56% Of MBA Students Cheat Regularly

Forget what the pundits say, this here is the real reason for the economic crisis:

“A study of cheating among graduate students, published in 2006 in the journal Academy of Management Learning & Education, found that 56 percent of all M.B.A. students cheated regularly – more than in any other discipline. The authors attributed that to “perceived peer behavior” – in other words, students believed everyone else was doing it.”

[NYT] (Photo: wasabifish)


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  1. Vilgrom says:


  2. LegoMan322 says:

    All that money just to cheat. From now on, on my resume I am stating that I am an MBA. The way things are going, no one will look. Hello 300k per year!

  3. Pious_Augustus says:

    Everyone else is doing it, what do you think your CEO did to get to the top? Why do you think all these CEO’s are currently destroying their companies? They don’t know wtf they are doing. They are just along for the ride.

    It’s kind of like most companies big thing is they want you to “Thrill the Customer” okay nice only problem is your policies suck and you want the Customer Service Rep to sacrifice dignity so you can make the customer happy for a crappy police or overrated and paid policy.

    We no longer have CEO’s who wish to innovate in their businesses. They believe just buy up the smaller brands incorporate and assimilate what they were and run with it till the well runs dry.

    Then they act like because they were hired to a big company and hardly did a thing they deserve contract bonuses.

    Where is the innovation?

    • perruptor says:

      @Pious_Augustus: “Where is the innovation?”

      It’s in your previous sentence. The innovation is their belief that they deserve bonuses.

      • nuton2wheels says:

        @Pious_Augustus: Right on.

        I had the benefit of attending business school with cretins like that, so I got to see it first hand. Everybody complained whenever there was work to be done, and few had the motivation or intelligence to complete it on their own. I can’t begin to count the number of group projects where I got stuck with some idiots and had to pull things together because I didn’t want my grade to suffer.

        The frat boys and sorority girls always had a stash of tests waiting in their koofer bins, and didn’t hesitate to gloat about it. When graduation came around, these reprobates managed to get jobs based on their ability to kiss ass, and not actual merit. I’m not surprised our country is in a state of financial chaos; there’s plenty of incompetent people at the helm.

        I tried the business degree on for size after graduating with honors and hated the dead end jobs, HR vultures, and perpetually lame coworkers who resembled my college classmates, so I abandoned it and now work as a craftsman / trade worker. Most of the aforementioned white collar jerk offs would be fired within a week for not getting anything done.

        I’m doing well; I’ve always had a good work ethic.

  4. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    I didn’t cheat during my MBA classes…although I still can’t find a job.

    Guess I should have cheated.

  5. lonestarbl says:

    The way these “Top” mba grads have worked out over the past few years… I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys could walk out with a Minor in cheating

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @lonestarbl: The larger issue may be whether an MBA degree is remotely useful for anything other than networking. If it’s useless, it probably doesn’t matter if they cheat their way through or not.

      Bunch of articles about it a couple years back, which of course I now cannot find.

  6. T Axel Jones says:

    We need to do something about this or soon our MBA Students will be cheating just as much as our politicians.

  7. OmniZero says:

    A lot of people I know cheat in college, mainly because the work load becomes way too much for a mere human to handle. The education system as a whole needs to be reworked from the ground up.

    • j-o-h-n says:

      @OmniZero: So busy doing homework? So that’s why the bars are so empty in ‘campustown’ — oh wait, they’re jam packed every single night of the week.

      Near as i can see, my high schooler puts in more hours of work than the vast, vast majority of the college students around here.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @j-o-h-n: I’ve seen quite a bit of discussion of this recently in academic media … college students with unrealistically low expectations of how much time they’ll have to put in to class.

        However, at “traditional” colleges (full-time, four-year, residential, serving 18-22 year olds primarily), especially those at the upper end of the spectrum, my anecdotal observation is that a lot of those kids cheat not because of lack of time or inability to do the work, but because EVERY DAMN THING in their lives has always been super-high-stakes, and they’re not going to risk med school admission on a B when they can cheat to guarantee an A … typically when they’re already doing A work.

        As a prof, my observation is that it often (not always) takes just as much time to cheat competently as to do the actual assignment. So I don’t think it’s really about time. I think it’s about lazy, specifically intellectual laziness and a refusal to invest intellectual and emotional energy in LEARNING something.

        • Ragman says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): When I invest intellectual and emotional energy in learning something, I want to learn how do to it CORRECTLY. That means being able to find out what I’m doing wrong BEFORE the damned test. Not aimed at you Eyebrows, but at some engineering profs who don’t hand back homework until they’ve graded the test that covered it. Hence, sometimes it’s necessary to get homework solutions to check my understanding.

          There are two kinds of cheating that I observe in engineering college. One is the blatant “I don’t feel like doing all of this work” writing down the answers without any thought to solving the problem. The other is checking your solutions to see if you’ve done it correctly, so that you don’t learn it the wrong way, or getting an old copy of the test to see what material to focus on.

          “and they’re not going to risk med school admission on a B when they can cheat to guarantee an A … typically when they’re already doing A work.” In my world of engineering college, it’s quite literally “and they’re not going to risk missing a job offer on a B when they can cheat to guarantee an A … typically when they’re already doing A work.” Some of our profs tell us that if we don’t have a 3.0 or better, don’t expect to get a job as an engineer. Some companies require a 3.5 or better to be considered.

          • Ragman says:

            @Ragman: Forgot to add: The cheating in engineering and computer science got bad enough several years ago that they made a mandatory ethics class part of the curriculum.

            • johnva says:

              @Ragman: I wonder, in engineering and comp sci, if it’s that cultural misunderstanding thing again. It’s worth noting that those majors tend to have a lot more non-Americans in them than many others. I’m guessing there are other factors at work there besides just lack of ethics.

              • Ragman says:

                @johnva: It was graduates who didn’t know their butts from a hole in the ground when they started at work, because they cheated their way through school. One of the MAJOR companies that dumps millions into the school annually threatened to pull funding – same company that won’t hire a grad unless they have a 3.5 gpa. That’s what I’ve heard from faculty.

      • OmniZero says:

        @j-o-h-n: Not all college students hit the bar, thank you. I never did.

        My girlfriend, for example, never goes out. Last semester she figured she had to do 80 hours worth of work for her classes. Does that seem fair? When every teacher says “For every hour in class you need to spend 3 or 4 outside it” can really add up, and that’s before extra projects and papers.

        For those who are at the bar, they don’t care about their work. For those who AREN’T at the bar, they are stressing over everything they’ve been assigned to do and try to do it to the best of their ability.

        • JPropaganda says:

          @OmniZero: That’s not fair. I went to a top university and found a way to balance work and play. Yes, I didn’t study engineering or chemistry, but I seem to be doing just fine with my liberal arts education that I worked hard for.

          It’s unfair to suggest laziness and poor work ethic just because someone decides to go out and socialize.

          • OmniZero says:

            @JPropaganda: I’m looking at those who you KNOW are lazy and don’t care. The types mentioned before who are at the bar every night drinking from 8pm till 3am. Those types.

        • j-o-h-n says:

          @OmniZero: No, not all do. But, I am stunned by how many go during the week. And very clearly, the ones putting in 80 hour weeks are not in the “vast, vast majority”.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @OmniZero: i had a hard time in college, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. i wanted to be an engineer, but didn’t make it thru a few ‘weed-out’ courses at the university (700+ ppl lecture halls, recitations taught by 3rd-yr undergrads, lots of foreign instructors that couldn’t pass a TOEFL if it was in their own language). it was difficult – too difficult for me. at the time, i was pissed off that my dreams of being an engineer were being dashed by my inability to pass organic chemistry b/c the school chose to teach it to me along with 1000 other people.

      in hindsight, i’m glad they did. i wasn’t meant to be an engineer & their rigorous program was designed to make people flounder & fail or develop the reasoning skills necessary to survive.

      i had friends that had no trouble with the same program. they made it; i didn’t. that’s part of what post-secondary education is all about. it’s not supposed to be easy. if you are having a really, really hard time with the work, there’s a good chance that you don’t belong where you are.

      not everyone can be an engineer, or a doctor, or an MBA – that’s why schools offer english, philosophy & medieval history majors (or in my case, international relations/politic science). XD

      seriously though, if you’re not prepared or capable to handle the work, discover where your passion for learning is & pursue it. we don’t need to make the programs easier, you just need to find the program that you’re good at.

    • johnva says:

      @OmniZero: I never cheated, AND I drank a lot as an undergrad (in a difficult major with among the highest number of required courses of any at my difficult private college). Talking about the “workload” is just an excuse for unethical behavior by losers. There is no reason why people cannot do all the “fun” things in college while also handling the work, assuming that a) they are not alcoholics, and b) they keep perspective that their education is really the highest priority thing for them to spend their time on.

      Moreover, we are talking here about a GRADUATE PROGRAM, not undergraduate college. People who cheat by the time they’ve reached the grad school level are pathetic. Personally, I think that schools need to just be a lot more careful about who they admit to programs. Admit fewer unqualified losers who have inflated resumes and you would have fewer people who feel the need to cheat to compete.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @johnva: They really, truly don’t cheat because they can’t do the work. (Otherwise cheating rates would be markedly higher at certain kinds of undergrad schools than at others, and they’re not.) They cheat because they’re lazy, because they don’t know how to work, or because they’re under a lot of pressure to succeed under a narrow and life-path-determining definition of success and cheating helps them maintain an edge.

        Among the worst cheaters are A and B students who ARE doing the work, but are cheating for insurance. They can’t fail, and they only get one shot to succeed.

        • johnva says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): I wonder if this differs depending on your field. Most of the undergrads I encountered who were cheating when I was a grad school TA were people who just didn’t seem to take school seriously (and were lazy – I’ll agree with that point of yours wholeheartedly). I will grant that it’s possible that the more sophisticated cheaters were just better at not getting caught by me.

    • TEW says:

      You need to report them for an honor code violation. By you knowing that they cheat and not saying anything makes you guilty as well. I have never cheated and I have a 4.0 GPA and I work 30+ hours a week. I have to suffer so I can make good grades and I despise anyone who cheats or steals. My friends know that I will turn them in a heartbeat if I catch them cheating and they will never do anything wrong around me. Without honor what do we really have?

      • johnva says:

        @TEW: I totally agree with you. There is no excuse, period, for cheating.

        I really wish there were some reliable way for prospective employers, college admissions, etc to determine whether someone is the unethical type or not. But short of that, I think that certain practices of admissions/interviewing encourage it. Instead of people being judged on things like the actual objective results they get from their work, they often get judged largely on stupid intangible crap like how well they interview, how they dress, how polished their resume is, etc. I think that all that focus on subjective qualities creates an opening for cheaters and liars to slide in. Not that those things are totally without importance; I think they can be. But I don’t think they are good ways to judge someone’s achievements or the strength of their character, and I don’t think they should be all that important outside of professions that aren’t totally focused on lying and image (ie, marketing, law, etc). (OK, I’m kidding a little bit there – don’t kill me!)

    • BytheSea says:

      @OmniZero: College is as hard or as easy as you make it. No one has to work if they don’t want to.

  8. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Well, most of my MBA program was team based, so when we did have the occasional individual project, we would work together on that too.

    And marketing people usually help the finance people, and finance people help the marketing people, etc…

    But yes, there was some cheating, but nothing (to my knowledge) that drastically affected anything…

  9. ARP says:

    Wait, I thought the problem was the far left socialist libruls from the democrat party, not these fine upstanding conservative students. I mean, once they get their executive position, they would never do something unethical, right?

    Proof? Check donation ratios once you get close to the C-suite.

    Or, perhaps this is captialism at its finest? Everyone out for themselves, no rules, let the market sort it out, etc. I mean all that has to happen is that a few bad apples have to send the economy on to the brink of collapse. We know not to buy from them anymore.


    Regardless of politics, it is unfortunate that the MBA students we need the most (the ethical ones) aren’t able to compete with a level playing field

  10. Keirmeister says:

    The part of the article about cheating was a very smart part of the overall piece. Not to condone cheating, but in the statistic, what is the actual breakdown of cheating behavior?

    In academia, there are many forms of cheating, all prohibited, of course, but definitely in various degrees of severity – the same way a petty crime and a felony are both still crimes. I would be curious to see what the actual breakdown is.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    Jim Cramer has an MBA, right?

  12. savdavid says:

    Cheating is cheating, period.

  13. Radi0logy says:

    The thing I find funny about this kind of article is that my fiancee, who happens to be Chinese, confided in me that in China, specifically in the college entrance exams, cheating is rampant and apparently both kind of ignored and necessary.

    I thought it meant they wouldn’t be that successful in school here until she came over and made a 3.96 overall GPA on her B.S. degree :P Oh well. So much for theories.

  14. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    One of my professors had an interesting conversation with a colleague one day, and he told us the story one day in class.

    The two of them were discussing their testing methods. When my professor’s colleague asked him about his honor code sheet, my professor laughed and said there was no logical reason behind the honor code because if a student has his/her heart set on cheating, they’re going to sign the honor code sheet without any kind of guilt.

    OmniZero: I agree that sometimes the workload can be too much…but there’s also the question of “how do you define ‘too much'”?

    Most of the time, I think students simply are unwilling to allot enough time for actual studying and work. A good education doesn’t mean you can stay out until 5 a.m. and get up for a test at 8 a.m. and still get an A. It means you are in the library, studying as long as it takes for you to know the material well enough to get a good grade. I’ve known so many students who would be straight A students if only didn’t settle for ‘good enough.’

    And sometimes a student has to work while he/she is in school, which makes it extremely difficult to study. But none of this is an excuse for cheating. Not being able to handle it is never an excuse for cheating.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Teaching philosophy, I find my students cheat primarily for two reasons: They’re lazy as shit, or they don’t understand how or why to do what I’ve asked (research and citation). If I explain what I’m after and why they have to do it that way, most are willing to at least give it the old college try. If they don’t get it, they just fill it in with fake cites at the last second. I don’t worry a lot about cheating because it’s all subjective assignments — and I think the prof who doesn’t bother with the honor code is right: if they’re going to cheat, they’re going to lie and sign the code.

      But then, it’s hard to cheat in a philosophy class short of plagiarism, which is dead easy to spot.

      • floraposte says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): I would add the cross-cultural element here as well–that students who are accustomed to a more broadly cheating culture may not grasp that they’re in a situation where it’s not the norm and it’s not accepted.

        However, my favorite was a student who self-plagiarized–her second short paper was the first short paper with a global search and replace to change the topic word. That would fall under the lazy category. Plus the “Are you kidding me?” category.

    • Anonymous says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:
      Funny thing is, I actually went to college (Stanford) because I wanted to learn things. I partied when I wanted to, studied when I wanted to, did not get inflated grades – and didn’t much care. I did not go to medical school or law school. which works out because I did not want to pursue those professions.

  15. AfraidOfVelcro_GitEmSteveDave says:

    My old High School lacrosse coaches father did a study for Rutgers that found that people who cheat and get away with it, will continue to cheat later on in life, or something along those lines.

  16. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Its not cheating but I think its bogus that students can enroll in MBA programs without ever working a day in industry. How can they apply the concepts if they go straight from their undergrad programs into an MBA program? I’m a fulltime professional and a part time MBA student. I don’t need to cheat as I can learn many of the concepts simply by applying them at work everyday.

    • 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I agree with that completely. When in a class with people with and people without real work experience, it is obvious who didn’t work. They may be very intelligent, but they cannot contribute or add value to the class in many cases.

  17. mac-phisto says:

    listen, you guys don’t know what you’re talking about. it’s not cheating; it’s capitalism at work. as a future MBA candidate, my potential worth is what – $20-25k/hr (assuming the industry-standard $50 million payche…err, bonus). if i can pay someone $1000 for a decent dissertation, well that’s just being efficient. doesn’t america want efficiency in business? & if my whole class gets together & outsources our projects to 3rd grade pakistanis, well that’s globalism & economy of scale at work. see, it’s not cheating – it’s part of the learning process.

  18. mac-phisto says:

    oh, & for the record, that’s not even how you cheat a rubix. everyone knows you peel the stickers off. DUH!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I live with a couple or roommates that are still in college. When their friends come over they tend to talk about how they are going to pass the next test or finish the next paper.

    They are always talking of copying work and using a paper with tiny writing hidden somewhere during the test. They all seem to speak of it as just a normal thing and that most of the students they know do the same.

    Maybe I’m old school but, WTF. Is this how our students are making it through college these days?

    It is no wonder there is so much crap going on with our economy if people were just cheating through school and people are willing to cheat just to make money… *sigh*

  20. I_am_Awesome says:

    Cheating is rampant in every major. Anyone who doesn’t realize that either didn’t go to college, or doesn’t know what is considered cheating.

    • dtmoore says:


      I dunno, I never cheated, I’m not sure how you cheat on a bubble test. Sure I crammed, took the test, and then all that info was gone forever. A lot of the higher level classes were all project based, and you couldn’t really cheat on those either.

      But I guess it depends what you consider cheating, I certainly made good use of resources :D

  21. pbj_sushi says:

    I definitely use spell-checker “regularily”. I suggest you start…

  22. HogwartsAlum says:

    Cheaters never prosper!!!

    Oh wait….

  23. Erwos says:

    As a current second-year MBA student at a smaller state school, I am disappointed, but not surprised.

    A lot of people in MBA programs are just not cut out for them, and a fair number who are are scumbags to begin with. Combine that with a relatively difficult curriculum, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. I’ve had to call out classmates regularly for plagiarizing and not citing sources. It’s not like they don’t teach you ethics here, either, we’ve been through at least two different books on the subject since I’ve been here.

    Some of this can be directly attributed to the business schools. It looks good to have a zillion people apply, but not get in, to your school. It looks crappy when you’re tossing out 50% of students for cheating. Ergo, they turn a blind eye to it to pursue better rankings.

    That said, I also don’t think MBA school is what makes cheaters out of most of these people. At worst, it’s a situation where they discover that they _are_ cheaters, and act accordingly.

    I don’t cheat, although I realize that the source of that statement may render it unreliable. :) If the answer I decide on is wrong, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I sure wouldn’t want to trust one of my classmates (who might be an idiot) for a new one.

    • Garbanzo says:

      @Erwos: I’d think it would do great things for a school’s reputation to toss out 50% of the students for cheating. It would instill confidence in the brand. If you hired someone who graduated from such a school, you would have more confidence that they really are capable of the work.

      • Erwos says:

        @Garbanzo: That’s not how the press would report it. It would be “huge cheating scandal” and ruin the school’s reputation, because everyone else would simply pretend they don’t have the same problems. Nice idea in theory, wouldn’t work in practice.

  24. ilves says:

    I just started a part-time MBA program, so far I haven’t seen cheating, but that doesn’t mean anything as its still mid-way through the first semester and I don’t spend that much time with anyone there. Also, I’d think full-timers would cheat more as their grades have a bigger impact on their future employers, part-time students already have jobs and just need to get through the classes.

    But honestly, so far, I’m at a fairly top ranked school (top 10 ranking wise) and the workload is pretty miniscule, so if someone needed to cheat to pass they shouldn’t be in the school to start with.

    • Erwos says:

      @ilves: Give it a few semesters. It ramps up. You’ll also get a chance to work with more people, which increases the chance you’ll run into a cheating loser.

  25. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    ilves: I’m not understanding your rationale about part-timers vs. full-timers. Don’t both sets end up finishing the program and get the same degree anyway? And also, just because you already have a job, doesn’t mean you’ll keep it. Just saying…with the way things are going, it’s very possible some people won’t have jobs soon and they’ll be in the same boat.

    It’s just a matter of the full-timers not needing to work or only working part-time while the part-time students work full-time? You’re both on the hook for this degree, and you both need to do well. Isn’t the allotment of time fairly equal in that the full-time student only works part-time and the part-time students only works full time…

    I’m just not understanding how full-time students somehow cheat more, when it seems they have the same amount of time in proportion to their course load as part-time students have in proportion to their course load.

  26. RandomHookup says:

    The biggest cheaters in B-school usually end up being the asswipes on a team project who don’t show up until the day of the presentation and get the same credit.

    Actually, it’s a lot like real life.

    • j-o-h-n says:

      @RandomHookup: They we had an ass like this in my senior engineering design class — when he got up with the rest of us I just said “Um, who are you?” When he started trying the ol’ B.S. routine I was just so happy when the prof told him to go sit back down.

    • johnva says:

      @RandomHookup: I wasn’t a business major (in an engineering discipline, I had a pretty low opinion of most of the business students, based on personal experience). But in my major, we had a couple of asshats who always tried to do that and coast through on other people’s work. I was aware that one of these guys was on the verge of failing a course that was required for graduation after he already had a job lined up, etc. We finally got pissed at him never showing up for our group project meetings, etc, so we went and had a “chat” with the professor about him (I knew the professor well, so he trusted me on this). He told me that a couple of other groups had similar complaints, and that he would deal with it fairly. Well, what he did was to simply reshuffle the groups so that all the free-riding losers were in a group TOGETHER, and all the competent people were in groups together. It was a brilliant solution, and it made the hard-working groups’ projects even better as we were able to combine the best efforts from each of the earlier groups work. It of course made the lazy guys look like complete idiots in front of everyone, too.

      One of the best moments I remember from undergrad for me. Unfortunately, they still somehow graduated (I think they pleaded for the chance to do extra credit or something). But at least they had to do some real work for a change.

  27. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    I teach in an undergrad business school. Stopping cheating isn’t hard as long as you provide assignments or tests where cheating won’t help. In class presentations are an example. Frankly students can “cheat” all they want to get content for their presentation. I don’t care. But when they have to stand up and deliver them to students and answer 5-10 questions on the spot, cheating isn’t going to help them that much.

  28. Mr_Human says:

    Aren’t some of our greatest business leaders and innovators _not_ MBA graduates? I’m thinking Apple and Dell (before he handed over the reins, JetBlue’s Neeleman.

  29. tworld says:

    Then, with their MBA’s in their lying little hands, they head for Wall Street and join the Republican Party.

  30. iowahighlander says:

    My wife used to work for a university bookstore and the MBA students are the worse ones to come in for a course packet. Every semester she would get a call from the dean saying that X student was unable to get the “Harvard Review” article they needed. So, unlike every other student on campus they felt that it was more appropriate to bug the dean instead of asking the workers at the store to see if they had come in yet. Brilliant!

  31. ianmac47 says:

    A friend is a graduate student at NYU; part of his stipend requires him to work as a teaching assistant grading papers. Many of his students are business students. Not only are they unable to write coherent sentences, most of them end up plagiarizing essays. Of course, stealing other people’s work is probably more productive in the business world then actually writing a sentence.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @ianmac47: “Of course, stealing other people’s work is probably more productive in the business world then actually writing a sentence. “

      I know you’re being snarky, but this is actually an interesting point. A lot of academics teach *as if they’re teaching a classroom full of future academics*, when in fact only the tiniest percentage of students will go on to do that.

      I teach one particular business ethics class that’s part of a direct-entry career program, and I have my students write their case studies in a more memo-like format. (Not a formal memo, I always thought that was sort-of lame, but outlining the issues more briefly in a summary format, using bullet points, etc.) Some of my colleagues are APPALLED that I don’t make them write formal academic essays using MLA citation because, “HOW ELSE WILL THEY LEARN TO DO IT?” But that’s kind-of stupid — the point is for them to learn the ETHICS, not how to write a kind of paper that they will never, ever need to write in their lives, or a citation system they will not use in their career path.

      I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my students tend to score better on the exam and write more ethically-complex analyses.

      I’m not all about coddling students, but I do think sometimes professors don’t stop and think clearly about the goal of the course or the overall curriculum.

      • Ragman says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): I was glad when I took my Professional & Technical Communications course that the prof was more concerned with the body of our work than how technically correct the citation punctuation was. She made sure we could actually present something in the workplace.

        “but I do think sometimes professors don’t stop and think clearly about the goal of the course or the overall curriculum.” Our required ethics class used to be a standard intro ethics class that wasn’t focused on engineering and computer science. They changed it around, so that when I took it last year, we quickly covered the basic concepts, then launched into hacking, digital piracy, nanotech, computer intrusion, privacy, biotech, genetics, etc.

        One thing I have noticed is that there tends (not always, but VERY common) to be a distinct difference between my engineering profs who never went into the real world vs those who retired from industry and started teaching. All are PhD’s, but the ones who never left academia tend to be “memorize everything” for the test, the test will “cover everything we’ve gone over”, let’s do LOTS of math, “I expect you to work all of the problems at the end of the chapters”, etc. The ones who worked 20-30 years as engineers then come back to teach are more along the lines of “don’t memorize all that, write it on your cheat sheet”, “here’s what I want you to focus on for the exam”, or “you can read the text, but if you pay attention in class, I’ll show you an easier way to solve it”. All are genuine quotes I’ve heard in class.

        • johnva says:

          @Ragman: While I do think there is a difference in general outlook and style between “academic” and “practice-oriented” professors, I also think that both of those things have their place and are valuable in their own right. I don’t particularly think that memorization is very useful when you would just look up everything in a reference anyway in the real world, but not all of education is meant to be directly applicable to “real world” jobs. Some of it is meant to shape your thought processes, etc as well. It’s important to learn to be practical, but it’s also important to learn the mathematics and theories, etc on an abstract level.

          • Ragman says:

            @johnva: My classes are pretty much all theory and math on the abstract level (I am an EE major).

            My Prob & Stats prof was an adjunct who worked in cellular communications. He would give us some examples of how the theory was applied in his job so we could relate the text to current technology.

            And to clarify, I’m back in school for a second BS degree – I’ve worked several years in engineering and software development. I’m not fresh out of high school anymore. ;-)

  32. Jubilance22 says:

    @JPropaganda: I studied chemistry at a large 4 year university, graduated in 8 semesters (no summers) and still had plenty of time for road trips, the bar and parties.

    I think most students nowadays are idiots who have always had everything handed to them. These little whiners need a dose of reality. Not everyone will excel, and coming to class and doing the reading isn’t enough to get you an A.

  33. Snaptastic says:

    I would blame laziness–it is not difficult to actually read through your course materials, find some other pertinent materials, then sit down and hash it all out. Hell, I wrote most of my papers partially inebriated (yes, I would spell-check before submitting it).

    Granted, I went to the AF Academy for my undergrad, and if they catch you cheating, you can very well be kicked out of the school for what they deem as “an unacceptable level of integrity for a military officer”. I never really even cheated in high school (in Mississippi, and most of my peers were idiots), but the AFA’s mindset makes it pretty clear that cheating can make you lose everything–so not even for my MBA coursework did I even consider ripping anything off.

    Ironically, despite all that work, I never did care to enter any career field that actually made use of my MBA. I like management theory, but in practice it is usually completely ruined by the idiots in positions of power. I drifted towards air traffic control–where I can see instant results and have only myself to blame if I screw things up.

  34. Subsound says:

    Of course students cheat! People don’t reward you for learning, they reward you for regurgitating memorized facts and not application of those facts. Learning usually requires not doing things 100% right sometimes, but the only thing people look at is the end result. Go find an employer that can look at a bad grade and not care if you learned something.

  35. CrowMignon says:

    In my experience the 56% figure indicates that around 43% of MBA students lied on the survey…

  36. xkevin says:

    Cheating is the direct result of ineffective professors. There’s no point to a lecture if everything comes straight from the textbook. Its all become a complete joke. Professors pick a textbook they get for free from the publishing companies, regurgitate the stock PowerPoint slides from said book and use the test bank for exams. How can you expect students to show effort if most of the professors don’t?

    Business school is weird in that you can potentially have a professor who is a “career academic” meaning they never worked a day in their life. Ha!

    I can’t count on 1 hand the number of professors I’ve had that actually cared. Unfortunately it seems to be getting worse…

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @xkevin: Somehow I suspect you have no concept of the amount of effort that goes into prepping a single lecture.

      • xkevin says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): Sure I do…
        Step 1: Pop in CD
        Step 2: Find PowerPoint for current chapter
        Step 3: Copy it to flash drive
        Step 4: Head to class

        But all kidding aside, college professor is a sweat career, especially if you don’t care. It amounts to essentially a part-time job; plus you get tenure!

        Not saying all professors are bad but the more classes I take, the less good ones I find.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I’ve been reading studies like this for years in which business majors cheat the most . I know we go through periods we business is the most popular major as well so that may account for SOME of the statistics .

      And this also explains why so many in business have the ends justify the means attitude . They figured they cheat so why shouldn’t you . That’s why so many in corporate management rename cheating as ‘ do what ever it takes to get the job done ‘ . Especially once they are in a position of power .

      @xkevin: Yes the degree or major does not get the respect it deserves . I’ve worked in a company with atrocious management and knew a guy going for a business BA at the time . He would ask his professors about many of the policies and practices : the professor’s response – that’s normal ,that’s about any where you go . And yet I’ve seen management severely disciplined for the same stuff in other major corporations .

    • johnva says:

      @xkevin: I don’t agree that cheating is a direct result of ineffective professors. The practices you describe are a problem, I agree, but they aren’t the main cause of cheating. I think the real cause is a general entitlement mentality. Students have just gotten used to being patted on the back for mediocre work, and can’t adjust to an environment where they actually have to work hard to get good grades. Many respond to that by remaining lazy and cheating rather than actually putting in effort. This seems to be a general problem with rich societies.

      Moreover, in the “real world”, we reward people who lie and cheat handsomely instead of punishing them. So lots of people learn that they should do this to get ahead. Combine that with a mentality that school is nothing more than something that serves as a roadblock you have to pass to get that high-paying job, and it’s not so surprising that many losers decide to cheat.

      I’d really like to see a focus by employers on hiring people with ethics and honesty. For example, they should ask detailed questions about ethical situations in interviews, and ask candidates to explain WHY something is wrong beyond just “it’s against the rules”. If your ethics is based only on “following the rules”, then it’s a short jump to thinking “there’s no problem if I don’t get caught”.

  37. White Speed Receiver says:

    Question for the mob here: I’m an honest person (for an accountant…). When I start the MBA program I was accepted to, will that make me some sort of Andy Dufresne type?

  38. Anonymous says:

    As a graduate of a top MBA program, I have to say that many of the commenters are biased and misinformed. Did cheating happen in my program? Absolutely. I’m not arguing with that – in fact, the statistics are probably pretty dead on.

    What’s more interesting, I think, is to examine why these MBAs cheat and how far they make it in business later in life. I was in a marketing program, where GPA wasn’t revealed to hiring companies and therefore most of my marketing classmates and I didnt cheat, but just tried to get as much as we could out of our classes. I didnt worry about my grades, but worried about picking up knowledge and skills that I could use in a future job. After all, I was there to get a better job.

    However, although the school did not share grades with hiring companies, some industries, such as consulting and investment banking required interviewing students to provide their GPAs. And companies set a bar and didn’t include students who didnt have stellar GPAs.

    In my opinion, that is just dumb – of course some people are going to cheat in order to get the interview.

    But maybe the biggest issues is that companies hire, and more importantly, promote people who regularly cheat. It’s not like someone is going to cheat in school and never do it again. And some companies look for that – people that “solve problems” and dont ask questions. If those are the people that get promoted in a company, it seems to me that the company is at fault.

    The only way to stop the rampant cheating would be for companies not to rely on GPAs for interviews, but on work experience, drive, enthusiasm and true knowledge of business. It’s a lot harder to interview for those skills, so many companies won’t bother.

    • johnva says:

      @PrimaveraDingo: I totally agree; I think it’s a systemic, society-wide problem. It’s the fault of unscrupulous employers almost as much as unscrupulous students. But I have to partially disagree that using a metric like GPA just encourages cheating. I don’t think that’s really true assuming that the college they go to has strict ethical standards on grading and doesn’t inflate grades too much. I know that at my college it was VERY difficult to maintain a high GPA (I believe it was only like 7% that graduated cum laude or higher, meaning that they got a 3.6 or higher GPA over the 4 years). So if someone had a 4.9 GPA from there, it was a pretty good bet that they were quite stellar. So I do think that some schools do manage to relatively effectively prevent cheating from being such a benefit to that metric.

      A bigger issue is comparing GPAs from different schools. I don’t think they are very comparable at all, and to understand that a company really needs a good HR department that is experienced with hiring graduates of specific schools.

      • Ragman says:

        @johnva: My school changed the Latin Honors formula b/c some of the schools had pretty high rates of honors graduates when it was based on a fixed gpa. It has been changed to an average based on the top 15% gpas from the previous 6 semesters, and is done for each individual college in the university.

        • johnva says:

          @Ragman: Yeah, I don’t think that GPAs are comparable between different majors even. Some majors are much harder, and much more work, than others. For example, I respect someone who graduated with a 3.6 GPA in the math major much more than I respect someone who got a 3.9 in elementary education, because it’s simply much, much more difficult. There is a reason that when I was school a large percentage of the football players and basket players were religion majors (least courses of any degree offered) and very few were engineering or hard science (lots of sequential course requirements).

    • johnva says:

      @PrimaveraDingo: Or more succinctly, if your metric isn’t adequately separating the losers from the achievers, you need to make your metric harsher so that it’s harder for cheaters and fakers to compete.

  39. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    In the interest of the article’s picture, if you want to pop out the pieces, rotate a face 45 degrees and pry out the center squares. By far the easiest way to do it.

    On another interesting Rubik’s note: if you hate someone, take their cube and do the above trick to pop off the edge cube. Then flip is around and reinsert. Scramble it up and give it to them. It will now be impossible to solve.

    I’ve had many years of assholery behind me and this is my favorite for messing with smug jerks that can solve it in under 5 minutes.

  40. Tzepish says:

    “…56 percent of all M.B.A. students cheated regularly…”
    “…students believed everyone else was doing it.”

    They were right!

  41. acwatts says:

    I don’t buy it. I’m an MBA and I don’t recall knowing about anyone cheating. I never did. In fact, I think that the way most assignments for decent MBA programs are set up cheating would be pretty hard. The profs don’t have “cookie cutter” assignments – even with the internet it would be nearly impossible to find a quality paper that really fits the coursework. I guess it would be possible to cheat on a test, but that would be quite a risk. For the most part it would be like trying to cheat on a math test – you could write down the formulas but that would really only help you if you knew how to apply them, which is 95% of the test anyway. I guess my point is that even if I had wanted to cheat, and been looking for ways to cheat, in the MBA program it wouldn’t have worked 9 times out of 10, and it would have been super risky. I don’t buy this…

  42. L33tminion says:

    in other words, students believed everyone else was doing it

    And, evidently, they were more or less right.

  43. battra92 says:

    Maybe I should go back for that MBA after all. It shouldn’t be that hard if I can cheat.

  44. INsano says:

    Well an economy based on buying X for as little as legally possible and selling said X for as much as legally possible has a daunting task ahead of itself if it wants to call itself moral or ethical.

  45. Chris Tex Holcomb says:

    This reminds me of an anecdote in Freakonomics, where a bagel salesman would leave bagels out in office buildings, and have the customers pay on the honor system. Turned out that the executive floors never fully paid for their food. The bagel guy assumed some sort of sense of entitlement on the part of the higher-ups, that they felt they had no obligation to pay. The author proposed the hypothesis that being willing to cheat on transactions got them their positions in the first place.

  46. RogueWarrior says:

    It boils down to the fact that personal responsibility should be on the endangered species list. It starts from a very early age. Snot-nosed brats who get away with crap eventually expect to be able to get away with crap which eventually morphs in to what they consider normal behavior. The inappropriateness of treating someone like dirt just doesn’t enter their feeble minds. Eventually, climbing the corporate ladder on the backs of others who actually work hard and create things is considered normal. And then they steal some nice guy’s girlfriend, knock her up, she pumps out a few more snot-nosed brats who are then practically taught to treat other people like dirt.

    Solution? Thin the herd. Start with the Ship B people first.

  47. u1itn0w2day says:

    I think the major itself seems to attract those who do not want the rigors of something like science or law . I think many underestimate and under rate the major .

    Let’s face it . Most attend college for a better shot at making more money . Wouldn’t it be naturual for a business school to attract those who really want to make alot of money . They have their eyes on the prize but not the road there .

  48. James Rideout SR says:

    Take it from someone who has been around for 75 years. Cheating will get you no where in the long run. All cheaters are found out at some point and with most their life is ruined by it. There is no one who is disrespected more than a liar and a cheat. You are in this life for the long haul. Honesty does pay off. Cheating may be rewarding in the short run, but your life is ruined eventually. Plus are you fooling yourself, and for what. There is much more to life than making wads of money at the expense of your reputation.

  49. jblaze1 says:

    Maybe they are the most honest and actually admit the cheating more than their counterparts.

  50. Bs Baldwin says:

    A bunch of business majors cheating and lying, I am shocked!

  51. Skrpune says:

    cheating IS rampant, but “everybody is doing it” is no excuse. There are times when it becomes quite apparent that you’ve spent more time on developing cheat methods than on actually LEARNING & STUDYING.

    I’m going for my second bachelors (computer science) right now, and I do see some fellow students struggling. But if they resort to cheating, then they won’t learn the material, or they’ll end up in a career they have no aptitude for. Many of my fellow students complain that the teachers are going too fast or that the materials are too hard, and I can’t believe it – I’m thinking it’s too easy and they’re going too slow. Sigh. I think some students have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to make it through college. You have to do much more than show up and take a test every now and then.

    Also, cheating in IT certification exams is beyond rampant right now, but thankfully there are often technical interviews that weed out the cheaters, or they get found out shortly after being hired for not having the skills they were supposed to be certified in.