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Honor Codes

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Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 1430
Location: New York, NY
Schools: NYU Stern 2009
Followers: 40

Kudos [?]: 219 [0], given: 6

Honor Codes [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2010, 07:24
I know a lot of candidates love to obsess over grade non-disclosure, and very much enjoy how a number of the people looking for non-disclosure have ridiculously high GMAT scores. Something else that you may want to bear into consideration of how important, and how it reflects on a shool, is the honor code.

Now, honor codes can only stretch so far. And unless the MBA Oath garbage coming out of HBS catches on, that element is going to stuggle (on which, it is interesting the Oath came after the credit crisis, and not as some effort to get HBS to rescind the MBA of Jeff Skilling).

Anyway - my reason for posting is mainly to link to this story, which is a very interesting case. I don't see the school looking to seek press off this (it was a pretty traumatic experience I imagine), but it is certainly better than being on the receiving end of this, though I didn't remember the school being as harsh as to kick out 1/3 of the students.

The interesting thing about Honor Codes is that they are typically enforced by a committee of the student body, and not by administration (though they must support the action recommended by the committee). I am interested as to the opinion on the board as to how harsh such committees should be. We all know that the academic capacity of an MBA is not exactly gruelling, yet the honor quality of students is of the upmost importance. Should they become more harsh, have clawback provisions, or simply look to include more classes on corporate behavior practices?

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Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Posts: 1155
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
Schools: Duke (Fuqua) - Class of 2012
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Re: Honor Codes [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2010, 18:19
Expert's post
I find the school's action to be appropriate. I'm not going to go into how dishonorable actions by alums affect the brand of the entire school. What is more important is that the moral undertone that a school sets carries over to the work envirvonment.

Prior to the Duke scandal, I get a feeling that the honor code was more laxed. From what I hear from the grapevines is that the instructions weren't clear in that class about the take-home exam, and some students were under the impression that they can collaborate (teamwork is the Fuqua culture afterall). Either way, now the honor code is taken very seriously here. And because of that, the students here are very cognizant of his/her actions when making a decision. Even when instructions are ambiguous, we tend to err on the side of safety. Believe me, there are a lot of ambiguous areas, such as whether discussing a case with other teams is okay (some classes/assignments it's okay, sometimes it's not). There are countless times, when we've voluntarily suspended team meetings or group conversations to talk about whether the action will break the honor code. I think that mental routine to pause-and-think before making a questionable decision will be semi-imprinted is us when we get graduate, carrying it into the workplace. In turn, if we all have that mentality, I think managements will certainly make less unintentional questionable decisions.
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Joined: 09 Dec 2008
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Schools: Kellogg Class of 2011
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Re: Honor Codes [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2010, 17:30
Kellogg's honor code is pretty simple - it can be boiled down to "don't lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do". How it applies to assignments, exams, etc. is usually pretty explicitly explained either in the syllabus or case-by-case by the professor. I've never found myself in a situation where it wasn't clear what would be allowable under the code. I also think the MBA oath is silly, but think that rigorous enforcement of school honor codes is good. It's important to reinforce businesspeople operating under some sense of honor and personal responsibility.

I don't have a problem with what NYU did here. If you're convicted of a crime (especially a business-related crime like securities fraud) while you're in an MBA program, it would be somewhat farcical for the school to award you the degree. I also wouldn't have a problem with MBA programs instituting some sort of clawback if you violate certain principles or end up in prison after graduation. Revoking the degree itself may be problematic, but it should be well within the school's discretion to revoke other alumni privileges, such as career support or access to alumni directories.

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Re: Honor Codes [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2010, 19:36
I sat on the honor board for undergrad and honestly I think we took a much greater hardline. I did go to a military school, but we suspended and expelled students for things that I think slide at all business schools. Personally, it is about personally integrity since there are so many things you take home and no one is looking over your shoulder. I dont think cheating is wide spread per-se but at the sametime you are kidding yourself that some of the super competitive type A's that go to the top MBA's aren't taking every advantage they can...whether its acceptable or long as they can get away with it.

Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Re: Honor Codes   [#permalink] 28 Oct 2010, 19:36
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