The objective of this study was to assess whether, and how, the attitudes towards business ethics of South African business students have changed between the early 1990s and 2010. The research was conducted as a cohort study utilising the same instrument, the Attitudes towards Business Ethics Questionnaire (ATBEQ). This study compared the results of the survey of the MBA alumni of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), to the published results from a similar study at Rhodes University from the early 1990s. The study found a significant change in attitudes, with a trend towards stronger opinions, on business ethics and espoused values. A factor analysis of the responses showed eleven factors although it was less able to explain the variation in the attitudes than the previous study. A significant change in the rankings of variables also indicated a shift in priorities. These results indicated a shift towards a teleological moral philosophy as well as utilitarian motives. This shows a clear trend towards compliance-based ethics which can be explained by the proliferation of business legislation and regulation in the wake of recent corporate governance failures and the subsequent global financial crisis.