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Grade nondisclosure policy

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Grade nondisclosure policy [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 13:19
I've read several threads where posters mentioned a "grade nondisclosure policy" at some schools. What is this? Does this mean that the employers who interview on campus do not know the GPAs of the students they are interviewing before the on-campus interview? Or does it mean something else?
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 13:29
Correct. They do not know them, they are not supposed to ask, the students are not supposed to tell.
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 13:35
Do you mean that students aren't supposed to even list the GPA on their resumes?

So grades in business school are meaningless?
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 13:42
flapjack wrote:
Do you mean that students aren't supposed to even list the GPA on their resumes?


That is my understanding, yes.

flapjack wrote:
So grades in business school are meaningless?


Well, you still have to pass. Beyond that, yes, they are pretty meaningless.

Personally, I don't like the concept. I've read articles about schools that adopted it, the students get lazy and stop trying. There are profs at Wharton who refuse to teach MBA classes because of it.

Granted, I haven't started yet... I suspect my tune will change when I start pulling all-nighters before exams ;)
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 13:50
I found the article where I read about profs at Wharton:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_37/b3950064_mz056.htm
Quote:
Just how contentious are things at Wharton? In cross-listed classes, Jain wrote, undergrads outperform MBAs, and the gap is widening. Annual student surveys, he wrote, show that the amount of time students spend on academics has fallen by 22% in just four years. Some of Wharton's best faculty have stopped teaching MBA classes altogether, he added. And those who continue now go to great lengths to keep students in check. Many prohibit late arrivals, talking, and cell phones. Others take attendance, as Harvard Business School does, or give weekly quizzes to make sure students show up for class. "Just like with traffic," says Edward I. George, a Wharton statistics professor. "You need traffic lights to function properly."

Last edited by brown on 16 Mar 2007, 13:55, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 13:55
Here is an interesting follow-up discussion regarding the article:

http://forums.businessweek.com/n/mb/mes ... sg=65720.1

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Definitely a worthwhile policy. Bschool students are naturally competitive, and grade ND helps to maintain some semblance of a collegial environment. Undergraduate business students are a great example of what can happen when the gloves come off.


Quote:
The problem is not how to manage stress. The issue is that some people will stab classmates in the back to obtain better grades. It might increase tensions. Imagine living in such an environment for 2 years...
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 14:25
I don't think I like the policy either. I think that this policy would hurt people switching from, for example, a non-Finance career to a Finance career. How can they demonstrate an aptitute for Finance if they cannot even show their grades in Finance courses to their interviewers?

What's the logic behind this rule - were students too competitive under the grade disclosure policy?
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2007, 19:32
flapjack wrote:
I don't think I like the policy either. I think that this policy would hurt people switching from, for example, a non-Finance career to a Finance career. How can they demonstrate an aptitute for Finance if they cannot even show their grades in Finance courses to their interviewers?

What's the logic behind this rule - were students too competitive under the grade disclosure policy?


And I'm all for GND. Undergraduate competition where I went to school was fierce - and it was not a pleasant environment. People were known to steal books from the library just to get an edge. My roomate once didn't wake me up for a midterm we both had because, as he explained, "if I missed it hte curve would be lower and his grade higher".

I'm not saying it would be like that in the MBA program, but with everything else going on - recruiting, clubs, discovering your dreams, socializing, building networks, etc - I can appreciate that whether or not you get a B or an A should not be a major concern. I mean really, think about it, do you honestly think GPA is a good differentiator? Do people with a 3.5 really do better at work than those who ended up with a 3.0? I've never seen evidence to support it.

Moreover, the American school system is one of short term memory. It rewards rote memorization and penalizes depth and understanding. Exams are, at least at the undergraduate level, primarily a question of how well you can remember specific material - formulas for instance, or maybe dates in a history course - they are rarely exams that test your understanding an ability to intelligently apply concepts. They meerly test your ability to read, memorize and retain knowledge ona short term basis.

Hardly a great way to prepare for a career in finance no? And as for proving yourself - you can do so by learning the material. Interviews are not going to be behavioral, they will ask pointed questions. Case studies on gas stations for MC. Valuation models for banking, or defending stock pitches for IM. Etc. Etc.

So I personally support GND. It diminishes the incentive for backstabbing, increases and rewards teamwork and collaborative spirit (after all, if the point is to LEARN and not to get an A) and gives you the flexibility to pursue recruiting and your interests and truly develop as a person.

Usually its the younger mbas who are all for grade disclosure. Course, they have 0 to 2 years work experience and don't know their ass from their head - the only thing they can truly point to is academics.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2007, 15:41
rhyme wrote:
Usually its the younger mbas who are all for grade disclosure. Course, they have 0 to 2 years work experience and don't know their ass from their head - the only thing they can truly point to is academics.


Your years have maturity have cultivated such class ;)
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2007, 15:54
I personally support GND policy because the reason I want to get an MBA in the first place is to learn. That been said, I WANT to take challenging classes which I was inclined to avoid in undergrad because it would mean jeopardizing my GPA. I want to take advanced corporate finance, advanced accounting, etc. to gain the knowledge I currently do not have.
In short, I believe GND policy encourages students to take hard courses and really challenge themselves.

Btw, does anybody have a list of schools that have this policy? I know GSB has it. What about other schools?
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2007, 18:06
brown wrote:
rhyme wrote:
Usually its the younger mbas who are all for grade disclosure. Course, they have 0 to 2 years work experience and don't know their ass from their head - the only thing they can truly point to is academics.


Your years have maturity have cultivated such class ;)


Touche. Present company excluded of course :)
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2007, 18:32
I prefer GND, but I don't think it would work at all levels of study and probably not at all schools either.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2007, 05:07
nervousgmat wrote:
I personally support GND policy because the reason I want to get an MBA in the first place is to learn. That been said, I WANT to take challenging classes which I was inclined to avoid in undergrad because it would mean jeopardizing my GPA. I want to take advanced corporate finance, advanced accounting, etc. to gain the knowledge I currently do not have.
In short, I believe GND policy encourages students to take hard courses and really challenge themselves.

Btw, does anybody have a list of schools that have this policy? I know GSB has it. What about other schools?

This is the main reason I'm in favor of grade non-disclosure. It would probably keep me from branching out and taking classes that I might not be good at. Further, as rhyme mentioned if you feel that your grades are going to set you appart from your classmates you'll end up in a much more competitive environment and have a harder time balancing a well-rounded study experience. For those who want to get credit for getting straight A's there's always the Dean's List or other academic recognitions that even schools with grade non-disclosure have.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2007, 11:00
I didn't realize that schools with non-disclosure policies gave out academic honors such as Dean's List. I guess that changes my opinion about non-disclosure policies.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2007, 14:20
flapjack wrote:
I didn't realize that schools with non-disclosure policies gave out academic honors such as Dean's List. I guess that changes my opinion about non-disclosure policies.

I don't know about GSB, but Wharton and Insead both recognize the top 10 or 20 percent of a class in any given term and then also at graduation. The people who are peeved are the ones who end up right below those cut-offs. I can see how being in the top 11 percent and not being able to tell recruiters would be frustrating.

Personally, I'm the sort of person who would graduate in the middle of my class regardless of whether I attended HBS or some low-tier school. Thats why non-disclosure suits me.
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list of schools that support GND [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2007, 05:09
Can anyone provide a list of top 20 schools who support GND
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2007, 06:22
dukes wrote:
I don't know about GSB, but Wharton and Insead both recognize the top 10 or 20 percent of a class in any given term and then also at graduation.


so does HBS, they're called "Baker's scholars."
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2007, 06:38
Some schools have a semi-GND policy. For instance, Tepper students cannot list their GPA on their resume and are not allowed to disclose their GPA early on to recruiters. However, after the official first round of interviews, the student is free to disclose grade information if requested.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2007, 15:36
From a blog...


I have been thinking a lot about the grade disclosure issue. With the changes to the HBS policy, bets are being taken around the corridors of Huntsman Hall as to when students vote out grade disclosure. I wouldn't be surprised if the Class of 2008 decides they will disclose grades. The administration will have a monopoly on the messaging about grade disclosure once the class comes to preterm next summer. Given how the administration was able to influence the class of 2007 in terms of academic focus, I wouldn't be surprised if they can accomplish a similar feat with the class of 2008 and grade disclosure.

But personally I think whether or not we disclose grades is not the issue. If the faculty wants students to be more engaged in the classroom, they need to attach rewards and consequences DIRECTLY to that behavior. Class engagement does not directly translate into grades. And this is the point that gets me most riled up when discussing the issue. You can't reward A and when you want B. Grades are usually a Proxy for how hard you worked in a class. But there are several reasons at Wharton why I donÂ’t think this is always the case. 1) prior knowledge in a subject, 2) the crazy ass Wharton curve, and 3) gaming the system.

Prior Subject Knowledge
Some people are able to skate by in a class because they have previous experience. For example in Corporate Finance and Advanced Corporate Finance, individuals with investment banking are a distinct advantage since they have seen much of the principles and theories taught in practice. So for the liberal arts major who has never seen a cash flow projection may really work hard and be incredibly engaged an focused on learning the concepts, but he or she doesn't stand a chance against the banker who never shows up to class and coasts. According to the faculty, they want people like the engaged liberal arts major in my example in class, and they want less of people who coast. But at the end of the day, they reward the coasting banker with the higher grade. Why would coasting behavior change if it's rewarded? What message does that send to students?

Crazy Ass Curve
At Wharton, we have a hard curve. So the top 10-15% get a DS, the equivalent of an A, the next 15-20% get an HP or a B, and the middle half get a P (as in average C), the bottom 10% get a QC (although it's recorded as a P) to signal that you need to step it up. Sounds all well and good right. OK here's the problem. People at Wharton tend to be high achievers, so getting the elusive DS isn't always about how hard you work. I've been an several classes where the means on tests were in the high 80s and low 90 percentile. In what alternative universe is an 89% a C? Wharton that's where. So in a lot of classes the differences between a DS and a P can be very slim.

So in essence the curve amplifies these slight differences. It can be demotivating. Why put in extra effort when you still fall in P range if you can put in significantly less work and still get a P? The fact that the massive middle gets the equivalent of a C even when on an absolute scale they kicked ass is the cause of much of the complacency professors complain about in my opinion. And for those who do work hard for the Ps, the fact that professors (and recruiters if we disclose) assume that they didn't master the material, or didn't care, or didn't try can be another frustrating demotivator. I'm sorry, but nothing you say is going to convince me that the person with a DS and a 96 is that much better than the person who ends up with a P and a 93. Sorry 3 extra points doesn't indicate that much more mastery. That difference can be one question guessed right or wrong. But the rewards that are associated with that three point difference if we disclose, seems unfair. And it does nothing to encourage actual learning.

Gaming The System
Wharton's (and institutions of higher learning in general) dirty little secret, in my opinion. In most classes, somewhere to 40-50% of our grades are based on how well you do on the test. It took me a while to figure this out, but often the key to doing well in a class is learning the type of questions the professor asks on tests by practicing with old exams. This method has nothing to do with the concepts taught in a class. Tests typically have 5-8 question types. You know how to do those and can recognize the question types - you are golden. Interestingly when professors mix It up a bit and ask questions in new ways, the means on tests fall precipitously. If students were rewarded for mastering concepts, asking questions in different ways shouldn't have that type of affect on the means. But students are basically trained to learn to master the test, not the concepts in the class.

Whether or not we disclose grades isn't going to change class room behavior. Nothing about making us tell recruiters our GPAs is going to make people more focused on learning. What is it that recruiters hope to find out from grades? Some recruiters have absolute cut offs for grades – which is totally ridiculous. One of the companies I applied to had a minimum GPA requirement of 3.3. Well since the top 10% is a 3.3, this company essentially eliminates 90% of the class. Is this what they want? What about leadership outside of the classroom? I've learned more about managing work loads and other people through my extracurricular activities than I have in classroom. Does that experience, which will probably make me a better employee, not matter. What is it recruiters are looking for? It's short sighted to over-emphasize grades in an MBA program. It's not just about the grades.

So what's the solution if not grade disclosure. 1) Reward classroom behavior you seek. If you want people to attend your class and it's important to you, it should be impossible to get a DS if you never show up to class. 2) Make it harder to game the system - change up the tests. Make the emphasis on mastery on concepts not on mastery of certain types of questions. 3) Get rid of the curve. Maybe we should be rewarded for mastery not how we did relative to the person seated next to us.

Some outsiders' interpretation of student resistance to grade disclosure is that Wharton students are lazy and don't want to have to work during our two year tenure in the MBA Program. That's just pure bullshit. MOST Wharton students work incredibly hard. Despite the carefree façade many of my classmates present, I know many of them are pulling allnighters to kick ass in these classes. Yes we party hard. But we work hard too. The resistance to disclosing grades isn't because we're lazy. It's because we want our Wharton experience to be about more than just studying. Who wants to look back on their two years at Wharton and have their fondest memory be how hard they studied for their OPIM exam? Wharton shouldn't just be about the grades. Overemphasis on grades belittles the richness of the Wharton experience. I think the grade disclosure debate misses this point. I guess we'll all have to see how it plays out.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2007, 15:46
Can you post the url please ? It is easier to read and find related comments.

Last edited by lhotseface on 26 Mar 2007, 15:48, edited 1 time in total.
  [#permalink] 26 Mar 2007, 15:46
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