Aw man, here we go again. Yet another post from EssaySnark on ethics. You’d think we’d get sick of hearing ourselves talk about this.
Because it matters.
Especially in this mixed-up world we’re living in now. Ethics really really matters.
In case you missed it, our title says:
That thin line between being smart and cheating.
But that title lies.
There is no thin line.
It’s a bright red line that is really easy to see, and even easier not to cross.
Admittedly, it may be a tiny bit confusing, when there’s admissions consultants like the ‘Snark out there, helping you with developing your strategy for writing your essays to bschool. When it’s so open and accepted for MBA applicants to work with admissions consultants, then that may send mixed signals.
It can also be confusing when the accepted wisdom for smart Brave Supplicants is to work openly with your recommenders, to talk with them about what they might want to write, to even suggest some possible ideas or do some brainstorming with them about your qualities and traits. To remind them of the things you worked on together and the ways you did impressive things on the job. That too may send mixed signals.
But actually the line is very clear on how to operate ethically in constructing your apps:
Nobody but YOU writes your essays.
Nobody but YOUR RECOMMENDER writes the recs.
There. Done. Nothing else to say!
We still hear of applicants who went ahead and drafted a letter of recommendation for their boss because he was really busy and he wouldn’t have done it otherwise. Or she doesn’t speak good English so this just seemed like the easiest way. Or culturally it’s not really common to have a manager write a recommendation, so the only way you thought you could get one was to do it yourself.
Or for certain international applicants who have doubts about their own English skills, to just outsource the task and have one of those academic essay writing services write things up. Or heck, there are even unscrupulous and no-morals so-called “consultants” out there who will just create your entire application out of whole cloth.
Dang, there’s even a Resume Writing Service available at a major website that explicitly advertises that they will write your resume for your MBA app.
THIS IS NOT OKAY, PEOPLE.
EssaySnark is probably most miffed at the so-called consultants and advisors who market their services to do this kind of stuff, because they are totally and completely unprofessional and absolutely gaming the system. Yes the applicants are at fault too — nobody should be misrepresenting someone else’s effort as their own. No, it’s not as bad as Photoshopping applicants’ heads onto the bodies of athletes, but damn, it’s not really that different.
It is FRAUD.
So, just a (not) gentle reminder, Brave Supplicant:
If you’re applying to business school, you need to do so based on a presentation of reality. Your own work. Your own essays.
Yes, you can get input, help, education, coaching from others. There are experts who know what to do, and what to avoid. Use them wisely.
But paying someone to write your drafts? Or writing recommendations for your own application? These both are big no-nos and if you’re found out, you will be rejected for this reason alone.
It’s the same as lying on your resume and making up jobs you never held or degrees you don’t have. It is unethical and WRONG. Don’t do it, grasshopper. Just don’t. There is no justification in the world that makes any of this right.
Also, how odd to be posting a regular ol’ post today. Here we are, talking about getting into bschool. On September 11th. Like the most significant day that most of us Americans have lived through in our entire lifetimes. And yet, so much time has now passed from that fateful day…. Weird, how it can be just another day on the calendar now.