September 17, 2007

Dysfunctional


In my college days, it was joke was that my university will let you graduate if you commit murder, but will not let you if you commit plagiarism. Undeniably, there is a big gulf between taking someone's life and failing to attribute the sources of your work, but I realized the context of the situation-- the university is an academic institution therefore the gravest crime anyone can commit in that setting is to undermine the academic integrity of the institution.

So, why is it that every once in a while we see these headlines in the news: "34 MBA students punished for cheating," "MBAs: The Biggest Cheaters," and "MBA students expelled in wake of cheating incident." Are the ethics of MBA students (including myself) skewed and getting ahead by all means is an acceptable mindset?

Here in the Asian Institute of Management, cheating is classified as "Academic Dysfunctional Behavior". And to be honest, during my stay here so far, the school has communicated to us students that dysfunctional behavior has heavy consequences. I heard of an incident that happened here in AIM a couple years back-- the top MBA student who was set to go as an exchange student in Wharton was not allowed to go and almost getting expelled due to plagiarism. AIM is definitely serious when it comes to dysfunctional behavior.

Based on the student's handbook, AIM handles dysfunctional behavior:

  1. Automatic failing grades.
  2. Verbal warnings.
  3. Written reprimands, which become part of the students’ official records.
  4. Suspensions, for fixed or conditional periods. Although students may be readmitted, the suspension will be noted in the students’ official records.
  5. Separation. Students who are separated from the program can never be readmitted, but will not be noted in official records.
  6. Expulsions. Students who are expelled can never be readmitted. Their expulsions will be noted in their official records.
Hearing of the Enrons and Worldcoms of the world, it supports the notion that getting success at all cost is never the smart option, even on the MBA/school level.

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Quick Note: Speaking of dysfunctional behavior, it's not limited to students. A couple of faculty were suspended for the same "dysfunctional behavior" meted by the institute.

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