I don’t think that HBS, or at least some of its departments, trust us. That’s disappointing.
On December 18th, as I looked into what was a basketball court at Shad Hall to see hundreds of make-shift desks and miles of electrical wiring, likely costing thousands in labor and materials in order to facilitate the FRC final, I wondered just what the Honor Code is supposed to mean.
Just a few days earlier I had received a multi-page e-mail from my section’s Ed Rep outlining byzantine final exam procedures that rivaled the federal tax code in sheer complexity. But why?
Some departments have figured it out. Others have not. LEAD got it right. Marketing did too. Pick up your exam. Complete it wherever you like. Sign the Honor Code. Turn it in. Pretty simple. (Finance, as you know, also allows us to take quizzes unsupervised.)
FRC and TOM were another story. Some of you go here. Some there. Bring a disk. Print here. Drop off there. All the while, HBS will be watching, hovering around as if we were inmates in the prison yard.
Oh, by the way, sign the Honor Code before you turn in your exam.
I am 30 years old. I have a law degree. I believe I have integrity. I signed the Honor Code when I accepted my place at HBS. Must I be babysat during an open book exam? If I can turn to page 431 of the FRC text to quote, verbatim, the definition of an “asset,” does my professor need to walk past me periodically to make certain that I’m not on the phone with FASB or talking to a classmate discussing whether or not set-up costs are a depreciable item?
HBS places an Honor Code in all of its classrooms. HBS requires each of us to sign the Honor Code when we enroll and after we take every exam. Why isn’t that enough? If HBS, or, more specifically, the FRC and TOM departments, think that I am dishonest and may cheat on an exam even after repeated signings of the hallowed Honor Code, then perhaps I should not have been admitted.
To teach me about leadership, responsibility, accountability, and empowering those for whom I am responsible-and then to hover over me as I take an exam-is not only insulting and disrespectful, but also suggests that all admitted students are not worthy of trust.