Is There A Cheating Epidemic In Business School?

Some MBA students are cheating to get ahead

The academy is a pressure cooker. Each new crop of students is expected to burn brighter than the previous one and, to say nothing, the greater demands of the faculty.
Particularly at the graduate level, students absorb and metabolize a dizzying array of information in an attempt to simply stay afloat, much less excel.

Paul Bodine, of Paul Bodine Consulting / Admitify, believes that this pressure has given rise to a new tension of hypercompetitiveness that grows within the academy:

“[There is a] growing mentality to win at all costs, the belief that you will fail in life if you are not in the best school or if you have the best grades,” he says. “I think this hypercompetitiveness is worsening in society and politics, and business school students, who are usually fairly competitive from the start, simply reflect this broader trend.”

Based on this killer culture, it may not be surprising that many healthy-minded and scrupulous people react in despair as the air of curriculum begins to be heavy.

There is talk in and out of academic circles of a rise in pitfalls among future MBAs. According to Wikijobs, almost 20% of MBAs have cheated on aptitude tests or have considered cheating.

Karen Marks of North Star Admissions says traps can spread from the application process: “Some schools use anti-plagiarism software to detect suspicious language in essays and recommendations, and most schools use verification processes designed to rule out misrepresenting candidates the material aspects of her candidacy, “she says. “Sadly, people have their admission revoked every year.”

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But what is behind this new development? And is it really new? There was a widely reported case in 2007 of 34 freshman Duke Fuqua students who were caught cheating on a homecoming test. Is it specific to business schools?

“I think there’s less moral clarity in our society at large in terms of what’s right and what’s wrong and what are the limits and limits,” says Linda Abraham of Accepted. “You hear reports of traps in medical and law schools, you hear about executives and fraudulent politicians, rotten apples in every field.”

Sanford Kreisberg, the HBS Guru, agrees. He says that many MBA programs are guilty of some complacency, or even absolute ignorance, when it comes to moral issues:

“Business schools almost never have ethics as their central theme, but they can mock ethics if something comes up,” he says. “[Business schools] are the least academic and idealistic of any post-graduate school in almost every major university, that’s not good or bad, just the way it’s given the subject.”

The statistics tell a story that asks for an explanation. In addition to the greater effectiveness of schools to catch cheaters, Linda points to a potential root cause that is intercultural:

“There are different cultural definitions of cheating – what we might consider cheating in other cultures might consider ‘helping a friend’ or ‘teamwork’ or something perfectly acceptable. have returned perhaps a little more internationally, should consider different concepts of ethical behavior and what is cheating. ”

Susan Cera, director of MBA admissions at Stratus Admissions Counseling, explains in detail the idea that pitfalls can be the result of a discrepancy in cultural norms:

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“In the US, elementary schools teach students how to research a subject, and middle and high schools explore in students the importance of citing their work and making it their own. This is not the norm anywhere else in the world. When you bring students from more than 40 countries, there is a wide range of rules regarding cheating. ”

Jeremy Schifeling of Break Into Tech believes that the issue of pitfalls, regardless of statistics, reflects a fundamental tension at the heart of business education.

“Getting an MBA is developing business skills that will boost your career, which means that cheating alone steals your future opportunities? Or, are you getting an MBA as a signaling device for employers that you are pre-written and ready to work , regardless of academic performance, which means cheating is somehow a rational response to your incentives?

“To the extent that business schools leave this question open, it creates an opportunity

“As business schools leave this question open, it creates an opportunity for cheating to thrive.”

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