MBA students come to PSU

Copy & Paste? Students usually only talk about cheating behind closed doors.

Some do it regularly, with some it's a one-time exception: cheating. Cheating is particularly common when writing essays, seminars and even theses. When it comes to writing the same independently, some people like to use existing texts and ghostwriters to make work easier and save time.

Regardless of whether you are a bachelor, an MBA or a master’s student and no matter in which field of study or in which field of study - you will meet the cheaters everywhere and they pay good money for a stranger to support you in creating articles on a wide variety of topics . This market niche grew noticeably since the beginning of the 20th century and a true army of ghostwriters developed from it.

Of course, it's not surprising that in order to achieve a certain qualification, some students decide every now and then to cheat (a little) along the way. Some of them hire trained writers and have them write completely new research papers on their behalf. Others decide to use existing work and simply copy passages from it - always in the hope, of course, of not getting caught. In such cases, the respective training or professional status is irrelevant.

While there is often talk of an increase in cheating, this is not the case with MBA and Masters graduates - at least that's what Carrie Marcinkevage, the acting director of Penn State's Smeal College of Business, claims. Today cheating is uncovered much faster because business schools now keep a special eye on the work submitted. While the use of technology makes cheating easier, it is also the technology that helps you uncover it quickly.

In 2009, while Ms. Marcinkevage was in charge of admissions, she feared applicants for the Penn State College MBA program would cheat in their essays. At the time, two essays were submitted that contained similar phrases, which made her suspicious. For this reason, the admissions team took a closer look at many more essays and found that 29 of the 360 ​​essays submitted in 2009 were similar in content. This experience not only annoyed the admissions team, but also distracted them from those essays that were written on an honest basis. These events led to the fact that all essays were examined extremely closely for similarities, which was not only time-consuming, but also cast a very negative light on the applicants for admission.

In order to be able to fight the cheating and plagiarism more effectively, Ms. Marcinkevage contacted the company iParadigms, which developed the Turnitin program. This "plagiarism detection software" uses essays submitted in the past and compares them with newly submitted work. Penn State’s Smeal College of Business has been using this software continuously since then and only after this exam are the essays read by the admissions team, which means that the essays are not immediately viewed with pessimism.

In subsequent years, the Smeal College of Business exposed approximately 8% of the essays submitted for each MBA course as cheating, and in most cases these included international students. These events led Ann Rogerson of the Sydney Business School at the University of Wollongong to deal more intensively with the "sham packages". She found out that some of the cheating occurs due to a lack of time and that this leads to applicants letting themselves be tempted by using search engines such as Google to take the supposedly time-saving, but nonetheless illegal, method of "copy & paste" . Ann Rogerson also notes that plagiarism writers often come from cultures where education is more transactional and academic practices are viewed more as data gathering than individual approaches.

While the number of admission cheats has remained relatively the same in recent years, the number of business schools that defend themselves against plagiarism has clearly increased. At the beginning it was only Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, which used the Turnitin software to filter out cheating in the essays, today there are already over 40 international business schools that use it to check the incoming essays for approval.

This approach is good in itself, but it also makes economic sense, because it causes enormous effort to review essays more closely - especially if an MBA or Master's program has already started. In this way, a “plagiarism detection program” for a business school quickly pays for itself and it helps to maintain its good reputation.

So if you want to do something good for yourself not only for the respective approval team, but above all for yourself in every respect, you should refrain from “copy & paste” and write your own essay. And anyway: After all, what could be nicer than looking proudly at your individually achieved work?



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