On ethics

Avanti M. T'14, October 03, 2012 | 0 comments
Tags: first year

Now that I can breathe after the mad Fall A rush, I'm sitting at a Starbucks in New York contemplating the unique little community that Tuck has, and I cannot be more grateful for the honor of being able to call it mine. The things that some would call Tuck's weaknesses are its biggest assets. In the broadest sense, Tuck is forging the business leaders of tomorrow in a place that's about as far away from big business as one can get. That means several things: students rely on each other and their professors (my leadership professor, for example, is my next door neighbour) for access. When executives visit, they engage with students. Everyone knows your name, you know theirs. This small but incredibly intense academic environment is not just a place where trust is built, it's assumed.
This means it's okay to make mistakes - better here than in the real world - as long as we learn from them. But, far more importantly, it indicates a collective, informal enforcement of the Honor Code.

While battling midterms and finals these past two weeks, I was struck by how deeply this code runs through Tuck's foundations. Most of our tests are take-home, self-timed exams. It's expected we self-regulate and stick to time limits and that we don't refer to our class notes when we're not supposed to. I'm slightly cynical about the human tendency to resist temptation, so coming into Tuck, I was skeptical of what appeared to be a naive testing policy. How wrong I was. It's not naive at all - and it's not because grades matter less at business school than they do elsewhere. I suspect it's because violating the Honor Code has implications beyond one's immediate sphere of influence, even if one isn't caught. Breaking the code shakes something elemental that binds this community together, that makes it sacrosanct. That's why, collectively, we hold each other accountable - dare each other to be better people, and use Tuck as training ground to instigate positive change in the world.

That, in a nutshell, is why I love being at Tuck. I can't wait to get back for Fall B.


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