thing about the whole scandal that made me the maddest was that while all the upper management was making tons of money, the people on the lines were losing all of theirs. The most suprising was that lower level employess accounts were frozen during the investigation so they could sell, all this while upper management was selling and making millions. Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling should rot in jail for all the harm they did.

  45. After watching this movie it made me realize exactly why there is a number of people that simply hate big businesses. I know a lot of businesses do a lot of unethical practices. Some I know do underground employment, illegal accounting strategies, or simply taking advantage of its consumer. Some big business had to be exposed and in this case it was Enron. Hopefully this made other businesses take notice and change their way of handling their company.

  46. Robert Brown

    I agree that this whole ordeal was ridiculous and definitely feel for those who lost their pensions, but if you really think about it can Enron be the only ones conducting activities in this way? its almost impossible. There are probably dozens (if not more) of companies that are cheating the system, skimming profits, falsifying accounting documents, the list goes on and on. The question then becomes how do we fix the problem/system?

  47. I agree with what so many have already said. It is very evident that these were some of the smartest guys in the room. It certainly makes you wonder how much of this actually happens. It was obvious that greed drove the actions of the Enron executives. This does not go hand in hand with truly honest and ethical behavior. It’s hard to think that any good came out of this situation, but the new accounting standards that were the result of the Enron collapse really improved what the public sees as far as the financial position of a company.

  48. Great movie, really glad it was a requirement. Throughout college we have discussed Enron, but never in great detail. This movie was really informative. I understood the accounting fraud, but i never new about Andy Fastow’s side organizations, i just cant believe the banks would go along with those ridiculous ideas. I cant imagine how they lasted as long as they did, i would have hated to try to juggle that mess. Overall the idea that people can have such low moral standards is hard to believe, those traders comments almost made me sick. Thank god for karma though, just ask ole Kenny boy.

  49. Farrukh Kamolov

    This documentary was very interesting to watch, because it was full of evidence and facts that showed the rise and dramatic fall of one of America’s biggest corporations. After watching this movie I can tell without any doubt that Jeff Sklling and Ken Lay are criminals, who wiped out the life of countless people. It was all about money, not service. They would do anything to increase stock price, no matter how many people got hurt in the process. They controlled California’s power for entire year, creating shortages, increasing the energy prices.
    I can’t believe how they cooked their books, when it reality they were losing billions of dollars in its core operations for years. It success was artificial, but everybody was admired.

  50. Lauren Harre

    I did not know much about the Enron scandal until watching this movie, so most of the information was new to me, and very astonshing. It is one thing to see a corrupt executive do these things, but when most of them in a corporation along with their accounting firm are involved it is another. Another thing I could not believe was that they were able to use a mark to mark accounting strategy that was basically a made up way of looking good without any real accountability to anyone. Then the blackouts in California, this company just can not do anything in an ethical manner, that was so cruel and disgusting. I am very amazed by all the wrong doing and getting away with it. Absolutely ridiculous.

  51. The movie was very enthralling-not only was it a documentary about one of the biggest corporate scandals in history, but it also portrayed an extensive level of crime that affected customers, employees, and shareholders. What shocked me the most was the phony energy crisis Enron put in place for the state of California, resulting in ridiculous energy prices. As the CEO’s continued to falsify and produce phony documents, outsiders and analysts became more circumspect; again, leading to more and more cover-up. Finally, when Skilling decided to suddenly resign, it was apparent he would soon be caught for what he thought he escaped scot-free.

  52. The realization of what life is really about is exploited in this movie. Everything is not all it cracks up to be. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Why? Because nothing in life worth having, financially or anything to do with being successful, comes easy.

  53. The Enron movie did a great job of showing the events leading up to the fall of Enron corp. The movie did a great job of showing all the people who were to blame for what happened to Enron. Many people felt that Enron was so powerful and that nothing could stand in its way. However, many events unfolded that cause the collapse of the huge energy company. One main reason for the fall of Enron was the accounting method they were implanting. They cheated once, then cheated a little more, until finally they didn’t know right from wrong. Ken Ley and Jeff Skilling had a great deal to do with the fall of Enron. Their greed got the best of them. They not only hurt themselves but the brought down thousands of innocent people with them. The fall of Enron did have a positive aspect however. This led to the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

  54. Scott Stronck

    Enron is a story of ethics. I don’t know how this subject was presented in the past, but I know now that it is always brought up and we are told of its importance. Aparently, Ken Lay and others did not get this same information. They were only in in to benefit themselves and a few others around them. It was definitely crazy to see how many people invested in this company without knowing much about it. It is almost as if they did it just because it appeared to be profitable. I am reminded of my Finance course in which we were told that it is also very useful to research a company before investing. Even with this it is possible that someone might not have seen the illegalities, but hopefully some red flags would have been raised.

  55. Trevor Luchsinger

    This movie was very interesting, it shows how a company can be or look to be on top and just like that be nothing at all. Thats how business these days works. You have to look at everything through and through before you do it to make sure it is right, because if it ant it can come and bite you.

  56. Eraj Tabaraliev

    The movie was interesting in the beginning, but later it got a little boring. There was a lot of corruption going on there, but I think not everybody who was involved was published. It really “opened my eyes” on real world financial world. I conclude that in the financial world there is no brand and brand name. Enron was trusted by thousands and nobody questioned it, which is the main reason Enron lasted so long. At the end everybody was shocked to see the degree of corruption that was going in Enron. Overall I enjoyed watching it.

  57. Mitchell Ostrow

    The movie Enron did a good job of illustrating the corporation’s downfall. It showed the many of the illegal and unethical acts that Enron participated in. While being interviewed Jeff Skilling denies that he had knowledge of much of the corporation’s wrongdoings. He clearly knew most of what was happening and refuses to acknowledge his faults.

    I was very surprised by the unethical nature of the corporation, especially what they did with electricity in California. The Enron traders created artificial demand for electricity and drove up the prices. In addition, when there were fires that threatened some energy plants, one trader said, “Burn, baby burn.” It is hard to believe that there are people out there in society that have disregard for everyone else so that they can record the highest possible profits.

  58. The Enron story is one that is every business student hears throughout their classes. Watching this film did enlighten me on how it all did occur. It was a scheme that began long ago, 1985, and continued on for years. It kind of shocks me to know that no one had every really questioned their numbers. The Fortune columnist tried but did not persist.

    Ken Lay had it all going for him. Arthur Anderson and their lawyers group had kept their numbers flowing. Stock price rose throughout the years and Jeff Skillings seeming like a genius. Their mark-to-markets accounting scheme had it all working for them. Lui pan and Andrew Fastow worked the system to take hold of their profits in an enormous scale.

    After watching the truth behind this scandal two things really stand out to me. The unethical nature of the rogue executive and the way people can overlook inaccuracies for a few dollars under the table. Lay, Fastow, and Skillings took their skimming off the top to a new level. They lied and kept their profits on the books high even though they did not exist. Companies including Arthur Anderson can falsify their documents as well as investment banks like Smith Barney and JP Morgan can invest in funds like LJM even though they seemed ridiculous.

    Enron began as a powerhouse and just collapsed on itself. With the new regulations the government has instilled, the business world seems a little safer. People feel better about investing. Then you get people like Madoff and your whole perception changes. Is it more secure to keep your money in a safe at home?

  59. Enron, the industry leading company in energy which had claimed revenues $101 in 2000 was suddenly bankrupt one year later without any signs. Nobody would like to believe it when it was actually happened. The movie Enron: the smartest guys in the room tell us the inside story about why Enron could collapse in this short time. The movie shows the Ken Lay the chair of Enron, Jeff skilling the former CEO, and the other executives hided the true financial position of Enron when they all knew the company was going bad. The result was that many of Enron’s debts and the losses that it suffered were not reported in its financial statements. It made the employees and shareholders almost lost everything when Enron bankrupted. The top management takes main responsibility for Enron’s bankruptcy without any questions. However, I think the auditor of Enron didn’t fulfill their independent auditing responsibility was another reason cause Enron can cheating to public for that long time. Arthur Andersen the auditor of Enron made Enron’s financial statement looks good when Enron were moving into debt. Arthur Andersen would like to do this for Enron, because Arthur Andersen relied on Enron for their income. As Enron bankrupted, the Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice in 2002 for destroying documents related to the Enron audit and was forced to stop auditing public companies. I think all the business students should watch it. It taught the business students what should to do or not to do when they involve in the real world.

  60. Miriam Zafrani

    I enjoyed watching Enron because despite the fact that Enron is the biggest financial scandal to of ever happen I did not know exactly how much scam and fraud went into it over such a long period of time. Enron is a perfect example of how good companies go bad. The board of directors single handedly destroyed a multi-billion dollar corporation hurting the investors, shareholders, employees and even the state of California. The film made a perfect connection of the fall of Enron to the Milgram experiment. It shows that if people are able to displace responsibility onto someone else they will do anything knowing it’s not their responsibility. This is exactly what the CEO, COO and CFO did at Enron. Even after they were convicted of these crimes they still defended themselves by saying they did not know anything about it and it was not their responsibility. I think this is outrageous and if you are a CEO of a company everything is your responsibility and this should be known to future board of directors. I don’t think the only thing that made Enron seem like the biggest corporation in America was “cooking the books.” I think it was an accumulation of the series of events that took place once Jeff Skillings walked through Enron doors. Skillings was great at creating expectations and that’s exactly what the stock market thrives on, investor expectations. As long as he was meeting these expectations and exceeding them the stock price was soaring. The trick was that he never had to prove that what he was doing was profitable. This to me is scary to think that in the stock market today investor expectations are still everything. I wonder where was the SEC when everything Skillings was promising didn’t go through; such as the broadband plan. I think there is something good to be taken away from the Enron scandal and that is asking why. It is ironic that Enrons motto was “ask why” when no one ever did. The traders, analysts and every bank that invested in Enron did not ask why because they were making money. Once everyone was paid people did not want to ask questions. This proves to me that this could happen in any company and that Enron was not an exception, it just happened to be made public. Since Enron, there have been many fraud scandals, the biggest and most recent one being the Madoff scandal. It doesn’t seem like there is any solution to prevent these things from happening again however I do believe if corporations were forced to take responsibility for not only their own actions but the actions of everyone that work for the corporation there will be different outcomes.

  61. Joshua Frost

    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is essentially a story about greed. In the beginning of the movie court proceedings are initiated with the goal of finding out who was responsible for the failure of the company. As I watched the movie, I too tried to discern the guilty parties and found more than I expected. Arthur Andersen and stock analysts acted negligently, Fastow concealed debt in allied companies, major banks gave loans disguised as investments, and Skilling and Lay lied to employees, investors and the public. The problems at Enron seemed to snowball from questionable mark to market accounting practices into an outright pyramid scheme. The Enron situation is eerily similar to what has occurred on Wall street recently in my opinion. It seems that in good economic times key people become complacent and greedy and fail to crunch the numbers. Financial companies invest in credit default swaps, while Moody’s gives out AAA ratings and the financial press praises these innovative companies causing Joe Smith to invest heavily in the stock market. Then when everything crashes down people say how could we not have seen it coming. The same thing is the case with Enron; there had to be hundreds of people asleep at the switch for this to occur. And what are perhaps the most appalling of all the wrongdoings were the shredding of financial documents and the traders manipulation of market prices to make excessive profits at the expense of innocent people. Perhaps Ken Lay just should have taken management 411 and learnt that you actually need to turn a profit to be successful over the long term.

  62. Being honest and ethical are merely theoretical frameworks taught by professors in universities. When you enter the real world companies such as Enron are more the rule than the exception. Most people are driven by money, fame, and success. Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are perfect examples of people who were willing to lie, cheat and steal their way to the top. Their attitude of “its not cheating unless you get caught” eventually lead to their demise. Even when they were caught red-handed they still could not admit that they were wrong to congress. The experts in the movie were questioning whether or not something like this could ever happen again. Just five years later you have the collapse of the investment banking industry. Executives from Bear Stearns had also sold shares of their stock 6 months to a year prior to collapsing. At least Enron was smart enough to try to bet their stock price up instead of exercising put options and implementing short-selling techniques that would destroy the whole economy like the investment banks. What Enron teaches us is that everybody involved is a collaborator. Enron cannot be characterized as an isolated incident were a few rogue executives went out of control. Enron had strategically “paid” off everybody from top management to their auditors, Arthur Andersen. Even the “useful idiots” of Citi Bank, J.P. Morgan and other banks had knowingly participated in this fraud. The overall message that I took from this movie is that for every Enron there’s probably another 100 or so companies who have not got caught; or they are not as greedy. As a student it is easy to say that you will be ethical and moral, but when you are on the job and being pressured by top management to produce the “right” numbers no one can say how they will react.

  63. Candice Schortemeyer

    Enron: The Smartest Guys in The Room, is a documentary film explaining the collapse of Enron, a leading American energy company which in the late 90’s grew tremendously until it’s bankruptcy in 2001. After watching the film, it seems that the collapse, caused by a huge financial scandal can ultimately be blamed by the greed of many individuals. These individuals included the CEOs of the company, Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, the CFA of the company, Andy Fastow, Enron traders, analysts, the auditors belonging to Arthur Andersen, others high in the company such as Lou Pi, and even well known financial institutions. There were tons of people to be blamed and plenty of collaborations and agreements, which seems to be why the scandal was able to go on for as long as it did. While the CEOs were lying to the shareholders and the American public, inside there were people creating special purpose entities to hide debt, wrongful use of mark to market accounting, agreements with financial institutions that covered up loans, and people being paid off to look the other way. These activities helped in deceiving the shareholders and the public, making it look like Enron was actually making money when in fact it was doing just the opposite. What seems the most disturbing is the fact that while all this was going on, the people involved were making tons of money and receiving bonuses. It really is amazing how greedy people can get, even at the great expense of others. Shareholders believing that the company was profiting were investing more and more money into the company and before they knew it, Enron was bankrupt causing them to lose it all. But of course, before this could happen, all of the CEOs and executives at the company sold their investment, knowing the company was going down and made millions. This just goes to show how greedy individuals and even a corporation can get. It also shows how powerful a corporation can get enabling it to payoff as many people to be quiet as it did, which to me is scary.

  64. Wei-Yoan Cheng

    I can recall the Enron scandal being mentioned in nearly even business class I have ever taken. However, I never knew the complete story of what actually happened within Enron that ended in its demise. Being a business student, I found this movie to be really informative and it did a good job exposing Enron’s fraudulent and unethical activities. It shows how easy it was for several smart top executives to lie and manipulate its shareholders, its employees, and big banks while they made off with millions and millions of dollars. It’s sad to see how the greediness of the top executives at Enron like Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling quickly led to their downfall and made them “lose their souls.” What happened at Enron should be a lesson learned for all business people.

  65. “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” directed by Alex Gibney explains the rise and fall of Enron based on the book written by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkin. Before watching this film, I had no idea about all little dirty details of Enron’s behavior besides the fact that they fooled shareholders by playing around with their numbers. This film clearly shows that it is far beyond the numbers.
    The most shocking fact that I learned from this movie is how Enron played around with California’s power supply. Especially the recorded conversation between two traders, “Burn Baby Burn” gave me goosebumps. It was even scary to see how evil and greedy people can get. I also got shocked to how the analysists could suggest Enron as STRONG BUY when there were more than enough suspiscious factors. Moreover, the industry articles portrayed Jeff Skilling as a God when its stock price fell like a brick.
    I enjoyed watching this movie because it wasn’t biased and was very easy to understand. I’m pretty sure what I watched is only the tip of the iceberg, but even the tip was scary enough for me. It was surprising to see how the fall of one corporation changed tons of people’s lives.

  66. everyone knows what’s the ending to the Enron,but not everyone knows how it happened.For those of you who love documentaries, especially ones of historical significance, this movie will be a treat.The film invites us to zero in, for instance, on the moment that Enron seems to take the leap from routine go-go bravado to a fearless new dimension of financial insanity: It’s when Jeffrey Skilling, the company’s CEO, pushes ”mark-to-market” accounting — thus booking potential future profits as if they’d already been realized. In a single stroke, Skilling, who resembles an angry Peter Jennings with a touch of a Charles Grodin weasel, appears to make it possible for Enron to declare its profit to be whatever the company wants it to be. The income statement therefore becomes a fiction, one that exists to keep the stock price high. The success of the stock acts as the proof of the company’s glory, which then fuels the stock — a cycle of illusion destined to unravel.

  67. Alexandra Roseman

    The ENRON disaster is a great example of how unethical corporations can be. Before watching this film I was under the impression that ENRON had simply made a series of bad organizational decisions that led to the companies downfall. The movie however, made the top ENRON executives, Kenneth Skilling and Jeffrey Lay, completely responsible for the company’s demise. Through documented video and accounting records it has been proven that ENRON had been reporting false statements about itself for most of the companies life. Skilling and Lay went to great lengths to cover up the actual financial records of ENRON with records that were favorable to investors. The money that they claimed the company was making did not actually exist. To make matters worse the accounting “professionals” at Arthur Anderson, who were supposed to work as external auditors to the organization, went along with the scandal and concealed information for ENRON. It was obvious throughout the movie that ENRON corp. used bribes to keep its auditors and its employees calm and quiet.
    The corrupt practices of the organization had a major impact on many individuals and the U.S. financial market. The collapse of ENRON impacted many employees who lost their jobs and found themselves without their pensions and retirement funds (which were heavily invested in ENRON stock). If a corporation can get away with this kind of behavior it is hard to have faith in the market it existed in. In response, the governmental has instituted ethics codes, like Sarbanes-Oxley, to combat scandals similar to ENRON from occurring in the future. I think these ethics codes are needed not only to ensure the stability of the U.S. market, but also to instill the general publics trust in U.S. companies.

  68. This scandal really bought light the ongoing and popular practice of unethical business executives and top management. There wasn’t really a lot of regulation of the corporations and they were all on a free ride to do whatever they wanted. This scandal caused the government to discontinue deregulations and set up a policing organization to prevent this form happening again. The Sarbanes-Oxley act was born to control the executives from enacting in fraud. To say the least, it was a good thing Enron did this, otherwise it’ll take the government forever to realize the greed and deceit of corporate executives.

  69. John Dreska

    Enron: The smartest Guys in the Room is a film that examines the rise and fall of Enron, a leading energy company in the 1990’s as well as the 7th largest national corporation which was valued at 70 billion at one point. While watching the documentary it becomes clear that the demise of Enron was caused by many individuals and the greed they developed as they sought out more and more success throughout this financial scandal. This company in sixteen years grew from a corporation which held ten billion in assets to a corporation sixty-five billion in assets and they did so through illegal tactics. And despite what they said in trial Enron’s founder Ken Lay, president Lewis Borget, and Jeff Skilling’s who introduced the CRD process to Enron all knew in distinct detail what was going on. Ken Lay’s greed is seen in the late 1980’s when Lewis Borget and another trader started betting with the corporations money as Borget later puts three million in corporate dollars into his account. When advisors told Lay the two should be fired including his biggest money earner Borget he ignored the advice because all he cared about was earning more and more money.
    Another issue i found very interesting was financial issues aside, the coorilation between the Enron Corporation and the Bush family made this a political issue as well. Enron was George W Bush’s biggest campaign contributor and thus George Bush helped Enron on multiple occasions before he was elected as president of the United States however.
    Lastly I thought it was interesting that the government would sign off on Jeff skillings market to market theory which allowed Enron to inflate their numbers despite the actual money they had or brought in that specific year. Personally, I think if this was not signed off on it would have had a huge impact on the progression of the Enron scandal maybe saving those 20,000 employees who lost their jobs when Enron filed for bankruptcy or the two billion dollars that were lost in pensions and retirement funds.

  70. Colin Campbell

    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

    This documentary provided a chilling portrayal of what can go wrong inside an organization when the desire for money becomes the only motivation for success and ethics are seen only as a liability. This documentary thoroughly articulated the details of the Enron scandal, and was very helpful in understanding where Enron truly went off course.
    One of the first ways that the company went off course was in the unchecked bravado of the upper level management, played out in an uncontrollable obsession with risk. It was mentioned that many of these upper level management personalities would all take trips together that eventually became an inflated demonstration of pride.
    Another way that Enron went off course was through the approval of mark to market accounting, which allowed Enron to post profits in its financial reports that were only predicted to come in the future, and were not yet realized. This allow the festering pride within the company full reign of the firm’s resources without the same accountability that everyone else was forced to abide by.
    However, also points out some of the basic gullibility of naive stock market investors and analysts. The general public has an insatiable desire to see that things are continually improving and that standards of living can improve across the board, and as long as people are seeing the results they want, they see no need to check and recheck whether or not their optimism can truly be legitimate. In the rush of the market people fail to critically think about the information in front of them and begin to accept bizarre statements that do not make sense.
    Overall, this documentary is very important for business students because it brings attention to the fact that any company, regardless of short-term success, if it is built on lies and deception, is not sustainable. Eventually the truth of the situation will become fully known, and eventually a house made of cards is guaranteed to fail.

  71. Joseph Micale

    After watching the movie “Enron- The Smartest Guys in the Room” I realized just how much greed the Enron executives actually had. For example, Andy Fastow stole 45 million dollars from Enron through his hedged groups such as LJM. I don’t understand what he could possible need 45 million dollars for and that is in addition to actual salary and his executive bonuses. I don’t understand how the corporate culture became so cut-throat and greed oriented. To me the best part is that when the company was really started to have trouble meeting numbers (even the fictional ones) the executives still were flying around on their private jets, using expense accounts and basically making the company even worse than it was.
    After learning about the effects of the collapse on the employees, investors, executives, traders, as well as the population of California it becomes quite confusing as to who should take responsibility for the company’s downfall. I definitely believe that there is some realistic responsibility in this case because obviously the executives, traders, and many of the other employees committed illegal and/or unethical actions that caused a lot of their own problems, but at the same time there seems as if there is some classical responsibility because individual investors and shareholders should have realized that if it seemed to go to be true then it probably was. In addition, the auditors should have paid closer attention to Enron and its scandals.

  72. Caryn Filonuk

    The documentary, “Enron: the smartest guy in the room”, directed and written by Alex Gibney and also written by Alex Elkind, shows the extent of the Enron cases, the damage that it did to the nation, the thought processes of the CEOs and other officials, along with how Enron was able to deceive the nation and its investors. One commentator said that Enron’s major flaws and most fatal flaws included greed, arrogance, intolerance, and most importantly pride. After seeing this documentary it is evident that the most fatal flaw of those listed is pride. The pride of Jeff Skilling, most importantly, and his risk taking approach helped to put him in the place to need to have his book doctored to appear like Enron was making more of a profit than it actually had been making. Ken Lay had actually been at Enron before Jeff Skilling and admired his approaches to handling energy, handling employees and business in general. Lay, too, knowing that traders were schemimg to gamble and try to get Enron more money, did not fire them or execute any business ethics and rather encouraged it. Another interesting fact about Enron drawn out in the film was about the way that Skilling suggested reviewing employees’ behavior. After the behavior was reviewed, if an employee fell into the lower 15% of all employees after being reviewed, that employee would in turn be fired for sub-par performance. The review process is entirely subjective and cannot determine conclusively the performance of an employee. This was probably a way of cutting costs after Enron had discovered that they were losing money and would eventually end up causing the state of California to go into complete turmoil.

  73. James Wilhelm

    I thought this was a very informative film. Clearly it’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Enron. It was presented in a manner that I found to be relatively unbiased and it was understandable by the “layman” but yet interesting to someone like myself, who, at least I’d like to think, is a little better informed about financial matters than the average individual. There were a number of things that struck me about this film that I’ll comment on.

    I was unaware of the close ties between the Bush family and Kenneth Lay. I’ve never been a fan of the Bush II administration for other reasons, but I’m even less of a fan now. Additionally, Gubernator Schwarzenegger, to whom I have had little exposure, living as I do in NY, strikes me as less of the “good guy” that he has seemed during his reign as California’s governor, given his possible relationship with Enron and Ken Lay and the events surrounding his election. Politics and business may be the true American dream team. I find myself being a little self-critical at possibly having fallen into the trap of liking a politician solely because he or she wasn’t originally a politician. I think many people would like to think that actors and non-politician types have more potential as egalitarian, “man of the people” politicians because they haven’t been “corrupted by the system.” This film reinforces the idea that anyone with aspirations toward entering the political arena should be closely scrutinized.

    Two scenes that I found really poignant were as follows. The first was the former Enron executive describing the celebration they had over getting the mark-to-market treatment. It strikes me that this should be a warning sign to anyone: if you’re celebrating an accounting treatment, something may be wrong…if for no other reason than as a signal that you need some new hobbies. The second scene that made me pause was the interview with the former Enron trader who basically said that he didn’t ask questions because he didn’t want to know the answers. That struck me as mind boggling. It’s hard for me to have sympathy for those people who lost their jobs at Enron after being suspicious of wrongdoing occurring and still chose to ignore it.

    One kind of disturbing point that the film made was that the analysts forecasts that were so important to the increases in the stock price of Enron were in part fueled by the fact that the analysts were unwilling to upset their contacts within the company by asking hard questions or issuing non-“Buy” recommendations. One would like to think that things have improved, but my understanding is that this sort of thing still goes on all the time. The financial analysts basically end up issuing recommendations about stocks that are one level of confidence higher than they really should be (e.g. a “buy” instead of a “hold”) just so that they don’t offend their contacts within the company they are analyzing that provide them with the inside information they need to issue opinions. Perhaps its time (or past time…) for the financial community to consider some stricter regulation of the relationships between companies and financial analysts.

    One last point is that the soundtrack for this film was pretty solid. Props for using the deep cut of Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams” off “Smells Like Children.” Good times.

  74. Kevin Humes

    This Movie Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room takes a look in the unethical practices that went on at Enron. This Movie goes in the scandal behind Enron and reveals the greed and corporate corruption that make possible for the company’s rise to power and also its fall. When Enron went bankrupt in 2001, the principals walked away millionaires, leaving many employees and investors were left with nothing, not even their 401k retirement savings. The Top executives were aggressive in their pursuit of personal gain and wealth, they did not have any of the 4 ethical approaches.

    Within Enron there wasn’t a established ethical climate among mangers, it was all about the shareholder model. In my opinion the mangers and executives at Enron were more concern about pleasing themselves and maximizing profits. The film shows how it was not Enron alone but a network of bankers, traders, and accountants who turned a blind eye to the company’s clearly suspicious numbers. I believe that if there was more of a moral standards and regulation behind corporations such as Enron, Extremely unethical practices that cost many people hardships wouldn’t of happed.

  75. Anton Brovchenko

    “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” is a perfect representation of how ethics relate to business. Enron was once a company that was viewed as highly responsible and reliable. It seemed to be making huge amounts of money and its employees were happy. Its executives were idolized in magazines and newspapers. Nobody could have seen what was really brewing inside Enron’s offices and how the actions of its top executives – Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Ken Rice, J. Clifford Baxter, Lou Pai, and energy traders could have brought financial ruin to not only the company but also many of its employees.

    Enron’s executives, other responsible employees, and Arthur Anderson all knew what they were doing. They knew how they were fooling the market at other peoples’ expenses and they especially knew the kind of consequences their actions could have. Greed pushed them to continue further into their scheme and eventually the house collapsed onto itself. When executives cashed in their stocks and ran off with millions of dollars while employees lost their job was a final showcase of the corporate culture at Enron.

    The story of Enron is especially relevant today, when banks are failing almost weekly and government money is being used to give out Christmas bonuses. Traders and managers at firms that no longer exist knew that the bubble was going to burst eventually. They knew that someone making 30k a year cannot feasible afford a $400,000 home. Yet they cashed in at other peoples’ expense and ultimately led to the crisis we face today. Now the government wises up and puts regulations in place about what a firm can and cannot do and limits the risk of the actions a company can take. Unfortunately it’s too late. Examples of unethical behavior, like Enron, serve as historical proof that greed will ultimately lead to demise and the government should have stepped in earlier to look around and make sure everything was clean.

  76. Sean Stetttin

    After watching “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” my eyes have been opened to the scandalous and corrupt ways of the Enron Corporation. The way they tricked the public and their investors was illegal and deceiving. But, as the pyramid scheme goes, if you say you are making enough money, there’s no need to prove it because all investors want in. When the scam was finally exposed, everyone realized that the corporation was worthless.
    This movie brought to light that a business that is built on lies and deception is simply destined to fail. The greed of the executives to line their pockets with millions of dollars outweighed everything else. Ethics and morals did not exist and that was clear when the company surprised the entire world and filed for bankruptcy in late 2001.

  77. Shawuki G. Hilton

    The film, “Enron, The Smartest Guys In The Room” is an excellent portrayal of ethics in the business world. It seems that fortune 500 companies can’t help but to be tied to scandals such as these. The most intriguing aspect of the film had to be the fact that indviduals such as Jeffery Skilling, Kenneth Lay, Ken Rice, and Lou Pai continued to operate Enron in an illegal manner and were able to build upon this image in order to make the organization look like a powerhouse. What makes matters worse is that funds and accounts were created that did not even exist in an attempt to make it look like the organization had legitimate operations. The organization could not even produce a balance sheet that stated its financial records. Enron could be compared to a house made of hay built on a puddle of gasoline. Why use this comparison, because the entire operation was weak from the beginning and when it was it exposed it all went up in flames.

    Throughout the film, Jeffery Skilling had to be probably be the best actor of all. The reason for this is that he knew of all these illegal practices and when confronted by Congress, he simply stated that he had no idea of any of these actions. There were signs of a crumbling organization through conversations with Skilling when he called an investor an “asshole” based on the fact that they exposed Enron’s inability to produce a balance sheet. Skilling was a CEO who was riding a wave of illegal success and unfortunately brought many innocent individuals down with him. The organization was nothing but smoke and mirrors that made a fortune at the expense of others. The overall message from the film is that ethics is probably the biggest factor that can guide a business, you can have a graduate from any ivy-league as a leader, but it is how they choose to use their education that is key. Hopefully, the poor economy can be a reason as to why organizations choose to act ethically.

  78. Zach Schwartz

    The documentary of Enron is a very detailed and thorough analysis of what occurred with events leading up to the largest bankruptcy in American history. The documentary takes a hard look at the inside workings of the company and the key players who contributed to its downfall. As is clearly visible, a lack of a moral compass along with excessive greed is a deadly combination for corporate America and leads to many lives being ruined and much money being lost. There are certain general themes which I feel have led to ethical dilemmas in the case of Enron and wrong choices being made for the corporation.
    The culture of Enron was to strive to increase the bottom line and meet earnings projected, no matter what. There were no internal controls in place to prevent illegal or morally objectionable activities from being used to accomplish the money making objectives of the company. For instance, the use of routine job cuts according to ranking of 1 to 5 encouraged a cut-throat environment, especially for the energy traders who decided to use “outside the box” thinking to increase their rankings and performance. These increased aggressiveness and decreased moral reasoning. The documentary mentions the electric shock experiment, which concluded that if people are told by an “authority” that something is allowable, that overrides their own judgment. That is exactly what happened in this case by Andy Fastow, Kenneth Lay, and Jeff Skilling, all people who were the authority in this case telling their colleagues that their behavior was justified.
    Out of all the despicable activities Enron did engage in during its history, I think the most egregious by far was the rolling blackouts in California. This is a case where people were willing to cause mass chaos, including deaths, in order to increase their bottom line. The rolling blackouts were meant to artificially increase the price of energy, a commodity which every person in this nation relies upon. After seeing this documentary I am even more of a supporter of the government being in control of essential services to its citizens, including water, electricity, and other daily essentials. It is too risky to rely on profit hungry private companies to run services which are meant to be for the good of the people collectively. There is always a loophole to be found, and quite frankly a way for private companies to abuse their customers. The idea of deregulating the electricity in California turned out to be quite costly in the end, and hopefully this was a lesson learned regarding the concept of de-regulation. Money seems to take precedence over morality if it is perceived that someone can get away with it.

  79. Jonathan Ravin

    I found the documentary “The Smartest Guys in the Room” to be very interesting because it examined the Enron scandal not just from a numbers standpoint but from a human perspective and how the people responsible for this tragedy came to do it. We have all heard endlessly about the controversy in our classes and on the news but I had never seen an in depth analysis like this on those in charge of the company and their background and motivations that led them to take Enron down the path they did. It showed how Lay, Skilling, and Fastow seemed to have no ethical concerns for how their fraudulent actions were affecting other people including their employees and investors. As long as they felt they could get away with what they were doing so easily they continued lying and compromising morality for increased personal gain. The Enron scandal had such an impact on the country and culture not just because of its size, but because to many it came out of nowhere and showed the major flaws in the current system that companies could take advantage of and wrongly prosper from. It brought to light the corruption that had permeated many American business and led to increased pressure and investigation of other companies that were later found to be working similar crimes to Enron. I found it pretty amazing how they were able to get away with what they were doing for so long with very little suspicion. While clearly an unfortunate event, it has led to increased regulation and a code of ethics that will hopefully prevent another Enron from happening again. The documentary showed how greed and arrogance are an unfortunate circumstance of the system and must be monitored to prevent things like this from occurring.

  80. I believe that every business student should see this movie. It is easy for professors to simply talk about ethics in class, or to emphasize the necessity of whistle blowing and implementing a system that discourages unethical behavior. However, seeing it portrayed in a movie, knowing that the events can and did take place in real life, provides students with a shocking sense of reality.
    Were the people behind the Enron scandal evil masterminds filled with cruel intentions or simply the average person, provided the opportunity to steal, and enabled by a faulty system? Is the average person greedy and selfish enough to steal millions of dollars? Under certain circumstances, and based on this film, I believe the answer is yes. Allow me to explain. Most of the “evil masterminds” involved did not think of the shareholders, nor the employees whose future plans of early retirement or paying off a mortgage depended solely upon Enron’s stock performance. Rather, they sought a very narrow minded approach in which they rationalized their actions as something insignificant in the grand scheme of things, that since they worked so hard they deserved the money, or they were daring enough to believe themselves too smart for the system. In addition, they were enabled by various players in the field. Executives, management, others in the company, auditors both internal and external from Arthur Anderson, possibly even some creditors, investors, and legislators must have realized to some extent that what was going on was not right. But somehow some combination of greed, optimism, and invincibility blinded them all to the need to come clean and reveal the lies upon which Enron had been built.
    The most important lesson I took from this movie was how crucial it is to build a company based off a good system of checks and balances and independence and ethical behavior and rewards for whistle blowers.

  81. “The Smartest Guys in the Room” is an excellent movie about unethical actions in the business world. The movie shows what happens when ethics is not emphasized in a company and the entire focus is on the bottom line, leading to an anything goes atmosphere. The movie shows how Enron kept its stock price increasing by using accounting methods that was improper. It is shocking to see how many schemes the company led by its executives pulled off to keep up a false image of the company. It is shocking to see how employees were repeatedly assured how the company is performing well even though the executives know it was not true.
    It brings up many interesting points about financial reporting. Yes, Sarbanes Oxley was put into effect to try to counter these activities, but is it enough to think it will work in the long run? I think the actions after Enron that were taken have been successful, but considering the recent economic turmoil, more regulation was needed. The government needs to think what might happen the next 10, 20 years, rather than react to something after it happens.

  82. Enron is a perfect example of the corruption that is widespread in corporate America and beyond. When people are in a position of that much power, unlawful and unethical business practices are much easier to get away with and the evidence of employees that were hushed up is proof. The people who run these giant companies have built their careers on the laurels of success and wealth and when it is so very easy to get away with things it opens up a door for corrupt practices. However, Ken Lay and all the other employees who were arrested neglected their power and eventually the spillover lead to their apprehension. The scary thing is that Enron is not the only corporation to act illegally, it is just one of the few that was exposed. There are many business that operated unlawfully and go by undetected due to fear, complacency, indifference, and acceptance.

  83. Adam Stettner

    The Smartest Guys In The Room was a very well done and entertaining documentary. At first i thought the scheme was a legitimate idea that began to snowball out of proportion. As the movie continued the greed and pure disregard for ethics of the executives at Enron was obviously the motivation for their acts. I thought it was very interesting that to hide the unethical practices going on throughout the organization, top management controlled the personalities of its employees. Enron created a very cutthroat culture making it so it was hard for employees who were not greed focused unwelcome. Employees were pushed hard to make sales and close deals as many and as fast as possible with little regard for repercussions. This mantra brought into Enron a specific type of employee that does not make up what I believe to be a complete employee. It is important for employees at any level of the organization to not loose sight of the bigger goal and what their decisions are making the organization into. In the case of Enron where the top management was so corrupt their was no chance for this attitude in employees. I believe the trend in the business world is moving from just shareholder satisfaction to a focus on internal and external stakeholders. After learning from the failures of companies like Enron corporations have rethought motivational and cultural decisions.

  84. Michele Loo

    This movie is a revealing documentary about the downfall of the biggest corporate scandal in American history—Enron. We are exposed to all the unethical behavior that Enron’s employees participated in, from the top executives to the company’s traders. As an infant company in the mid 80’s, Enron had lots of potential in becoming the nation’s largest energy company. With the employment of Harvard Business alum Jeffrey Skilling as CEO, the company sought to reach even greater heights, with the new proposal to trade energy like stocks and bonds. However there were many warning signs of unethical behavior as the company deceptively prospered. Skilling emulated Darwin’s idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ at his company, firing many of his low performing employees, creating a highly competitive company environment. It’s no surprise that workers were pressured to engage in unethical behavior to avoid getting fired. Throughout the documentary, we are given snippets of phone conversations between traders at Enron. We see how greedy and immoral they were, withholding electricity and energy from innocent Californians for the benefit of themselves. The values of the company were consistent with the values of the top executives. When a company is riddled with unethical executives, it is no surprise that its employees share the same attitude.

  85. Andrew Lizotte

    I enjoyed this documentary because it provided insight into what happened to lead to this controversial and monumental event. Enron’s accounting system created a culture that was based upon growth but not profits. By allowing them to create their own hypothetical values for future business, it led to unethical decisions that would catch up with them in the end.
    Enron was a legitimate company that had experienced great success. They had created a culture that valued innovation and creativity, and found themselves experiencing tremendous growth. However, over time things began to unravel. As is experienced by many corporations listed on the stock market, the extreme pressure put on the company through Wall Street’s expectations, can often times lead companies to make short-sighted decisions in order to remain attractive to investors. While the accounting system was not instituted in order to act unethically, it created the possibility to, which Enron would need to take advantage of in order to conceal the fact that their business had actually been in decline.

  86. Katherine Han

    As an accounting major, this movie definitely held my interest. Unlike what I have learned as textbook example, this movie took me in-depth to the whole Enron debacle–from the corporation’s start to its eventual implosion. As the title of the movie indicates, the smartest and the most knowledgeable guys in the room resulted in collapse due to greed, lying and pursuit of more money. Watching the movie, I realized why every accounting class and other management core courses cover a lesson on ethics and provide the Enron case as an example. I wasn’t amused by the parts where the movie was trying to push the imagery of “unethic,” such as a head trader dressed up as a devil for Halloween, and top executives participating in extreme sports. Overall, it is an excellent movie for business students to have awareness on the importance of ethics.

  87. Alfred Chau

    The many classroom lessons on ethics and morality in business decisions are on perfect display in “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” about the consequences of the top management at Enron. Although once viewed by others as being a responsible company who was making huge amounts of money, while at the same time being praised for its work by media outlets. However, this was all a lie as the top executives and the Arthur Anderson accounting firm knew exactly what they were doing when they chose to “cook the books” and give up on their employees and shareholders by choosing their own greed instead.
    Although this was one of the biggest scandals at the time it was made public, one would think that the authorities would try harder to prevent it from happening again in the future. However, this is far from the case given the recent ponzi scheme scandal caused by Bernie Madoff. In addition to this, the unethical decisions by the investment banks and insurance companies to use federal bailout money to pay out bonuses to their upper level managers follows suit in this long line of unethical behavior. Rather than attempting to put the money into good use, they chose instead to “reward” their executives for what basically amounts to putting the economy in its current state.

  88. Tim Lixfield

    I thought this was a great movie. We’ve heard so much about Enron in our classes, but this movie makes its real. It shows the entire collapse of Enron and its effect. What was and became a great company, got a bit ahead of itself. Eventually maximizing profit in their own pockets became the primary intentions in the executives’ heads and thus, made poor decisions which ended up getting them in trouble. This movie depicts what can happen, and probably does happen in many other companies, money controls people’s decisions. The employees were practically forced to make unethical decision from the pressures forced upon them by management. This movie made me think a little bit on my own life and actions, and if I was in the same position what I would do, and I think I, as many others would, would be greedy and make the same, or similar actions. This is a great movie for everyone to see, including business students, and I think it opens everyone’s eyes a little bit to the business world.

  89. This movie was a definate eye opener for me. As a British student I did not hear alot about Enron, however in coming to America it has been mentioned in all my classes. It is shocking how the company used unethical methods of business to make money. I believe the worst was the California energy scam, and how traders found it funny. Unethical behaviour in business is not acceptable and has consequences, just as many in Enron workers discovered. I felt that the top management of Enron should be held responsible for “cooking the books” and stealing millions of dollars from their own company, then denying responsibility. The lower workers of Enron worked with dilligance and believed what their management told them, then lost it all while the top dogs gave themselves bonuses. I am very glad it was uncovered and people got the jail sentences they deserved.

  90. Andrea Cuvellier

    Enron is a shocking case of business ethics. The scale and magnitude in which the frauds took place are incomprehensible to me. The fact that so many employees in as many areas of the business were so willing to participate is shocking to me. Everything from recording earnings without being able to state where they were coming from, to failing to produce financial statements, to the scandal in California. Fastow’s partnerships and finance practices created the reporting difficulties, while Enron’s debt was directed into different companies and investments to create what appeared to be a financially comfortable company. Banks were willing to act like they had purchased varies items (ships) from Enron so that they could actually loan Enron money and it would look like Enron made a profit off of a sale. Enron traders were corrupt by manipulating the California energy market. The fraud at Enron involved many different areas of the business and unfortunately is what the people at the bottom that got hurt the most.

  91. Kattyuska Stamenovic

    The Documentary about Enron is the perfect example of what can happen to those following unethical behaviors. It is unbelievable how the greed of these top executives case the lost of money for to so many people. Also, it’s hard to believe that they lost their sense of morality when they did that to California. So many people there died because of car accidents due to the lack of electricity. Not only that, but this movie shows that employees should really question how the company they are working for really works and if they see some irregularity they should talk to someone that can help them find out what is going on. The fraud that Enron committed could have been prevented if the banks had been ethical and prevented Enron’s top executives from getting away with the fraud they were committing. This shows that greed sometimes can make a lot of people commit unethical behaviors.

  92. This movie really showed me how bad the people at Enron were. I knew that Enron involved an accounting scandal but I didn’t know that they also treated California like their own money tree. The way the traders at Enron called the power plants and told them to shut off the power so that they can control the price of power was really bad. When they called the plants they acted like they were gods and the people of California were worthless.
    And, the top executives of the company did nothing about it. They didn’t care how their employees brought in money, they just cared that they brought in a lot of it. I think it was Skilling who said to a guy that was under investigation for doing something unethical, “Come back and make us millions”. It really shows that the only thing he cared about was making money. He didn’t care how the money was actually made.

  93. Carrie Jalovick

    this movie although kind of boring really gave a better understanding of what went on at Enron. Enron did a lot of unethical things that came back to bite them. They raised the energy prices by causing blackouts in California, that would put profits in the books that did not yet have, they just moved around money to cover things up. The people at the top kept claimng that they did not know about it but how they could not. One reason that possibly the people that knew something was didnt speak up was for fear of losing thier job. every year after the appraisals the bottom people lost thier jobs. this just made things more competitive and fed the unethical behavior that was there. Greed and fear are to powerful emotions that can cause people to do crazy things and this company was filled with both.

  94. Jonathan Comack

    Wow this movie was a depressing as can be. I mean I do like the approach of the movie though as enron not being an aberration. It is the way you can actually as a business student can learn from the events of the time. It gives a great perspective of CSR can either be used as a way of business or used to boost perception which is how it was used in this case. It also shows the amount of risk that can be used by business people to get an extra buck and how that can affect a company’s long term growth. That was probably the least thing I liked about the strategy game that we played, I think that the scoring could have used measures that have downside risk for using too much risk in something of a scoring of financial stability in the coming years beyond a credit score that were way too volatile and easily misled. As you can see from this, Ethics is not my favorite topic but i think that you need a level playing field in this case (eg enron using mark to market accounting) and that we need to have more stringent regulation accross the board and more accountibility are the right steps to take beyond this not that something like this wont happen again though. I just hope their will be more safeguards for stakeholders brought by government action in the future.

  95. Donelle Bailey

    This documentary really helped me to understand what happened at Enron. To think that persons could be so unscrupulous and still be bold face enough to say that they did nothing wrong is just unbelievable. It’s also surprising to see how long they carried on with this fraud before anyone decided to confront them about it. Even worst, to know that so many organizational bodies like the banks and accounting firms were all apart of it. Not to mention how vicious these traders were when it came to making money for the company. I for one am very pleased that Skilling got convicted on all those charges. It’s just a pity that Ken Lay died before he could serve his sentence, because he really deserved to spend the rest of his life in jail for what he did, not only to the people of California but the shareholders as well.

  96. Donelle Bailey

    employees as well*

  97. The movie explains in detail how the CEO and FEO and executive managers, such as Lay, Skilling, Fastow committed financial frauds by creating false profits on accounting sheet. The pressure to show increased profit every single year led Lay to actively seek finance and accounting guy to come up with creative ideas to change the number in balance sheet and cash flow. One way of doing it was to create imaginary small companies which have partnership with Enron and then punch whatever number they want to use as profits from those specialty companies. It is interesting that so many investors just bought the too good to be true story of Enron even when they could not find out how exactly Enron was generating increasing profits year and year. The investors’ rating of the company led so many citizens to buy Enron stocks and retirement bonds, which shockingly become worthless after the collapse.
    The movie does not tell much about the degree the accounting firm cooperated with the financial frauds, but I learned in one of my accounting courses that sometimes a corporation prefers an accountant who knows the “clever” way to write down more profits than the actual number in the barely legal way. Therefore it is possible that Arthur Andersen became such a big firm from conducting numerous accounting procedures in grey zone. I also read article about how the smartest finance guys usually choose to work for big corporations or Wall Street, and SEC seriously lacks the skill to detect the frauds committed by those clever people because those smart ambitious youngsters are eager to come up with any idea to please the investors and stockholders. Sometimes, being an industrious decent person with good ethics does not get you a job. A guy, like Jeff Skilling, who is creative, brave enough to challenge the law if it raises the stock price, is very desirable for corporations. As opposed to how other students commented that if a person has good business ethics, he will mostly likely stay away from committing a fraud, I assume that every single person will be challenged to face an ethical decision in their career. If a boss orders you to do something which you are not quite sure whether it is ethical, you will mostly likely do it if you do not want to get fired. And that first step may not get you in trouble but soon people will have more tolerance of challenging the ethical standard and feel less and less guilty as time goes by. I believe that in capitalistic society, it is inevitable to make profit under a perfectly clean ethical standard. Especially, in the global business, even if what a company does in America looks good, that company can be acting unethically overseas. Every country has different standard of law and most of the time, developing countries had much lower standard than U.S. Therefore, in terms of business ethics there is not perfect measure to judge a person, and what is legal today may be illegal in a couple of years from now. The Enron scandal forced SEC to enforce SOX in order to prevent similar kind of financial frauds in the future, but as I mentioned previously that there will be always people out there who are trying to go beyond what SEC can govern.

  98. Tamara M Pitter

    This movie was hardly a shocker to me. I honeslty beleieve all American corporations have some type of illeagl dealings waiting to become scandals.

    This movie just demonstartes how far ‘big business’ will go to continue to make money, even if it means ruining the lives of hundreds.
    Did Enron have ethics? one may ask the real question is if Enron had values.
    Are you telling me not one person during the whole scandal didnt take a moment to think like damn we will screw the lives of many if we were ever caught??

    Hopefully business will learn? But I doubt it Look at the Housing bubble in 2008 ….exactly should I say more

  99. Edward Barrett

    What Enron did was disgusting. I think they got off easy for just going to jail, personally, even though some of them died.

    I think the movie did a great job exposing the fraud, greed, and blatent evil of the masterminds behind the Enron scandal. If you can’t tell, this movie exposes an issue that just strikes a nerve in me. It is sad to see that no one had the cojones to stand up and not go along with what “top men” were ordering them to do.

    Shame on the government and auditors also. With all the money and power they are trusted with, it is inexcusable to watch these things happen.

    The movie really gave great insight onto the cut throat tactics of the traders and managers.

  100. Allison Timpson

    The movie Enron is prime example for business students to learn about ethics and the impact in the business world. If anything it would be a scare tactic for students, I think sometimes we need to be scared away from something.

    It’s scary that so many businesses probably follow a similar model still and are more concerned with profits and the shareholders, rather than the stakeholders and the impact on the population at large. I believe that unethical practices happen every day in lots of corporations both big and small because society puts so much pressure on people to make decisions that the stress often just becomes too much and they don’t know what else to do, so they take the “easy” way out. It’s true being a student sometimes you’re tempted to just do what seems fine and deal with the consequences later. In this case, for Enron, the consequences caught up to them and were much more than they could have imagined.

    I think it was interesting because obviously everyone has heard of Enron and knows about it, but may not know a lot of the specifics and this movie real shed some light on it.

  101. Brad Heringer

    “Enron” was a very intriguing documentary that furthered my understanding of the scandal that engulfed headlines. This prime example of corporate greed was fascinating.

    The most disturbing part in this was the PR campaign put together by Lay and Skilling. Their faces were on the covers of numerous magazines, interviewed on many talk shows, and wore a guile impenetrable by anyone.

    A former trader on the Enron floor spoke of the cut-throat environment that was instilled by top management. Actions taken and business methods used by Enron Executives were to solely pad their own wallets. It’s a shame that these Execs were unable to be stopped sooner or did not have heavier oversight following the Vallahar scandal.

  102. Maria-Christina Herrera

    As an accounting major, the subject of the “Enron Scandal” has been preached to us over and over again. While we were told about the scandal and general information of what happened, we didn’t get as in depth of a look as this movie had explained. As depicted in the movie, executives were able to skew the financial statements in order to look much more profitable then they actually were. It also proved how, especially at the time, how reliant companies were on financial statements and how auditing is done differently currently. Before Enron collapsed, there were signs that something dishonest was occurring. The ability to show outstanding profits without proof should have been red flagged as a concern. This movie is a great example of how every act of wrongdoing will get caught eventually. While these men were brilliant, their intelligence resulted in their unethical behavior. As business students, we will ultimately be faced with obstacles in which we may have to make a decision; whether an ethical decision or an unethical decision. These decisions you make has a great impact not only on your life, but the lives of many others. But, through this movie, you can see how while intelligence can get you so far, in the end, there’s always someone there that will eventually catch you in the unlawful act.

  103. Freddy Aguero

    Enron is always used as an example in every business class I have. I have repeatedly analyzed their financial statements, law case studies, and stories, even from the companies involved. However, this movie covered a great amount of unknown detail from beginning to end of the fraud process. Seeing the media coverage during the scandal really made the situation a reality and helped me connect immediately.
    There are many lessons to be learned from this movie. Skilling and Lay were intelligent and visionaries within the business world. Unfortunately, they were not smart enough to see the risk involved in committing fraud. All the employees lost jobs, many lost power in California, shareholders were cheated, and many more negative impacted resulted from this situation. They not only took themselves out of the industry, but also took down Arthur Anderson. The only good thing to arise from the scandal was Sarbanes-Oxley.
    It was an interesting and insightful movie, which I would definitely show to any person as a prime example of what happens when you commit fraud.

  104. Nicholas Caputo

    Ethics has been brought up in my college classes since I was a Freshman and after watching the film on Enron I know why. This company was able to manipulate accounting principles to basically say that all its projects were going to be worth tens of billions of dollars one day even after certain projects failed. It appeared that Enron’s CEO believed that the vision of the future was where all the profits were and that those profits should be taken advantage of immediately.What he was doing was ethically wrong as he knew the company was going in the wrong direction but he didn’t want the news to be released in any way and when it finally was 20,000 people were out of work and billions in retirement funds were lost. The fact that he says he was looking out for the interest of the shareholders is just a bold faced lie as all these workers were shareholders and are now left with nothing.
    This is an excellent film and shows how it is sometimes necessary to have a brave person step up and stop unlawful procedures from continuing by being a whistle blower.

  105. Michael Hyman

    Upon viewing the Enron documentary a second time, my first time a few years ago before the recession really took stride, I find myself noticing how little has actually changed in the business world as a result of this colossal scandal. Enron managed to scam the entire country out of billions of dollars by cooking the books and intimidating those who dared to question their way of doing business. It sounds far too similar to modern day traders to would create derivatives with made up values and then confuse anybody who inquired as to how that valuation came to pass.

    In pertaining to the era in which Enron did its business, I find this documentary shows me that accounting is only as ethical as the people who are doing it. GAAP (the generally accepted accounting principals which guide corporate accounting) are designed to prevent fraud and give investors a transparent look into a corporations financials and give a true evaluation as to the success of that company. What The Smartest Guys in the Room shows us is that no matter how strict and detailed the accounting principals are, if a corporation wishes to commit fraud, they are going to do it.

    This movie is not just about the collapse of Enron but about the collapse of Arthur Andersen as well. The allure of high payouts to fraudulent accountants became too enticing, ultimately leading to the unethical behavior that led to the demise of Arthur Andersen. Once again this can be paralleled to accountants today who turned a blind eye to derivative trading despite being completely unaware of how they were being valuated and just what they were. Accountants need to be more aware of what it is they are looking at because a savvy crook seems to be capable of swindling them as well.

    Ultimately what this documentary shows us is that money talks. As long as people are getting paid under the table and the millions keep pouring in, most of the world seems content keeping its mouth shut and going along for the ride despite the highly unethical and often times illegal activities that may be involved. Ethics taught in the classroom are a great idea but when confronted with the prospect of earning thousands of dollars to ignore them, the offer becomes tempting. It takes an incredibly strong willed and righteous person to stand up in front of a multi billion dollar corporation and blow the whistle, and I don’t think that is behavior that can be taught; you are born with it.

  106. Ertan Arslan

    Enron (The Smartest Guys in the Room) is a quiet informative movie to understand what had happened to Enron company. This documentaty is mainly based on the business ethics that Enron executives didn’t care about. They used greed to manipulate financial firms. Some of them escaped such as Lou Pai when they had lots of money and some of them enjoyed it for some time. These people affected not only their own lives but also a lot of workers’. Many workers lost their jobs as well as some other companies bancrupted because of Enron. There is no need to talk about the shareholders, too. This fraud affected many people’s lives and shows how even financial firms and governments can be used with greed.

  107. What I find that still amazes me to this day about the entire Enron scandal is the sheer magnitude of the deception. Once the 7th largest company in the U.S., the situation makes the average person wonder who else is acting unethically and why no one was able to “figure it out”. The fact that the Bush family had been characterized as a major recipient of the company’s funds only serves to further destroy the public’s trust in big business and its relationship with government. Whether the Bush family knew anything is beside the point. The corruption and greed which clouded the entire situation, caused many people to view both business and government in a skeptical matter. The lesson to learn from the whole situation is that initial unethical behaviors can lead both individuals and the companies they work for down a slippery slope from which they cannot return. In the end, I think the Enron scandal has had positive impacts for the business world by addressing the problem of mark to market accounting, examining the relationship between a business and its auditors, and putting ethics back into the forefront of business education.

  108. Brian Torres

    Enron: The smartest guys in the room, is a documentary that examines the collapse of the Enron Corporation and displays the scandals they were involved in. It also displays the unethical actions that can take place in the workplace. Young business students can learn a lot from this film and see what a good business decision is. When things don’t seem right, just ask questions. Never make a decision if you feel it’s not right. People who lie, cheat, and steal always get caught and there are severe consequences. The people of Enron didn’t prosper in the end, however they took everyone else down with them such as the shareholders. Things seemed too good to be true, and they were. Skilling, Lay, Arthur Andersen, and the others involved thought that they would be able to get away with this crime. The unethical actions and irresponsible activity that was taken by all involved led to substantial negative consequences.

  109. Prerna Soni

    As others have pointed out, this documentary really gives a detailed, inside account on the infamous Enron scandal, one that we here so much about as business students. A few things definitely jumped out at me, especially in the context of our class discussions. First, I thought the mention of possible political ties with the Bush administration was interesting, as something similar was brought up in class as well. Despite evidence suggesting a more-than- appropriate support of Bush’s policies/admin by Enron, the CEO did deny any relation of that support to Enron’s success. However, I think the situation would have been more transparent to the American public and they would understand even what was not said.

    Furthermore, I think it’s important to note the way in which CEOs of large corporations become one with their company. Skilling was quoted saying “I am Enron” and this sort of statement is scary in the current economic climate. It seems that unethical corporate behavior is becoming more and more prevalent, and a CEO’s likelihood to engage is such behavior would be significantly increased when they are willing to act without remorse for their company (as it seems that Skilling was from this statement). Of course, any CEO’s success is defined by the success of his company, but it is slightly frightening to see such extremity verbalized.

    Another interesting thing to point out is the unethical nature of Enron’s chief officers even outside of their lives at Enron. When people who are naturally unethical have control of such a large and powerful entity, it seems only natural that the corporation will be corrupt as well. For example, the video discusses Lou Pai who was habitually dishonest with his wife in engaging with strippers, and even fathered a child with his stripper girlfriend. Despite his seemingly “clean” record as far as Enron goes, he was clearly unethical by most standards. When a company employs such people to high posts, can it really be surprised when it is engulfed by unethical practices? Again, Pai wasn’t tied directly to any scandal, but it does go to show the nature of the company itself.

    In the end, Enron will forever be a symbol of the extremity to which greed and corruption can unravel. These men at Enron were, indeed, the smartest men in the room, but their greed and perpetual desire for more wealth was their downfall. Enron was clearly not employing a stakeholder model, but what I wonder is if we can even define it as a shareholder model as it would seem to be. The executive officers at Enron seemed more worried about acquiring their own wealth and prosperity, not necessarily benefiting their other shareholders (although, I guess, they, too, were shareholders).

    All in all, very informative film, albeit it a little dry at times.

  110. Smartest Guys in the Room, directed by Alex Gibney, addresses the biggest business disaster that has ever taken place in US; which was the collapse of the infamous Enron Corporation. I read “The Smartest Guys in the Room” by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, however, it was watching the movie that made me sympathize all of the former investors and the employees who had believed in Enron and lost their life savings and their jobs.
    Mark-to-market accounting system that Jeff Skilling had come up with helped Enron take enormous amounts of imaginary money. They booked the profit as soon as they signed the contract, it did not matter whether they got the money or not. This method made investors misinterpret the value of the corporation. It is truly amazing that they could care less about what they were doing, disregarding moral ethics completely. It actually seems as if Enron purposely tried to be incredibly unethical, and unfortunately they succeeded. Enron was unethical in many aspects, one of them being that Lou Pai, the CEO of energy services, was stealing money from Enron shareholders to feed his obsessive addiction to visit various strip clubs; and even went as far to bring strippers on the Enron trading floor to perform in his office.
    I thought it was a very informational documentary, which showed us how the executives of Enron deceived everybody and ended up walking out with millions in their pockets. Investors and the employees of Enron were the ones who suffered the consequences of the unethical executives’ actions, and millions of dollars were lost.

  111. Y.u.s.u.f - C.a.g.l.a.r - T.u.y.s.u.z.o.g.l.u

    The movie is about getting the attention to the world’s greatest business ethics scandal. It is obvious that Enron did not care about either shareholders or stakeholders. Greediness of Enron’s management team, other people’s outside the company, and government harmed the society and the other non-guilty(but bankrupted) firms. Enron forced society to involve their illegal and unethical action by motivating them with media advertisements.
    Movie explains that how Enron changed its bookkeeping records and hide their losses. It shows that they were showing profits, however, at the same time they were downsizing sharply by firing the employees. Everything was a balloon. There was one of the largest corporation as they said, however, it was just a big lie. They told how they can make millions in 10 years with an accounting tactic and gave false impression to their shareholders like they were going to change the business in that industry with innovative way. However, these were unethical things both affected their shareholders and stakeholders of Enron. The company bankrupted very fast as it explained in the movie.

  112. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room was a documentary depicting the downfall of what was once the seventh largest corporation in the United States due to their complete disregard for business ethics and moral responsibility. This film showed how the Enron corporation became entangled in scandal by deceiving the public and shareholders alike that the company was in a more profitable position than they really were. Top executives not only created a brutal corporate culture within their firm that is unfair to hardworking employees, but some, like Lou Pai, went as far as to use shareholders’ money to feed his own selfish habits and have still never really paid the full consequences they should have.
    This film showed how large corporations can take illegal actions by being dishonest in their financial statements and true stock value and go unnoticed for years. It was interesting to see the lengths some will go to in order to benefit themselves and other wealthy individuals at the expense of society at large. I can only hope that scandals as large as Enron’s will teach corporations and top management to follow regulations and abide by society’s and government’s laws. While you can reap short-term initial benefits, the payoff if you get caught is not only taken away, but can cause one to face serious, life-long consequences.

  113. Irfan Hakverdi

    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a documentary directed and written by Alex Gibney. The movie illustrates the corrupted and unethical business practices of the America’s 7th biggest company, Enron, in 2000.
    Enron used illegal accounting tricks and they tried to hide the losses of the company. By hiding the losses and informing an imaginary profit, Enron pretended to be a profitable and successful company, and they had a bright business image which increased the value of the company’s stock prices. They were lying to their shareholders. Another actor in this unethical scandal is the independent auditing firm Arthur Andersen who disregarded business ethics.
    Unethical practices were taking place in every part of the company. According to the documentary, a former Enron executive, CEO of Enron Energy Services, Lou Lung Pai’s only motivation was money and strippers. He was using the shareholders money and he was hiring strippers to perform in his office for his horrible obsessions. He was using the company’s expense account to pay for the strippers. According to the movie, Pai left Enron with more money than anybody.
    The unethical and corrupted practices that took place in the company caused dramatic consequences. Many workers lost their jobs; shareholders and the stakeholders of the company lost their money due to the bankruptcy of Enron. The movie illustrated the importance of the business ethics; in addition, it shows that companies have responsibilities to the workers, the their share holders, and many other people.

  114. C.Y Dan Mou

    Enron is the well known case about one of the biggest accounting fraud in the U.S history. The top management is selfish and only care about their own profit. They did not act on stakeholders’ best interest. The stumbled on the business and was having loss in almost every single line of business (especially the India energy business) but they faked the operation and financial performance to the investors. First they hid the debt from the balance sheet and provided false record to the bank. Thr promted up the stock price to sky high and then sell their own stocks. When the stock price started to fall, they encouraged the investors to keep their position when all the executives kept trading their stock in exchange to cash. Finally the investors are the one who suffer and the executives scoops the profit.

    Enron is the best example to demostrate the top management engage in unethical behavior, and the vulnerability of the accounting practice.

  115. Clarissa A. Michel

    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room was an amazing documentary! The documentary’s title, in itself is especially catchy and from my view, very true.

    It appears that business ethics or the lack thereof at Enron and Jeffery Skilling’s narcissism were the roots of their downfall. The “dark side of the American Dream” drove Cliff Baxter, Jeffrey Skilling, and Andrew Fastow (in addition to other Enron employees) to commit fraud. One thing in particular that stood out to me in terms of business ethics is/was Arthur Anderson’s signing off (with the approval of the SEC) the mark to market accounting approach. Surely and although hindsight is 20/20, one can see how that form of accounting allows ad hoc decisions to be made with respect to recording future profits or sales. This form of accounting, as stated in the documentary allowed Enron to record its profits and sales as any figure of their liking. I honestly feel that everyone put too much trust into Enron, and even when Skilling was unable to intelligently explain how exactly Enron makes money, that should have been the biggest warning sign of all. The Fortune reporter and other analysts’ suspicions should have also been adhered to, much sooner.

    Another aspect of the Enron scandal, which epitomizes the lack of business ethics were evidenced in both their involvement in “political conspiracies” in being the largest corporate contributor of George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign and George Bush Senior, securing government subsidies for the organization. This should not been allowed in neither the business nor political industry as it skews any decision to be only at the benefit of its organizers, rather than the public.

    Clearly, business ethics plays a role in every organization whether or not it is realized. However, those who choose to ignore ethical standards in any industry only contribute to social-moral complacency. One, especially those with power to make key decisions in organizations such as CEO’s, should realize that their obligations should not only extend to the corporate shareholders, but also to internal and external stakeholders. Had Enron executives been straightforward with its internal stakeholders who lost their life’s savings reinvesting their earnings into the organization, and its external stakeholders (clients) who also funded the organizations endeavors, the public may have been more sympathetic in terms of reprimanding them. Overall, Enron serves as a living testament of What Not to Do, when you think you are the smartest guy in the room.

  116. Martin Nowak

    Movie Enron is a documentary about illegal and unethical behavior of the management. It is a example of principal-agent problem. During which management values their own interest above the interest of shareholders. Enron management lies to the shareholders. Enron actually change their accounting method to report future profits. Enron’s performance driven culture of sales and traders did everything to increase Enron’s stock value. Main incentive for management is stock options that allow management to cash on bonuses for meeting investors expectations set by allied business analysts. These and other corrupted methods management use to mask the fact that the business had hardly any real cash inflow.
    The worst is that when CEO Skilling realize that the company is set on course to disaster, he leaves his company and runs away. Other top official says he doesn’t know anything.
    Unethical behavior led to the Enron’s fall and that is why ethics is important.

  117. Jennifer Morton

    If there was a prime example of unethical behavior and its reaches ENRON would be that. It seemed as though it started out almost harmless with two traders just trying to make more profits for the corporation, perhaps in manners they shouldn’t have (sporadic unethical “gambling” with corporate funds). In the end it would seem that this “get rich quick scheme” ENRON allowed to proceed was the beginning of the end for any sort of ethics the company may have had and as such the beginning of the end for the company itself. From this point the story of ENRON heads straight downhill ethically; leading directly to falsified books, surreal profits, and countless decisions gone wrong (which were initially made to try to salvage the mistakes made before it). The saying “never tell a lie because it will result in you having to keep lying and remember lies you’ve already told” is a blueprint for ENRON’s path. However, very few things could be more unethical than what these practices would ultimately lead to. ENRON cutting off power to peoples’ homes, laying off countless people suddenly, and essentially trying to run away with their money was not only unethical it was not sound for the corporation either. Some say the job of a corporation is to make profits and although they were making money cutting power randomly it was more detrimental to the corporation than calling it quits earlier; and the manner in which other corporations (banks) assisted ENRON made it all the worse. This movie did a great job of highlighting the necessity for ethics within corporations and business in general; and allows us all to see the necessity for stopping unethical behavior early and to find the whistleblower in all of us.

  118. The film “Enron: The Smartest guys in the room” was a very detailed account of the infamous Enron scandal. I think the film does a great job in providing important details of what happened, and at the same time simplifying the event as the ongoing unethical behavior of a group of individuals. As the film progresses, it reveals that the unethical and illegal behavior arose at the top management level, but soon spread throughout the company and even outside of Enron to companies Enron did business with. Employees at Enron were conducting business based upon the company’s standards of ‘Right and Wrong’. Doing what was ‘right’ at Enron meant making the company money. The more money an employee made the larger the bonuses were and the higher the praise. Those who could not perform as well as others were terminated. It became a cut throat anything goes setting. Many people acted unethically by simply not questioning or investigating the companies profits, announcements, or operations. It was a failed system of checks and balances. Seeing the actual effect of these peoples behavior (especially the events in California) is frightening.

    Skilling and Lay believed their responsibility was to the shareholders in the sense that they were strictly focused on maximizing profits. Many of the banks that Enron was doing business with seemed to have a shareholder model as well. For years shareholders were beyond satisfied as the value of their stock climbed. However, in the end, it was the very people Enron claimed to have a responsibility to who suffered greatly.

  119. Stacey Hertz

    I really enjoyed the movie because it was a very informative firsthand account of the events that took place in the Enron scandal. This movie clearly portrays the unethical behavior of the top executives at Enron. The movie conveys the shareholder model in the sense that Jeff Skilling states he acted in ways that would help benefit shareholders. This also led to the artificial appearance of Enron and a massive illusion that the company was actually a profitable one. Kenneth Lay, the former CEO of Enron was a huge promoter of decreasing government involvement in the energy business, also known as deregulation. This passion of pushing for deregulation led to the creation of Enron. The fraudulent behavior of Enron began with CEO Louis Borget, who diverted company money to personal offshore accounts that were fictitious. Enron engaged in mark to market accounting, which ultimately led to their downfall. In this method of accounting, Enron would book potential future profits on the day the deal was signed, which left the books open to manipulation and fraud. Throughout the movie, Skilling is shown to be motivated by greed. Another greedy person with a history at Enron was Lou Pi, who was the CEO of Enron Energy Services (EES). He was known as the “invisible CEO” and was motivated by money and numbers. He left Enron with $250 million. Enron also used a practice called pump and dump, where it pushed the stock price up and then cashed in the stock options. The deception that occurred on the part of the top management of the company still astonishes me. It is very hard for me to understand that everyone believed everything they were told by Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay. They continuously fed the public lie after lie and this continued for much longer than it should have. When the company decided to move into broadband, this project was not a success for them, even though Enron stated the technology worked great. The truth was that in reality the technology didn’t work and they marked profits that didn’t exist in order to create a business that looked successful when it wasn’t. However, the truth about the fraud finally began to come out when Bethany McLean, of Fortune Magazine, questioned Enron’s financial statements and stock prices and asked “how did Enron make money?” The fact that Skilling became really defensive should have implied that he was hiding something and a red flag should have been raised to outsiders. Accordingly, Andy Fastow, the CFO had to figure out a way to hide the fraud, and he propped up the stock by making debt disappear in his own fake companies. Further flags should have went up with the blackouts in California and the false energy crisis that was set up by Enron traders. Enron made billions off manipulating the power structure in California and taking advantage of loopholes. However, the Enron throne began to collapse once Jeff Skilling resigned, causing the stock price to plummet. While he claims he left for personal reasons, the truth is that he was fleeing from the fraud that he committed while working for Enron. The flags started to go up for everybody after this event. Ken Lay made statements reassuring investors that Enron was in great condition and could be trusted. Meanwhile, Arthur Anderson was also engaging in fraud by shredding Enron’s files. Corporate ethics and moral behavior are completely violated by Enron’s executives. The immoral behavior of Enron caused many employees to lose their life savings and suffer tremendous hardships. The injustice of this was somewhat overcome by the indictments of Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow. This movie shows that a company based on false information will come crumbling down eventually, which further proves the value of ethical behavior in business.

  120. argest corporation in United States because of their unethical and irresponsible act. Enron did not care about either shareholders or stakeholders. The management team in Enron was greedy. They were lying to their shareholders. Enron pretended to be a profitable and successful company and they had a very high business image which created higher value of the company’s stock prices. This movie shows that all the wrongful acts that any companies or people do will be caught eventually. While these people were smart and brilliant however resulted in their unethical behavior. It was also shocking to see how employees were repeatedly assured how the company is performing well even though the executives know it was not true.
    The actions that were taken after the Enron incident was very successful however Government needs to think what might happen to next 10, 20 years rather than react to something after it happens.

  121. Enron showed the fall of one of the largest corporation in United States because of their unethical and irresponsible act. Enron did not care about either shareholders or stakeholders. The management team in Enron was greedy. They were lying to their shareholders. Enron pretended to be a profitable and successful company and they had a very high business image which created higher value of the company’s stock prices. This movie shows that all the wrongful acts that any companies or people do will be caught eventually. While these people were smart and brilliant however resulted in their unethical behavior. It was also shocking to see how employees were repeatedly assured how the company is performing well even though the executives know it was not true.
    The actions that were taken after the Enron incident was very successful however Government needs to think what might happen to next 10, 20 years rather than react to something after it happens.

  122. Jane Aldridge

    “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” is a great example of the implications of failing to comply with corporate ethics. This is an important movie to show business students because it not only focuses on the downfall, but the many causes of it. The bulk of the movie was the discussion of Enron’s rise and the various issues that could have brought it down before; such as the Valhalla scandal and the California blackouts. “Enron” showed how easy it was for a group of smart, wily professionals to get away with massive fraud for so many years. They did this by convincing everyone they were smarter. As Jeffrey Skilling told California legislators, make any rules you want, Enron will find a way to make money. And they did. Enron traders made $30 billion off of the state of California during the outages. A great (the wording is ironic) example of the complete lack of corporate ethics is the ricochet scheme. Enron traders would direct power elsewhere from the state of California, and when the prices increased, power would be sold again. But that’s not even where Enron made the majority of the money. Enron booked millions, if not billions, on the bet that the price of power would increase.
    Like I said above, I enjoyed this movie because it displayed the important character flaws in a few key people, such as Jeffrey Skilling, Ken Lay, Cliff Baxter and Andy Fastow. But, in my opinion, the movie did not go so far as to create villains of these people. Their behavior was supported by Stanley Milgram’s experiment in the 1950s showing that good people can become evil monsters as long as someone, in a seemingly authoritative position, tells them their behavior is OK. This is the case in Enron. The traders were being told that keeping power from the people of California is OK. Andy Fastow was being told, if implicitly, that stealing money from the company was OK because he was making Enron’s debt disappear. The diffusion of responsibility in this case makes it a remarkable case study in human behavior, and in corporate ethics. Cliff Baxter committed suicide in 2002, apparently due to the fact that he devoted his life to a company that thrived on stealing from anyone they could. I agree with the concluding statement that once Enron’s fraud came to light, the employees looked in the mirror and saw that what was once promise and possibility became hubris and greed.

  123. Kaitlin Johnsen

    The film Enron portrayed the truth behind the nation’s largest financial scandal. It showed the misrepresentation of financial statements by using false profit numbers that the company never actually earned; which caused the stock price to rise daily. The CEO and CFO selfishly used illegal accounting tactics to make money for themselves, and knew the right time to release themselves from the company. This movie reminded me of The Corporation, in which greedy individuals within companies use unethical activity for the sole benefit of themselves, and the repercussions it has on those who were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  124. Ashley Nunez

    great documentary, Enron scandal became a classical example of how a major disregard for ethics and law occurred. It becomes obvious that the institution of business education has not paid a sufficient amount of attention in ethical guidance in executive management, before Enron’s bankruptcy.

    Multiple business principles are involved in the rise of fall of Enron. In order to succeed in today’s evolving global market, organizations must adopt business principles and practices of knowledge sharing, shareholder protection and ethical business practices.

    Currently, business ethics are considered to be very important, but there are still many organizations that do not engage in ethical behavior, not toward their employees and not toward other companies they work with, such as distributors and suppliers.

    I noticed in the film that the behavior of Enron represents the need of organizations to evaluate their business practices from the bottom up, in order to design an organizational culture as well as organize the management team that will be committed to the benefit of all stakeholders.
    One thing is certain and that is that the importance of business ethics in risk management has hovered around the edges of inquiries such as the Owen Royal Commission and the Jackson Inquiry. Both inquiries looked beyond mere legal boundaries on company behavior, to wonder if all the costs and reputation damage could have been avoided by (in Justice Neville Owen’s words) someone asking ‘is this right?’

    After examining the film I had a lot of questions one of them was , why has the issue of business ethics not received more systematic attention from business and investor groups? One explanation could be that ethics is a contentious subject that overlaps, sometimes uneasily, with questions of law. Another explanation is that real measurement of ethics by outsiders is difficult, although not impossible. However, investors are beginning to focus on business ethics as one of the missing pieces to the risk management puzzle.

  125. Chase Murray

    This was a very informative movie to me. I knew that Enron had gone bankrupt but I never knew the extent of their lies. I was in high school when this scandal was going on so I was very uninformed. After reading The Rise of the Rogue Executive I realized that 96% of Enron’s income and 105% of its reported cash flow were attributable to accounting violations. Their true debt was also hidden from the outside world and had been understated by about $12 billion. This is just one of the many examples in the business world of how unethical and corrupt some organizations can be.

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