Despite the ridiculousness coming out of the American political establishment these days and the atrocious excuse for a role model1 that that makes: YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIE ON YOUR MBA APPLICATIONS.
Here’s a story from Air Force vet turned product marketer turned entrepreneur turned professor Steve Blank about how he was told to lie on his resume by a recruiter in the early days of his tech career.
You already know how EssaySnark feels about ethics, as in, applying to Columbia during their binding Early Decision option while simultaneously applying to Harvard (and conveniently not mentioning it to us — great way to make us remember you negatively forever): If you are planning to apply to Harvard, then you cannot apply to Columbia during Early Decision. Full stop, end of story, your application strategy is now decided. Columbia will be Regular Decision for you. This is not a question of strategy, it’s a question of ETHICS. Same deal with writing your own letters of recommendation. It may seem like the easy way to go, but it is completely inappropriate (aka unethical) and a massively bad idea.
Lying is in the same category. Besides the fact that it’s wrong2, it’s simply not necessary.
If you think lying on your apps is a trivial matter that does not affect anyone — especially when you see people in power lying blatantly on a daily basis with apparently no repercussions for it — we have to ask you to think again.
Lying degrades your moral core.
Lying works against the only system of trust and decency that we have as individuals interacting in this vast universe of uncertainty. It corrodes relationships.
Lying is disrespectful to the person you are lying to.
Lying is arrogant.
Lying is desperate.
Lying is cheating.
Lying is fooling one person only, and that person is you.
Maybe you’ll lie on your apps and you’ll get in. And then you have to go through life knowing that you lied, that you did not get in on your own honest merits.
If you’re a liar, then we can guarantee that it’s because you do not think highly of yourself. You most likely feel very poorly about yourself indeed. Do you think lying to cover up some perceived flaw will make that flaw go away?
No, it compounds the flaw. Now you have a known defect, and you have layered a lie on top of it.
You know you did it, and man that’s a lousy feeling to have. Plus, what if someone finds out?
You may think that lying is a victimless crime. No harm, no foul, right?
No. The victim is you. It affects who you are and makes you less honorable each time you do it.
What more do you have to carry through this life than your honor? What else is there if not self-respect and decency?
It doesn’t matter if you know someone who lied and got in. We’re talking about YOU.
We are up on a soap box because we care about such things, and we believe strongly that in order for the world to become a better place, that ALL OF US need to make a contribution to that, individually, in our everyday lives and the actions we take. Doesn’t matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s up to us as individuals to change the world.
Lying matters, because it’s your own individual stance. Are you choosing to operate with the truth as the foundation of your life? If not, what are you trading it for?
It’s kind of like John McCain’s3 speech to the Senate this week where he said this :
“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.” [emphasis added]
He was addressing his fellow lawmakers, but boy oh boy does EssaySnark appreciate the sentiment. To hell with them. Can we learn how to trust each other again?
After the election last November, we came across this on Medium, The Minister of Magic Gets a Briefing on Donald Trump :
If we believe in any sense of morality, and if we believe that freedom and a good life should belong to more than just the people like us, then we must go to their defense on principle.
In the ‘Snark’s small corner of the world, the currency is truth and honor and decency, and how you present yourself, and what integrity you hold. Those are our principles. What are yours?
While we’re stirring a random soup of ethics and politics today:
Darden professor Bobby Parmar published this (also on Medium): How to Disobey Immoral Orders where he analyzed a famous experiment from the ’60s where study participants were asked to inflict electric shock on people who gave the wrong answer on a test. Professor Parmar says,
“‘All of us are embedded in environments where we get conflicting orders, and often it’s not obvious what the right thing to do is,’ Parmar notes, citing recent scandals like that at Wells Fargo, where employees opened bank accounts and credit lines under customers’ names without their consent. ‘A lot of us are on autopilot.’ When you factor in a paycheck or status within a group, it can be easy to put on blinders.”
Don’t be on autopilot with your apps. Don’t be so freaked out by the hype around competitiveness in admissions, and so fixated on the prize of getting in to a great school, that you get into a mindset of the ends justifying the means. You don’t need to lie to get ahead in life. Lying is the opposite of authenticity.
We know that very few BSers would go into the process intending to lie. We’re also not talking about making honest mistakes, like messing up the dates of employment when you’re filling out your app forms.
Instead, lying often happens unintentionally, or you fiddle with a fact here, and then fiddle with a fact there on a story, and it ends up morphing to fit the feedback that you were given instead of being an accurate representation of what happened.
Don’t get so strung out by the stress of this experience that you rationalize or justify. Lying is a slippery slope. It’s like heroin. Once you start, where will you stop? Better not to start at all.
We try to keep this blahg neutral to politics. But every now and then, our truth seeps out. We feel strongly that the constant drumbeat of political ridiculousness happening today is dangerous because it desensitizes all of us to what is right.
1 Sorry but WTF?!? was this Boy Scouts thing this week??? OMFG have you no sense of protocol or tradition or appropriateness at all.
2 And oh yeah, the schools do background checks.
3 In case you are unfamiliar with U.S. politics, John McCain is a long-serving Republican Senator (same party as the President) who is often called a maverick for speaking out and staying true to his conscience, even when it’s not politically expedient for him to do so; last week he had surgery on his eye and was diagnosed with brain cancer, and he returned to the Senate for this speech and a vote on the health care legislation that his party is trying to get passed.
4 Holocaust survivor; for full info please see Elie Wisel Wikipedia page
ETA: This came across our twitterfeed today after this was posted and is so unbelievably perfect…
When you lied on your CV to get the shepherd job. pic.twitter.com/znC4MVvhqY
— Paul Bronks (@virtuallydead) July 26, 2017
Update 7/31/17: This showed up referenced in the Tuck Dean’s weekly newsletter, the Slaughter & Rees Report , where they spoke of the importance of restoring trust to the White House. Link is to the book they mentioned. If you’re accustomed to lying about things, then you’re already actively contributing to a dysfunctional culture around you.