Harvard Case Study and Plagiarism

Posted: December 21, 2006 in Gibberish Blabber, Management, MBA Ramblings

Yup the pain in the neck finally ceased, hopefully! This by far was the most taxing and the most strenuous term so far (Ok.. now we have only had two terms so far, but what the heck!) The take home from this term was almost proportionate to the number of sleepless nights we spent. (None for me ..Thanks .. but No Thanks !)
We understood the true essence of the Harvard Case Methodology, which was overused to an extent bordering abused in one of our subject. The efforts we were asked to pour in were clearly insane, and there lies the catch, we were almost pushed off the cliff and had we not opened our parachutes (Read Unofficial Co-operative work) we would sure have been dead meat by now.
Something which is really sad is that in our system the profs see that students readily cheat or resort to ‘un-ethical’ means but they don’t see the greater picture that they in fact push us to this point by blindly copying the western system without applying the minimum required customizations.
While a Harvard MBA graduate student spends on an average 4 hours in class (taking 5 subjects) and another 6-8 hours studying doing projects, assignments and so on, an IIM student has to take 6-8 hours of class (taking 8 subjects) and at least about 8-10 hours of house prep after that. This leaves almost no time to even relish whatever are learnings of a day and is more like a mad guzzle which leads to at best an indigestion and at worst a Puke! Not to mention that a Harvard/Wharton/Kellogg student rarely needs to muggify for subjects and here we are made to save humongous amount of data even for social subjects like ‘Ethics’! I really wonder how much ethics we end up learning considering that all we learn is various theories like Piaget and Kohl berg and its pro’s and cons. Some things which are absolutely abhorred from real life significance.
There was a big issue regarding Plagiarism this term in one of the subjects, but what the instructor failed to understand was that he was giving disproportionate workload to the amount of credit hours his subject carried. A two credit course should no way carry a case and two text book chapters to read every day (This requires 8 hours on a conservative note to do), irrespective of his beliefs regarding the importance of his subject. Some people had to pay a heavy price for omitting certain references in their term reports. But there is where the fun begins.
The Faculty actually flunked a number of students for quoting verbatim certain research papers in the term reports even though proper references were provided. His logic goes as follows,”When in a 50 pages report 10 pages are from an external report quoted verbatim, how can I not give an ‘F’ Grade”.
A very simple counter logic that should have worked in any JUST system is that “if a report is relevant it can be quoted end-to-end even if that is all what is contained in the student’s report. After all why should anyone re-invent the wheel. In worst case scenario the instructor may choose not to give any marks to the student on grounds that he did not do any new path breaking work, this would qualify for a ‘D’ grade; but no way an ‘F’. Moreover, the instructor should have made clear that he expects authentic path breaking research work from MBA students for 20% weight in a 2 credit course”
Unfortunately for the students, the IIM system posts more faith in its faculty than in its students and goes to an extent of giving them ‘SACROSANCT’ powers wherein no one has the right to even question him.
I would have indeed loved to get into a debate with the said instructor PROVIDED I am assured that I can speak without fear or favor, and this would in no way have any effect on my grades.
The best part is that the said instructor justified his ‘HARSH’ punishment because a group of this students were caught peeping in another subject quiz. Talk of impartiality of judiciary. I mean, following the same logic anyone who has stolen once should always be punished in the event of any theft in the locality he/she lives. And Does that sound Fair!!
Anyways, as someone said, ‘If Life was fair it would have been as interesting as an algebra Equation!’

  1. Cheetos says:

    Reason For keeping this out of bounds of readers for so long is evident from the context of the blog itself! There is no saying what would have happened had word eached the wrong ears about the content of this Blog post.

  2. Cheetos says:

    Making this post public now that I have graduated and more importantly my courage levels have accentuated beyond the dismal levels of yesterdays.

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