So there’s a school you’re really interested in. And they’re holding an MBA chat on, lessee when was it? Oh yeah. Wednesday at 9am.
“WEDNESDAY AT 9AM?!??
I’M SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING RIGHT THEN!”
Most chats unfortunately do happen during business hours, since that’s when the admissions people are available. It’s rare to see one offered on weekends or evenings, though from time to time it does happen. (Note to schools: Maybe you can offer more of these?)
Most people applying to bschool end up doing a lot of their MBA application work during work hours. We know this, based on the timing of when submissions come in to EssaySnark for review, and when people make purchases of our MBA guides and such.
Is that ethical?
When you’re at work, they are paying you to work. Not to work on something that’s going to let you escape the work and
go on vacation better yourself for the next two years.
One possible exception might be if your company has offered to sponsor you, in which case, sure. They’re on board with the whole get-an-MBA thing. They’re paying for it. It can be (slightly) more justified to be spending your working hours on the project of getting in.
The other wriggle-room area is when you’re working at a crazy-demanding job when you’re at the office for 80 hours a week and you’re tied to your cell phone the remaining hours. If you’re expected to be on-demand and available for your job nonstop including evenings and weekends, then yeah, we can see how it might be justified to spend some standard business-hours time doing MBA research.
But do keep in mind, applying to bschool is a PERSONAL project. It’s for you and you alone. Your employer should not be subsidizing those efforts. It’s not even a grey area; it’s pretty cut and dried. It’s using company resources and time on a personal thing. Different companies of course have different standards and it’s not like you’d be fired at most places in this modern era of work. But some bosses may frown on it, and some may start to get actively annoyed by it.
Does that mean you keep doing it but just hide it? When you’re on a bschool chat, have a separate browser with work stuff loaded up, and be ready to flip to it when someone walks by?
That seems kind of lame, too.
How about you formally acknowledge that you’re doing something for personal time and trade out a regular work time block for it? So, if you normally take an hour for lunch, then on the day of the school’s webinar, you use that as your “lunch” time and then work through the standard lunch hour by eating at your desk? Or you stay late an hour, to give your employer the time that you used for the webinar?
It really depends on your environment.
Participating on an MBA chat from your work computer might be no problem for some companies, but others may not like it. Having your cell phone available – and stepping outside the office for a break to do it on your own time – could be a better way to handle things.
No matter what, we do NOT suggest using your work email account to sign up for school accounts or for EssaySnark stuff. That’s just really not appropriate. Use your personal email for all of that. Work stuff should stay at work. It might seem insignificant to you, but having clear lines like this is one way to keep clean.
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