Are the guys at Duke for real?


Oh, come on! Give me a break! So Duke University catches 47 students cheating (read here ) I did my MBA without cheating, but, I think the guys at Duke University just don’t get it. Ethics in business? Please, spare me the BS! I work with US companies all the time, and I hate the double standards so typical of USA!

The fact is most companies in corporate America will find every possible way to bend, stretch, cheat and cajole their way for profit. Is the shoe made in Pakistan by slave workers for less money than what you’ll even dare give to the bum in the NY subway? Hey, that’s a fortune in Pakistan! I mean, seventy five cents a day feeds a family in those places! That’s what I learned in business school after all!

I don’t think students should cheat. That is true aside from the topic they are studying, medical school or business school. But in a world where MBA students grew up reading books praising Arthur Andersen, or the management miracles of Skilling in Enron (“Leading the Revolution” by Gary Hamel comes to mind…) what where we expecting?

Staff at Duke: you’re making great scholars… but the truth behind real business life implies much cheating. Maybe too much to take Duke as a serious – real – place to learn business ways…


2 thoughts on “Are the guys at Duke for real?

  1. What about professors who give finals as take-home, open book exams? While it’s true there are honor codes, etc., it’s wrong to create the ultra-competitive atmosphere found in most business schools and other graduate programs, then put students into a situation like that. In law enforcement, we call it “entrapment.”

    Regardless of what happens to the kids, they need to fire the prof (and, perhaps, the head of the department) on grounds of terminal stupidity.

  2. Dear Digital Zen:

    Thanks a lot for the post! Out here in Panama I get the impression no one reads my blog 🙂

    I agree with you. A take home exam is hardly the right way to manage a high profile MBA program like Duke’s. The professor might as well be as guilty – or more even so – than the students.

    What I meant with Duke in my post, is the expectations that business is a highly decorous, honorable ground, and that students will behave in such a way. Businesses are not always the best example of ethics in human kind. And although I do not endorse cheating, I think Duke is taking the case to extremes by discharging students. In real business life ugly happens, and it happens often.

    Accountants cheat in tax reports. Finance people dress financial statements all the time. Sales reps abuse client’s trust, and marketing borders the line of unethical daily. Consultants are pushed to extremes to maintain customers happy, and auditors agree to stretch to the limits the principles of accounting.

    Duke is in its total right to punish the students for cheating. But the punishment hardly seems fit for the crime, especially in business life, where most companies will never hire an MBA without some degree of business malice.

    Thanks again for the post!

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