You’re a grownup – you don’t need to be told that lying is wrong…or do you? This kindergarten precept often needs reviewing when MBA applications roll around. Even the most honest of applicants sometimes fall prey to the sinister temptation of the Little White Lie – “Okay, so I worked there for ALMOST a year (7 months) – no one will know if I fudge that a bit on my MBA resume” or “Office Assistant is practically the same thing as Office Manager, right?” – or bigger lies like saying you don’t have a criminal record when you do or changing the data on a transcript or forging a recommender’s name. These are all – big and small – serious no-nos. They are ethically wrong; and if that doesn’t do it for you, try this – they are serious threats to your acceptance, and then success, at top schools and a future career.
Rule of thumb: Say the facts and don’t look back. Your MBA apps are not the place to lie, fib, exaggerate, misrepresent, or even avoid telling the truth. Call it what you will, just make sure you don’t do it.
Here are three reasons why:
- Background checks are likely to turn up any material misrepresentations. When they do, the school will withdraw the offer of acceptance. You will see your acceptance turn into a rejection with the attendant embarrassment and inability to apply to those previously friendly institutions.
- If the lies aren’t caught during the background check, the misrepresentation may need to be perpetuated and could actually come up in the future with even more devastating and shameful consequences. (This happened to someone my husband knew at work as well as to the former head of admissions at MIT undergrad. In the former case, the false claim had NOTHING to do with work or professional competence.)
- There is also the possibility that in the future you will have a conflict or “falling out” with someone who knows about the fallacy. That person can then go to the school or future employer and reveal the fallacy out of spite, claiming that spasms of conscious are driving him to confess. (I have heard of such cases.)
In short: Lying in applications is serious business. Even if you get away with it during the admissions process, it can still have serious consequences way down the line.
Learn how to mitigate MBA profile weaknesses wisely and honestly with the expert tips founds in MBA Application Weaknesses 101.