Back in February, we did a little series on the blahg about ethics, and when compiling some examples of real-life ethics and challenging situations, we of course thought of the many ethical issues involved in applying to business school.
We know that none of you would ever think of copping someone else’s essays as your own. We don’t write essays for applicants, and we’re sure that none of you would ever seek out the assistance of some type of “consultant” or essay-writing service that does. So we’ll skip that, as not needing to be discussed.
The obvious one is lying on your application.
Our categorical advice is, don’t do it.
It’s not worth it.
It doesn’t matter if you know someone who lied and got in. We’re talking about YOUR integrity.
If you encounter an admissions consultant who suggests that you bend the truth, then we suggest, run. Fast. Why would you trust possibly the most important opportunity of your next 10 years to someone who plays so loosey-goosey with honesty?
There are plenty of grey areas to wander through in developing your application. What is misrepresenting? What is spin, versus appropriate levels of self-promotion? What’s marketing and positioning when it comes to presenting yourself on the page? We admit, these can sometimes blur together. But you will KNOW if what you are writing is not true. You will KNOW it. Don’t let your ambition (or fear) override your good sense. When you get that squirmy feeling inside as you’re typing away on an essay or editing that resume, listen to it.
Another landmine lurking for many BSers are the letters of recommendation. Your boss asks you to write it, and she’ll send it in. Nope. That’s a no-go, too. Writing your own recommendations is unethical. Full stop, end of sentence. You can’t do that and submit an honest application.
There’s one more area of MBA applications where it’s easy to justify some questionable decision-making – call it an EssaySnark pet peeve (yeah, we admit, there’s more than one of those) – which we’ll cover in detail tomorrow.