Ask the Ethics Officer

Dear Ethics Officer:

I have classmates who share their notes and work on practice exams together.  I sometimes use these materials to study for exams but I don’t feel comfortable sharing my own notes with others.  Is this fair?  Am I ‘cheating’?


Fair Practice

Dear Fair:

As students, we are always looking for a little extra help.  However, we are attending a b-school that educates ethical business leaders so it is important to understand how sharing notes could be helping or cheating.

First, if a professor says there is to be no discussion about an assignment, any sharing would be cheating.  UST does not rank order students for a reason–to foster a sense of community and cooperation.  It’s ok to share your own notes with others (but don’t share notes of another student with other classmates).  If you do not feel that your notes could help people or if you are just uncomfortable sharing your notes, then offer to help in a study session on a specific concept that you understand.  The UST community thrives because we all give to each other and taking without giving back would be considered ‘unfair’—but not necessarily cheating.  So share, support, and learn from one another!  It’s what our kind of business is all about!

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is the viewpoint of the author, not necessarily the viewpoint of the University of St. Thomas.  All situations can be viewed differently, and the above response is one viewpoint to consider, but does not represent the only viewpoint.

Sara Christenson is the UST MBA Student Association Chief Ethics Officer