Should you cheat?

Kato's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 178

Editor's note: SAT scores for all of South Korea have been invalidated because of rampant cheating. Many students are leaving the country to still take the test. More here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014241278873237...

Editor's note 2: SB to anyone that can give a compelling reason as to why you shouldn't cheat (other than getting caught)

My question: Why not cheat ? Prevailing anti-cheat wisdom asserts that a habitual cheater will eventually run out of options and that his misdeeds will eventually catch up to him. In the real world, this doesn't appear to be the case. Morality and afterlife concerns aside, where are the disincentives? Consider the following examples:

Ex. 1) An international student pays someone to write all of his essays in college, majors in Economics/Math, perhaps cheats in that field as well, but eventually embarks upon a career in which recruitment is heavily institutionalized and therefore prone to having leaks in the system. Given that there are banks that hand out offers without actual face to face meetings, there's a high likelihood that this kid completely flies under the radar. It's not like high level English is necessary for making pitchbooks, nor is econometrics necessary for running an LBO model- once he's in, he's in.

Ex. 2) Student pays for someone to take the SAT for him, has his parents write his high school and college application essays, and gets into a target school. Or he disingenuously declares himself to be of Native American descent. He majors in the humanities, finagles his way into aforementioned institutionalized recruiting process through "networking", and never applies to graduate school of any kind, thereby eliminating the need to ever again take a test. Sure, he has to put in the hours, but he's already assumed to be smart once he's obtained the requisite pedigree.

In both cases it is not immediately when, if at all, the cheating that took place will actually manifest itself in some negative way in their career; on the contrary, the effects seem mostly positive- success compounds upon itself and someone that manages to find a job at a prestigious institution from the get go is more likely to move to the next prestigious step than someone that "did the right thing". The idea that "cheating will eventually catch up to the cheater" doesn't really apply because the hardest part appears to be getting in, and things actually get easier as one progresses through the system.

I guess my main question is: in a world where individuals can be born with tremendous advantages and pedigree- wealthy parents, a privileged education and upbringing, pre-existing social networks, and pretty much a job in hand no matter what the hell happens, has your view on cheating changed? Do cheaters really win?

Comments (107)

May 13, 2013

Do whatever you want, just don't bitch if it bites you in the ass. It is a calculated risk.

May 13, 2013

If you do that then don't expect to be treated nicely.

May 13, 2013

this is why we have GPAs and classes graded on a curve to filter these kids (and also retarded/unmotivated kids) out

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May 13, 2013
investmentpimp:

this is why we have GPAs and classes graded on a curve to filter these kids (and also retarded/unmotivated kids) out

Um yeah, you can cheat on those things too.

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May 13, 2013

Never cheat. It may come back to bite you real bad.

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May 13, 2013

imo it will still catch up to them - just not hurt as much as we'd like it to. If a kid doesn't research their paper or solve a problem set on his own, he is not going to be very great at problem solving down the road. As mentioned before, this skill compounds on itself. Sure, the candidate will slave away in IB but I bet you they'll end up bottom bucket for pushing their dogshit analysis they practiced in college. that's a pretty shitty 2 years anyway...

May 13, 2013

The foreign students at my school (mostly Korean) were expert cheats.

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

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May 14, 2013
DBCooper:

The foreign students at my school (mostly Korean) were expert cheats.

Did you go to UC Berkeley by any chance? 99% of the Koreans cheat in classes without getting caught and it's fucking disgusting.

Many of the "professional" fraternities at Cal have rampant cheating as well without ramification. Although there was one person in one of these professional frats who got kicked out of the business school after being caught cheating which surprised the entire Haas community. Didn't lose his SA offer at GS though and will be returning in a few months as an FT analyst despite getting caught. No doubt due to the network.

A lot of the hardcore desperate for IB kids cheat pretty blatantly and do not get caught. Another example is a kid who obviously cheated in one of his classes and all his buddies knew but did not want to call him out to avoid embarrassing him. At the end of the day it's pretty embarrassing because he ended up taking an intern offer at shitty MergerTech Advisors and struck out on IB recruiting during his junior summer and ended up taking a Tier 2 consulting firm despite the rampant cheating.

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May 15, 2013
machkatea:
DBCooper:

The foreign students at my school (mostly Korean) were expert cheats.

Did you go to UC Berkeley by any chance? 99% of the Koreans cheat in classes without getting caught and it's fucking disgusting.

Many of the "professional" fraternities at Cal have rampant cheating as well without ramification. Although there was one person in one of these professional frats who got kicked out of the business school after being caught cheating which surprised the entire Haas community. Didn't lose his SA offer at GS though and will be returning in a few months as an FT analyst despite getting caught. No doubt due to the network.

A lot of the hardcore desperate for IB kids cheat pretty blatantly and do not get caught. Another example is a kid who obviously cheated in one of his classes and all his buddies knew but did not want to call him out to avoid embarrassing him. At the end of the day it's pretty embarrassing because he ended up taking an intern offer at shitty MergerTech Advisors and struck out on IB recruiting during his junior summer and ended up taking a Tier 2 consulting firm despite the rampant cheating.

Can you elaborate more on the GS case? I'm intrigued

May 14, 2013
DBCooper:

The foreign students at my school (mostly Korean) were expert cheats.

Last semester in one of my finals there were 7 to 10 asian kids cheating hardcore in the back of the class. I gave a note to the professor in the end of the test and they got ****. Call me a jerk or w/e you want, but the grade was curved

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May 14, 2013
link:
DBCooper:

The foreign students at my school (mostly Korean) were expert cheats.

Last semester in one of my finals there were 7 to 10 asian kids cheating hardcore in the back of the class. I gave a note to the professor in the end of the test and they got ****. Call me a jerk or w/e you want, but the grade was curved

Thank you for doing this. Those cheating fucks ruin it for the rest of us.

May 13, 2013

No, it catches up eventually and every time someone cheats/gets by the ending negative result is amplified.

May 13, 2013

A couple of funny things I found on Reddit somewhat relevant to the thread:

When I dropped out trade school in my mid twenties I decided to just pretend I had a degree from a trade that I was interested in. I also spiced up my resume quite a bit, I knew the trade, its just that I had no spare 2-4 years to study or money to spend, and there basically is no risk to it in my country except getting fired.

It actually got me a decent entry level job and after a couple of years I was working alongside with people who all had college degrees. I got trained by the company getting quite some valuable certifications. After I quit there I switched the trade degree on my resume to a college degree. Backed up by my references, experience and certifications none of the companies I have worked for have ever questioned it. This all over the span of 9 years in Europe, it has been the most important decision in my life. Not really proud of it, but definitively cheating the system, and the salary I could have never wished for with just a trade degree is nice too.

I had a friend who did this. His was in IT.

In 1992 or so, he was a college dropout working at an Egghead software store. We had a lot of mutual friends who were graduating college and starting to do well with the rising tech bubble. Because he hung out with us, he picked up certain terms and concepts, and added with what he knew from Egghead, completely falsified is resume adding certifications, a college degree, and several fake jobs. Then he started to apply for tech manager positions.

And he fucking got one. Well, all of us were shocked, and dubious that he could pull it off. But he did. Worked there for two years, and then went and got a better job, because now he had experience. Year after year, he clawed his way up, jumping from job to job, and having THEM pay for his cert exams ("I need to re-cert, mine old ones have expired"). Then one place paid for him to go back to college. He got his CS degree. Over the years, he replaced all his fake credentials with his now newly-acquired new ones until he didn't have to lie on his resume anymore.

When I last checked, he was working at some place as their Chief Security Officer, making six figures.

I am both jealous and impressed.

And the best one:

I was applying to colleges, and having slacked off all through high school, I was getting rejected from every one of them. I finally applied to a university I had no chance of getting into, and marked down that I was "Native American", though I'm very clearly white.

A month later, I learned that I had gotten in, contingent on me completing a summer in a program for minorities, focused on bringing up their skills and background to their more-qualified peers. I accepted, had a very interesting summer (a whole other story), worked my ass off for four years, and graduated with honors.

May 14, 2013

Interestingly enough similar thoughts have crossed my mind about the probability of success for pulling something like this off.

I think a big part of the calculated risk is dependent on the industry and a person's knowledge of the internal workings of a particular company. Ex/ if you're an external hire in finance there is a higher chance that you'll have to provide an official transcript or proof of graduation etc. vs the contracting example you posted.

What I've realized is that once you're in a company and have a decent history within, there is a good chance you can fudge some qualifications without having it caught up to you (re: suddenly you have a mba that you acheived while working at said company...). But that also means that once you attempt to move externally, there is a good chance you'll have to provide proof unless you've reached a place high enough in the food chain that it could be an insult to ask... (??)

I don't think I'll ever attempt such a risk but it has crossed my mind about the execution and assessments involved to pull it off lol

May 17, 2013

.

May 14, 2013
Kato:

A couple of funny things I found on Reddit somewhat relevant to the thread:

When I dropped out trade school in my mid twenties I decided to just pretend I had a degree from a trade that I was interested in. I also spiced up my resume quite a bit, I knew the trade, its just that I had no spare 2-4 years to study or money to spend, and there basically is no risk to it in my country except getting fired.

It actually got me a decent entry level job and after a couple of years I was working alongside with people who all had college degrees. I got trained by the company getting quite some valuable certifications. After I quit there I switched the trade degree on my resume to a college degree. Backed up by my references, experience and certifications none of the companies I have worked for have ever questioned it. This all over the span of 9 years in Europe, it has been the most important decision in my life. Not really proud of it, but definitively cheating the system, and the salary I could have never wished for with just a trade degree is nice too.

I had a friend who did this. His was in IT.

In 1992 or so, he was a college dropout working at an Egghead software store. We had a lot of mutual friends who were graduating college and starting to do well with the rising tech bubble. Because he hung out with us, he picked up certain terms and concepts, and added with what he knew from Egghead, completely falsified is resume adding certifications, a college degree, and several fake jobs. Then he started to apply for tech manager positions.

And he fucking got one. Well, all of us were shocked, and dubious that he could pull it off. But he did. Worked there for two years, and then went and got a better job, because now he had experience. Year after year, he clawed his way up, jumping from job to job, and having THEM pay for his cert exams ("I need to re-cert, mine old ones have expired"). Then one place paid for him to go back to college. He got his CS degree. Over the years, he replaced all his fake credentials with his now newly-acquired new ones until he didn't have to lie on his resume anymore.

When I last checked, he was working at some place as their Chief Security Officer, making six figures.

I am both jealous and impressed.

And the best one:

I was applying to colleges, and having slacked off all through high school, I was getting rejected from every one of them. I finally applied to a university I had no chance of getting into, and marked down that I was "Native American", though I'm very clearly white.

A month later, I learned that I had gotten in, contingent on me completing a summer in a program for minorities, focused on bringing up their skills and background to their more-qualified peers. I accepted, had a very interesting summer (a whole other story), worked my ass off for four years, and graduated with honors.

This just made my morning.

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Apr 28, 2014

@"Kato" Those stories are hilarious!! People put so much work into gaining degrees/Professional Certs., but the vast majority of companies never request proof haha

May 13, 2013

Its only cheating if you get caught. Until then, its just a secret.

May 13, 2013
The Sour Patch Kid:

Its only cheating if you get caught. Until then, its just a secret.

that. sure you can say at some point in time cheating catches up, but I know a lot of people who are pretty brilliant and yet cheated, but still know the material better than most with no consequences but a higher grade. they only risked getting caught.

May 13, 2013
4thefuture:
The Sour Patch Kid:

Its only cheating if you get caught. Until then, its just a secret.

that. sure you can say at some point in time cheating catches up, but I know a lot of people who are pretty brilliant and yet cheated, but still know the material better than most with no consequences but a higher grade. they only risked getting caught.

yea there is certainly a distinction from cheating yourself vs cheating a BS assignment

May 14, 2013

If you get caught stealing. You're done. I've seen attorneys become homeless after they've lost everything where they live on the streets now. Its humiliating, depressing, and difficult.

"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter"

May 14, 2013

The U.S. Graduate school system is overrun with sub-par Chinese students that can't speak English and that cheats profusely. Yes they work hard. But it doesn't help.

-MBA student

May 14, 2013
SwedishFinancialChef:

The U.S. Graduate school system is overrun with sub-par Chinese students that can't speak English and that cheats profusely. Yes they work hard. But it doesn't help.

-MBA student

Agreed. The majority of the Chinese students that I attended my MSF with had cheated on standardized tests to get in. Its very common for them to take advantage of the time-zone differences, as well as compiling a list of all possible questions & memorizing the answers.

May 14, 2013
Cries:
SwedishFinancialChef:

The U.S. Graduate school system is overrun with sub-par Chinese students that can't speak English and that cheats profusely. Yes they work hard. But it doesn't help.
-MBA student

Agreed. The majority of the Chinese students that I attended my MSF with had cheated on standardized tests to get in. Its very common for them to take advantage of the time-zone differences, as well as compiling a list of all possible questions & memorizing the answers.

How exactly is that cheating? That's how I passed the Series 7. I literally memorized every possible question and correct answer for a month before taking the test and got a 94 on my first try.

May 14, 2013
SwedishFinancialChef:

The U.S. Graduate school system is overrun with sub-par Chinese students that can't speak English and that cheats profusely. Yes they work hard. But it doesn't help.

-MBA student

As an MBA student, I couldn't agree more with this post. I'll say this though, when they get up front to do a presentation... their lack of English ability becomes very apparent and very frustrating to everyone.

May 14, 2013
miz03:
SwedishFinancialChef:

The U.S. Graduate school system is overrun with sub-par Chinese students that can't speak English and that cheats profusely. Yes they work hard. But it doesn't help.
-MBA student

As an MBA student, I couldn't agree more with this post. I'll say this though, when they get up front to do a presentation... their lack of English ability becomes very apparent and very frustrating to everyone.

It is because of this that I wonder what the utility of TOEFL, AWA sections etc is (except of course, minting money for GMAC). Just find out how good/bad they are in the interview.

May 14, 2013

We are quick to blame the Chinese, but do you really think schools don't know? They are more than happy to take the USD the students provide.

Law schools admonish students for cheating, yet are they honest about career prospects when they sign the people up and cash their checks?

May 14, 2013
TNA:

We are quick to blame the Chinese, but do you really think schools don't know? They are more than happy to take the USD the students provide.

Law schools admonish students for cheating, yet are they honest about career prospects when they sign the people up and cash their checks?

Universities are incentivized to allow students to cheat insofar as it benefits the reputation of the school and/or the endowment. As long as the average GPA and SAT of the incoming class increases or remains constant, no one really cares. Sure, some schools might admit to wrongdoing under impending media pressure and because the cost of getting caught is greater than the marginal decrease in the average score, but generally speaking, they will look out for themselves.

I don't think there's a whole lot any of us can do to change the system, though I think a lot of people would have approached things differently if they knew the truth about it.

May 14, 2013

The higher number of times you cheat, the greater the risk you get caught.

May 14, 2013

What's the point in life of being a fake achiever. Part of life is to accept challenges and conquer them.

May 14, 2013
Master Bateman:

What's the point in life of being a fake achiever. Part of life is to accept challenges and conquer them.

I used to think like that, but I have seen too many people lie and cheat their way to the op.

For OCR and for B School admissions, you should see the shit that goes on here. An example : A friend of mine has no extracurriculars at all. But in his CV, he has put in 1 year at an NGO, head of 3 committees at school and organizer of 2 technical conferences. He needed to submit proof for it, so he basically photoshopped, forged signatures and submitted all of it.

Nobody caught him. I asked if he was worried and he said he wasn't, he knew enough people who did it.

May 14, 2013

From my experience, the person who's cheating always seems to lack something (more than the obvious respect for playing by the rules). It could be that he or she is lazy, socially awkward, creepy or simply unsympathetic. It's seldom your average university-Joe that cheats. This makes the expected gain from cheating very low, since the cheating itself implies that the person's character is flawed.

It's like running a regression that's severely heteroskedastic; we know there's something in the unexplained that correlates with our cheating variable.

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May 14, 2013
Kato:

afterlife concerns aside

LULZ

May 14, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
Kato:

BTW here's the second part of the "Native American story. Cheers:

At first, I was worried about what would happen when I got there - would I be kicked out, or harassed all summer for being the only white kid there? In reality, it was a great summer, none of the other kids cared, and the people that ran the program never treated me differently. It was maybe 80% black, 15% latino, and there were even a few white guys that had just lied on their applications like me. I made some great friends there, and the structured nature of the program got me in the habit of studying really hard, something that allowed me to do well for the rest of college.

If you're into this hacking stuff I would recommend going on Reddit, very entertaining (I am not endorsing this by any means):

A teacher I had in high school always said to his students "if you can get away with cheating go for it". Turns out he had gotten a raise for getting his masters degree, but never actually got the degree. This went on for over 10 years before the school system figured it out. Somehow he got hired at a new school too.

If you want to cancel your cellphone contract without paying a fee, pull up the provider's service map. Find a huge hole in the map, like a desert out west. Look for a town name in that map. Tell them you're moving to Putzachateeawaka, Arizona and you want to cancel because they don't provide service there. Boom.

3 times now. 3 times.

Edit: I've done it with AT&T two time, Verizon the other. Last time was AT&T in 2011.

Bonus Cheat for over 1k upvotes:

If you get ticket in DC from an automatic traffic camera, wait three or four months then write a letter saying "I called on A, B, C, X, Y, Z, and I wrote letters on Q, R, S, and I have never received a response. If I am 1) not contacted re: this erroneous ticket this week or 2) the ticket is not dismissed this week, I will be filing charges at X court house."

FYI, there aren't really any charges you can press. But the ticketing is ran by a for-profit company. There job is to ignore complaints unless it looks like you are going to make trouble. I've had 10+ tickets dismissed this way over the past 5 years.

When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn't actually go to. Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.

A simple call to the radio station that sponsored the event got us free passes and access to hang out with and interview most of the bands, including Cypress Hill, Coldplay, Social Distortion and Offspring. Nobody ever caught on, and oddly, nobody seemed to be suspicious of our age.

In the good old days of Black Friday before stores like Best Buy started getting very crafty and clandestine with their deals (8+ years ago) there used to be a slight buffer where someone would leak the sales and the items wouldn't be removed from the shelves. I don't remember specifically but they had a system to prevent you from purchasing then pricematching retroactively. As soon as this happened I strolled on down to Best Buy, took a bunch of stuff that I wanted, and put it in their dryers and washing machines. Basically whatever hiding place that didn't look like it got a lot of browsing or consideration. Then when Black Friday comes: sleep in, head to the store around noon and pull the door busters out of a washing machine.

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May 14, 2013

A gentleman doesn't cheat or lie on his resume.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

May 14, 2013
In The Flesh:

A gentleman doesn't cheat or lie on his resume.

there's a tone of foreshadowing in this comment

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

May 17, 2013
In The Flesh:

A gentleman doesn't cheat or lie on his resume.

..Yes, until he is caught

May 14, 2013

To me, cheating in real life is in the same vein as playing a video game with the cheat codes enabled: Why bother playing at all? Will there be times when someone who cheats achieve success greater than mine? Absolutely. But, to me, there is a fundamental difference between striving for a goal and simply going through the motions. One of the metrics I use to gauge my success is the amount of work that I put into the endeavor.

May 14, 2013

A couple thoughts:

In this day and age if you get caught cheating you're done. People will overlook rowdiness, incompetence etc., but no one wants to work with someone who they can't trust.

Echo the thoughts on Chinese students cheating in US graduate schools. They don't all cheat, but every cheater is Chinese. Furthermore, they don't get what's wrong with it and only feel badly because they've been caught.
It's no secret who these folks are- do you think any other students will want to work with them in the future?

Disclaimer: Ivy league grad student who serves as TA

May 14, 2013

Cheating is actually quite helpful and productive. If someone can cheat the system, then there's obviously a flaw, which subsequently needs to be fixed.

We need more cheaters.

May 17, 2013
betapan:

Cheating is actually quite helpful and productive. If someone can cheat the system, then there's obviously a flaw, which subsequently needs to be fixed.

We need more cheaters.

Cheating=arbitrage
Systems=markets
?

May 17, 2013
tangent style:
betapan:

Cheating is actually quite helpful and productive. If someone can cheat the system, then there's obviously a flaw, which subsequently needs to be fixed.
We need more cheaters.

Cheating=arbitrage
Systems=markets
?

Nah. Cheating = insider trading. "Hacking the system" = arbitrage.

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May 14, 2013

I used to be apathetic to people cheating, but if I catch people cheating now, I report them. I'm sick and tired of people getting ahead of me in life by cheating.

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May 14, 2013

Flatmate just got a ft offer for IB at MS, a large portion of his extra curricular's are completely forged. Another one of my best friends just got a ft Citi offer after claiming that he was through to final rounds for competitors. Citi shuffled their ac attendee's round to allow him to participate and he landed the job. This seems to be pretty typical of applicants at my university, despite the academic altruism that target school students supposedly harbour. Getting your foot in the door = everything

Just one guys opinion

May 14, 2013

Just don't let your wife find out

*ba dump chhh*

May 14, 2013

Act only according to that maxim by which you can also will that it would become a universal law.

- Immanuel Kant

Best Response
May 14, 2013

I take serious, serious issue with the "all questions of morality aside" condition. That's a very poor way of looking at whether cheating is bad (and the fact that we're actually having an argument over this is proof of just how much our society has lost focus of what's important).

If you aren't going to approach work, school, and interviewing with honesty and integirty, you simply do not get it. Cheating is a reflection of how you view all of these things (not to mention how you look at yourself in the mirror). If you consider yourself a rat and want to act like one, then you are one--regardless of how many zeroes are in your bank account.

None of this is directed at you, OP. But to everyone who's saying, "meh, everyone does it, nobody gets caught"--you are being incredibly foolish. Lose the tunnel vision and go about it the honest way.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

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May 14, 2013
In The Flesh:

I take serious, serious issue with the "all questions of morality aside" condition. That's a very poor way of looking at whether cheating is bad (and the fact that we're actually having an argument over this is proof of just how much our society has lost focus of what's important).

If you aren't going to approach work, school, and interviewing with honesty and integirty, you simply do not get it. Cheating is a reflection of how you view all of these things (not to mention how you look at yourself in the mirror). If you consider yourself a rat and want to act like one, then you are one--regardless of how many zeroes are in your bank account.

None of this is directed at you, OP. But to everyone who's saying, "meh, everyone does it, nobody gets caught"--you are being incredibly foolish. Lose the tunnel vision and go about it the honest way.

I admire your sincerity, and thank you for reading and writing, but at the risk of coming across as a douche, I'm going to play some devil's advocate:

1) You say why cheating is "the wrong way of looking at things" and that people should "lose their tunnel vision and go about things the honest way"... but can't really explain why, as if its some self-evident truth. Why, my friend, should the individual voluntarily agree to a lower standard of living, less financial stability, less options for their kids, less respect, and less everything, when everyone else isn't. Look at the article I just posted and at the above examples. People I knew in high school (public) were told that the SAT was a measure of innate intelligence and were therefore encouraged to just 'wing it". If they didn't score high enough, then they weren't as "smart", and less deserving of societal positions ascribed to those that scored higher. Meanwhile, the entire nation of South Korea cannot take the SAT because of so much cheating. So what would could you possibly tell the public school kid when he doesn't get into the schools that he would otherwise have gotten into had he done what everyone else had done, that he now has a stunted career trajectory? That Santa Claus won't bring the cheaters as many presents? Please.

2) You mention being a rat by cheating. But let's just say you're some guy that works hard and long hours for some corporation. You probably see value in "working hard' because of some socially ingrained Protestant work ethic that you've inherited without realizing it, and perhaps on some level you actually fear the long-term repercussions of sin. So you do whatever your boss/professors tell you, you don't get the job you really want, don't really advance within the ranks, and become a model, if immobile, employee at some no-name shop. No one will ever know who you are. Meanwhile, a more pernicious individual willing to fabricate credentials spends less time doing actual work, but gains more recognition, advances higher within society and all else equal, acquire greater social currency, has a better standard of living, and engenders more respect from the vast majority of people. They can even post on Wall Street Oasis, tell people not to cheat, and people will probably listen. Who's the rat?

To be clear, I'm not advocating cheating by any means. Nor do I intend on sounding defeatist. But it pains me to see so many people I know suffer for doing the right thing while many cheat to get ahead, and that no one seems to care nor notice. By pretending that the system is full of rainbows and unicorns you're only perpetuating it.

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May 14, 2013
Kato:
In The Flesh:

I take serious, serious issue with the "all questions of morality aside" condition. That's a very poor way of looking at whether cheating is bad (and the fact that we're actually having an argument over this is proof of just how much our society has lost focus of what's important).
If you aren't going to approach work, school, and interviewing with honesty and integirty, you simply do not get it. Cheating is a reflection of how you view all of these things (not to mention how you look at yourself in the mirror). If you consider yourself a rat and want to act like one, then you are one--regardless of how many zeroes are in your bank account.
None of this is directed at you, OP. But to everyone who's saying, "meh, everyone does it, nobody gets caught"--you are being incredibly foolish. Lose the tunnel vision and go about it the honest way.

I admire your sincerity, and thank you for reading and writing, but at the risk of coming across as a douche, I'm going to play some devil's advocate:

1) You on two occasions say why cheating is "the wrong way of looking at things" and that people should "lose their tunnel vision and go about things the honest way"... but can't really explain why. Why, my friend, should the individual voluntarily agree to a lower standard of living, less financial stability, less options for their kids, less respect, and less everything when everyone else isn't. Look at the article I just posted, and at the above examples. People in knew in high school (public) were told that the SAT was a measure of innate intelligence, and therefore encouraged to just 'wing it"; meanwhile, the entire nation of South Korea cant' take the SAT because of so much cheating. What would could you possibly tell the public school kid when he doesn't get into the schools that he would otherwise have gotten into had he done what everyone else had done and that he now has a stunted career trajectory? That Santa Claus won't bring the cheaters as many presents? Please.

2) You mention being a rat by cheating. But let's just say you're some guy that works hard and long hours for some corporation. You probably see value in "working hard' because of some socially ingrained Protestant work ethic that you've inherited without realizing it, and perhaps on some level you actually fear the long-term repercussions of sin. So you do whatever your boss/professors tell you, you don't get the job you really want, don't really advance within the ranks, and become a model, if immobile, employee at some no-name shop. No one will ever know who you are. Meanwhile, a more pernicious individual willing to fabricate credentials spends less time doing actual work but gains more recognition will advances higher within society. All else equal, acquire greater social currency, have a better standard of living, and engender more respect from the vast majority of people. They can even post on Wall Street Oasis, tell people not to cheat, and people will probably listen. Who's the rat?

To be clear, I'm not advocating cheating by any means. But it pains me to see so many people I know suffer for doing the right thing while many cheat to get ahead, and that no one seems to care nor notice. By pretending that the system is full of rainbows and unicorns you're only perpetuating it.

Point number 2 is a classic straw man fallacy. Who's to say this hard worker can't get the job he wants or advance in the company? Isn't that how most people get it done? And why can't the cheater get caught, shamed and terminated? Of course you're only going to hear about the cheaters that made it.

I've heard enough stories (who remembers Jeffrey Chiang?) of cheaters ruining their lives to completely turn me off to the idea. Maybe some people like to live closer to the edge but I'd get ulcers having to constantly look over my shoulder and worry about if I'll be caught.

May 14, 2013

As a dedicated (and I daresay accomplished) lifehacker, I've been wondering if I should do a post about whether or not hacking a system is "cheating". In some ways I'm persuaded that it is. But look at the example that I gave above.

Would it have been smarter for me to spend four years of my life and the better part of fifty grand in a college classroom to land the same desk in the same bullpen with the same year-end W-2 that my one month of cramming and a $25 study guide got me? I think a lot of folks would say that my hack made better business sense.

But what about when lifehacking goes to the extreme, like this example of wealthy Manhattan parents hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they can cut the line at Disneyworld:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/disne...

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May 14, 2013

this thread is disturbing..."Its only cheating if you get caught. Until then, its just a secret."

"Why, my friend, should the individual voluntarily agree to a lower standard of living, less financial stability, less options for their kids, less respect, and less everything, when everyone else isn't"

yeah why? why not just scam people, do insider trading, all those things to get ahead as long as u dont get caught? well ppl do anyways...

yeah i guess for every1 it's just a risk/reward calculation isn't it

May 14, 2013

Cheating is for the weak who aren't smart enough to achieve their goals otherwise.

@Eddie, taking advantage of the fact that a test doesn't require any actual thinking is not cheating in my book.

May 14, 2013
bengigi:

Cheating is for the weak who aren't smart enough to achieve their goals otherwise.

@Eddie, taking advantage of the fact that a test doesn't require any actual thinking is not cheating in my book.

So having an adolescence full of expensive SAT prep, sleep-deprived acne, no social life, ass-kissing, stress, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity cost is "smarter" than just claiming to be 1/8 Native American?

May 14, 2013
Kato:
bengigi:

Cheating is for the weak who aren't smart enough to achieve their goals otherwise.
@Eddie, taking advantage of the fact that a test doesn't require any actual thinking is not cheating in my book.

So having an adolescence full of expensive SAT prep, sleep-deprived acne, no social life, ass-kissing, stress, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity cost is "smarter" than just claiming to be 1/8 Native American?

Do you always use such extreme examples to prove a point?

May 14, 2013

lol, Kato, that is gold

May 14, 2013

Love it.

May 14, 2013

Why all of these complicated arguments about whether it is good for you in the long run or not? It seems pretty self-evident that cheating, in most situations, is unethical. Therefore, you shouldn't do it, by the definition of "ethical." Of course, people do a lot of unethical things to get ahead. If you're okay with that, do it. If not, don't. Not really much more to it. You can argue that it isn't unethical under your moral beliefs. Okay then, cheat all you want. But arguing that cheating is ethical is a highly difficult philosophical task that I hope you're up for. It's pretty much not accepted in any of the most common views on ethics which is why I don't address that possibility here.

EDIT: Okay, I realize it's a bit extreme saying all cheating is unethical. I'm not one to support deontological ethics. I'm sure there are situations you could imagine in which it would be okay to cheat. I think that in general, people have pretty good intuition on when cheating is/isn't ethical (though they may not act on those beliefs. We do a lot of things we believe are wrong). There's no general principle guiding whether cheating is okay or not. Eh... I guess I pretty much disagreed with everything I just said...

May 14, 2013

wonderful thread, reminds me of my father who is kind of a genius for "getting around rules" thing.

for those interested, here is the reddit thread which was quoted here on the page one:
http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/cx3lm/w...

cheers guys and share your stories
i salute your creativity and intelligence, hats off.

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May 14, 2013

Cheating on be assignments in school really doesn't matter. Obviously it helps your GPA, but that alone won't get you anywhere. If you cheated your way into a job and you suck at it, you'll still get fired. If you're good at it, then they should have hired you regardless.

The bottom line is that you can cheat up to a certain point (I don't care if you do or not, fuck the bs that our school systems make us learn), but you can't cheat your way into success. You can't start a successful company through cheating, can't perform like a BSD at a job by cheating and I would love for someone to try to cheat the market. Tell me how that goes.

Edit: Never mind about the market thing. Look at SAC capital. I wouldn't want to be ole Stevie for all the money in the world though.

May 17, 2013
MindOverMonkey:

you can't cheat your way into success. You can't start a successful company through cheating, can't perform like a BSD at a job by cheating and I would love for someone to try to cheat the market. Tell me how that goes.

I think this pretty much nails it. The fact that there's even a conversation to be had about this is a testament to just how stable and secure civilization is. So long as one is deeply ensconced and protected by the system, it will be possible for some to cheat and never meet any severe repercussions. But notice that there's a subtle difference between people who pretty much learn the stuff and then fudge a credential that they lack (schools shouldn't be asking your ethnicity anyway), and those who "earn" the credential by cheating their way through school. Neither of these is good, but the one who at least has some real knowledge will probably be able to get by in the real world.

The reason to not cheat is because a cheater will get demolished if he ever has to venture outside the system; such as if he tries to start a business, trade on the stock market, or what have you. And sometimes the real world can intrude unexpectedly. I ended up working on aid & development projects in Afghanistan for a few years, and some of the ideas I implemented there came straight from Adam Smith and Carl von Clausewitz. But I had to actually do a lot of heavy reading before I was able to come up with the innovations that I did. If I were the sort who habitually looked for the easy way out, a lot of important successes never would have happened.

Now that might seem totally irrelevant-- probably nobody reading this has any plans to go somewhere like Afghanistan. But wars of choice are one thing, wars of survival quite another; someday, they might attack us. Our civilization is stable and secure, but where do you think it came from in the first place? Competent men had to carve it out of a hostile and uncaring wilderness. Cheaters did not contribute to that enterprise. And our civilization is an island; the world we live in is a fundamentally wild place. A cheater can't survive in it by himself, nor is he a match for somebody prepared for it.

So, don't cheat. If you do, you'll be ground to hamburger should you ever run up against somebody who didn't.

May 17, 2013
Alamanach:
MindOverMonkey:

you can't cheat your way into success. You can't start a successful company through cheating, can't perform like a BSD at a job by cheating and I would love for someone to try to cheat the market. Tell me how that goes.

I think this pretty much nails it. The fact that there's even a conversation to be had about this is a testament to just how stable and secure civilization is. So long as one is deeply ensconced and protected by the system, it will be possible for some to cheat and never meet any severe repercussions. But notice that there's a subtle difference between people who pretty much learn the stuff and then fudge a credential that they lack (schools shouldn't be asking your ethnicity anyway), and those who "earn" the credential by cheating their way through school. Neither of these is good, but the one who at least has some real knowledge will probably be able to get by in the real world.

The reason to not cheat is because a cheater will get demolished if he ever has to venture outside the system; such as if he tries to start a business, trade on the stock market, or what have you. And sometimes the real world can intrude unexpectedly. I ended up working on aid & development projects in Afghanistan for a few years, and some of the ideas I implemented there came straight from Adam Smith and Carl von Clausewitz. But I had to actually do a lot of heavy reading before I was able to come up with the innovations that I did. If I were the sort who habitually looked for the easy way out, a lot of important successes never would have happened.

Now that might seem totally irrelevant-- probably nobody reading this has any plans to go somewhere like Afghanistan. But wars of choice are one thing, wars of survival quite another; someday, they might attack us. Our civilization is stable and secure, but where do you think it came from in the first place? Competent men had to carve it out of a hostile and uncaring wilderness. Cheaters did not contribute to that enterprise. And our civilization is an island; the world we live in is a fundamentally wild place. A cheater can't survive in it by himself, nor is he a match for somebody prepared for it.

So, don't cheat. If you do, you'll be ground to hamburger should you ever run up against somebody who didn't.

Thanks for reading. Responses to this thread indicate two things: 1) cheating happens quite often, and 2) no one can give a compelling reason as to why not to cheat. Kind of sad.
To be more specific to your post, your thesis that cheaters will "get demolished" presupposes two things:

1) There is a dichotomy between what you did and an "easy way out".

2) That the most "successful" people are the most qualified

Neither of these are true.

1) First off, allow me to thank you for contributing to what appears to be a humanitarian cause. I'm not posting to attack people or to advocate cheating, but rather to highlight how weak a lot of anti-cheating arguments out there are. That being said, your example doesn't disprove anything that I've said.

What you're confusing for an "easy way out" is actually an "easy way nowhere"- if you're not actually learning the material and can't achieve whatever goal you're going for, then you're "not out". But that's not to say that there wasn't a more efficient way to do what you did. A true "easy way out" is getting the same result as the "hard way out" through easier means- in your case, Sparknotes, asking someone that's actually read the books in advance, anything to save you time and achieve the same result with less work. Inside the classroom this is considered cheating; outside, it's called innovation. You're still out, you've just attracted the ire and envy of all of the people that took the hard way out.

2) It doesn't take a genius to realize that many in power and with authority aren't necessarily the most qualified and well-meaning- they're simply the best at coming across that way. This can be achieved through a variety of processes, the former by forging credentials, pedigree, connections, and so on, and the latter by having a very insincere facade and discreetly stabbing people in the back. If you're born to investment banker parents, you have the "potential" to become a great investment banker; if you're born to lower class parents, you're clearly only "doing it for the money". Most people don't have the capacity to realize this, and those that do more often than not succumb to the desire to become part of that establishment and will therefore turn a blind eye to any hypocrisies or bullshit that occurs for the sake of self-advancement. Or they fear being labeled as weird.

So, no, I don't think you're necessarily going against the most "qualified" people should you make it through, and no, your actual performance will never be back-tested because what got you there isn't what you'll be doing on the job. It's not like professionals in any industry continually take the SAT and the GMAT over and over again- once they're in, they're done, they're assumed to be smart, and the vast majority of people will not know the better because those that haven't been in the industry will never be qualified to speak on it and those within it will be incentivized to keep their mouth shut about it. And that's my point exactly- if you cheat, you won't be challenged to that extent that you think because a portion of the "successful establishment" has no business being there in the first place.

Geez, that should have been its own post.

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May 18, 2013
Alamanach:
MindOverMonkey:

you can't cheat your way into success. You can't start a successful company through cheating, can't perform like a BSD at a job by cheating and I would love for someone to try to cheat the market. Tell me how that goes.

I think this pretty much nails it. The fact that there's even a conversation to be had about this is a testament to just how stable and secure civilization is. So long as one is deeply ensconced and protected by the system, it will be possible for some to cheat and never meet any severe repercussions. But notice that there's a subtle difference between people who pretty much learn the stuff and then fudge a credential that they lack (schools shouldn't be asking your ethnicity anyway), and those who "earn" the credential by cheating their way through school. Neither of these is good, but the one who at least has some real knowledge will probably be able to get by in the real world.

The reason to not cheat is because a cheater will get demolished if he ever has to venture outside the system; such as if he tries to start a business, trade on the stock market, or what have you. And sometimes the real world can intrude unexpectedly. I ended up working on aid & development projects in Afghanistan for a few years, and some of the ideas I implemented there came straight from Adam Smith and Carl von Clausewitz. But I had to actually do a lot of heavy reading before I was able to come up with the innovations that I did. If I were the sort who habitually looked for the easy way out, a lot of important successes never would have happened.

Now that might seem totally irrelevant-- probably nobody reading this has any plans to go somewhere like Afghanistan. But wars of choice are one thing, wars of survival quite another; someday, they might attack us. Our civilization is stable and secure, but where do you think it came from in the first place? Competent men had to carve it out of a hostile and uncaring wilderness. Cheaters did not contribute to that enterprise. And our civilization is an island; the world we live in is a fundamentally wild place. A cheater can't survive in it by himself, nor is he a match for somebody prepared for it.

So, don't cheat. If you do, you'll be ground to hamburger should you ever run up against somebody who didn't.

well said.

May 14, 2013

If you cheat, be prepared to live with the consequences if you get caught.

I've watched people go down for various things in my past life in the Navy. Drugs, cheating, sleeping with the help, etc...All of them complained like the world was against them when their ways caught up with them. Most people get caught cheating eventually.

So if you're willing to cheat, be prepared for the consequences.

One thing I hated were people who blatantly cheated and expected others to cover for them. That's bullshit. Whoever ratted on someone, good job.

May 15, 2013




May 15, 2013

I don't necessarily condone cheating, but I bet most people on here have a "make that shit happen" attitude. What about people who only cram for tests vs those study for months? What about those who copy and paste all their work?

Ain't nobody helping the smart small town guy who's not connected to his rich fathers alumni.

May 17, 2013

who would you rather employ, a competent person who fudges his resume or a mediocre honest person?

alpha currency trader wanna-be

May 17, 2013
watersign:

who would you rather employ, a competent person who fudges his resume or a mediocre honest person?

Neither.
Edit: what amount of fudge are we talking about?

May 17, 2013
bengigi:
watersign:

who would you rather employ, a competent person who fudges his resume or a mediocre honest person?

Neither.
Edit: what amount of fudge are we talking about?

does it matter? cheating is cheating, right?

i dont get why everyone here is being all uppity and talking about being competent and whatnot....I mean this is fucking finance for fucks sake. Not exactly a field of work known for integrity and honesty. If anything, it's built on greed and dishonesty.

It's okay for a bank CEO to go the traditional route target school -> ib analyst -> ib associate -> md/partner but when they make the laws that allow insider trading, TARP bailouts and whatnot it's not cheating??

alpha currency trader wanna-be

May 17, 2013

All I know is that the golden rule for cheating is ''DON'T GET CAUGHT"
Remember Scott Thompson Yahoo's former CEO fired last year for claiming to have a degree in Accounting & Computer Science when in fact he had a degree in Accounting only!
Although he had years of IT related experience to justify the "qualifications" acquired from Barclays as CIO, VISA and PayPal as Senior Vice president and CTO.....But he got caught eventually..

May 17, 2013

What's wrong with you guys?? Haven't you ever seen the movie Catch Me if You Can?

May 17, 2013

Little background:

I worked on Wall St. for 8 years at 2 diff hedge funds and 1 venture capital fund. Today, I tutor mostly MBA and E-MBA students at various universities throughout the country. I also teach CPA and CFA curriculum at the major providers (like Kaplan). I've had students from all over including Wharton, NYU, Stanford, Northwestern.

In my experience, cheating is rampant at the major universities. At the end of the semester I"m routinely peppered with requests to complete students case studies, take exams for them, etc. I know of several students who hire people to take the exams at the same time as them (ie. sit in their office while the students transmit questions through a wireless laptop in class where the exam is being given).

IMO, I would never hire a single person from any major university without giving them my own personal exam on the spot.

May 17, 2013

There is a big difference between not following the rules and cheating. Cheating will burn you, maybe, eventually, probably not.

Following the rules will just fuck you.

May 17, 2013

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

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May 17, 2013

do a lot of u guys just not see cheating as immoral? i see a lot of reasoning of the form: "dont cheat because it'll hurt u in the long run." what if cheating helped u in the long run, would it be ok then?

for me, i see it as a form of theft, taking opportunity away from someone else who earned it.

May 17, 2013

Here are a few definitions according to dictionary.com.

verb (used with object)
1. to defraud; swindle
2. to deceive; influence by fraud
3. to elude; deprive of something expected

verb (used without object)
4. to practice fraud or deceit
5. to violate rules or regulations
6. to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers.

So there are various degrees of cheating. Are you a cheat if you "violate the rules"? Elude something? Deprive of something expected? For some folks the deck is stacked against them. "The rules" will not hardly allow someone born into the wrong family to make it to high level positions in these financial institutions. Not to say it can't happen, but it ain't gonna as easy as it would for the guy with a MD as a father.

May 17, 2013

do not cheat - not on exams and not in business -- it does not EVER pay off. Having worked for 9+ years on Wall Street I can tell you that cheaters always get their comeuppance one way or another -- furthermore, in a financial system that has been brought to the brink of collapse by rampant self-serving behavior one needs to think long and hard about 'living with yourself' even if your questionable actions are never uncovered --- ethics are sorely lacking everywhere you look and that makes it easier to 'rationalize' bad behavior (basic neuroscience) -- but deep down it is a stain that sticks with you forever -- there were some deals I was involved with that I didn't like and, while not cheating or unethical, seeing the same company later end up in bankruptcy stings - a lot....honestly if there was a single wish I had for all newbies on Wall St it would be to stay true to yourself and your integrity because once you lose it you can never regain it -- and the implications for society as a whole are damning...

May 17, 2013

I think this thread reveals that there are essentially two different types of non-cheaters in this world:

1) People who are outraged at the idea of cheating, who issue ominous warnings of "inevitable penalties" usually accompanied by moral reprimand. More than just chastising actual cheaters, these types are scourging non-cheaters just for not exhibiting similar ethical outrage! It feels a bit disingenuous, perhaps motivated a bit more by envy than by moralism.

2) People who recognizing that some level of "cheating" (whatever your definition of that word might be) occurs, even in an otherwise relatively fair world. These types (perhaps unjustifiably) trust that the "big time" cheaters will eventually be caught or weeded out, and accept that some of their peers may be guilty of piecemeal cheating (which they euphemistically call "bending the rules"). They are mostly accepting of less malicious forms of "cheating" (nepotism, etc.), and may themselves participate in the more institutionalized forms of "cheating" (networking, etc.). These guys come off as more genuine to me, and it strikes me as the "way to go".

Like most ethical quandaries, this discussion mostly turns on your definition of "cheating" and your preferred ethical paradigm (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, etc.).

A much more interesting and ethically revealing hypothetical:

Assume we have an incredibly talented, pedigreed individual. He decides to cheat in a way that doesn't ultimately benefit him in any meaningfully way. He achieves success, entirely due to his legitimate talent and skills.

Two questions, of increasing moral weight:

1) Has he committed a moral wrongdoing, despite the fact that his outcome wasn't affected by his cheating?
2) Should he be stripped of his success, even though he legitimately earned it?

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May 17, 2013
NorthSider:

I think this thread reveals that there are essentially two different types of non-cheaters in this world:

1) People who are outraged at the idea of cheating, who issue ominous warnings of "inevitable penalties" usually accompanied by moral reprimand. More than just chastising actual cheaters, these types are scourging non-cheaters just for not exhibiting similar ethical outrage! It feels a bit disingenuous, perhaps motivated a bit more by envy than by moralism.

2) People who recognizing that some level of "cheating" (whatever your definition of that word might be) occurs, even in an otherwise relatively fair world. These types (perhaps unjustifiably) trust that the "big time" cheaters will eventually be caught or weeded out, and accept that some of their peers may be guilty of piecemeal cheating (which they euphemistically call "bending the rules"). They are mostly accepting of less malicious forms of "cheating" (nepotism, etc.), and may themselves participate in the more institutionalized forms of "cheating" (networking, etc.). These guys come off as more genuine to me, and it strikes me as the "way to go".

Like most ethical quandaries, this discussion mostly turns on your definition of "cheating" and your preferred ethical paradigm (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, etc.).

A much more interesting and ethically revealing hypothetical:

Assume we have an incredibly talented, pedigreed individual. He decides to cheat in a way that doesn't ultimately benefit him in any meaningfully way. He achieves success, entirely due to his legitimate talent and skills.

Two questions, of increasing moral weight:

1) Has he committed a moral wrongdoing, despite the fact that his outcome wasn't affected by his cheating?
2) Should he be stripped of his success, even though he legitimately earned it?

Wow -- I am amazed at your ignorance - but please, go ahead and live with this notion of "cheaters who don't benefit being OK individuals" -- I'll check back in 5 years and see how short-lived your career in banking is..and to answer your idiotic questions -- there is no 'legitimate' cheating -- cheating is cheating and I could care less how you want to bend definitions so that some acts are in a grey area -- it doesn't work that way my friend -- you cheat and you're integrity is lost for good, as is your career -- how you think someone can 'legitimately cheat' speaks to everything that is wrong with young bankers today -- good luck, you're going to need it....

May 18, 2013
exADbnkr13:
NorthSider:

I think this thread reveals that there are essentially two different types of non-cheaters in this world:
1) People who are outraged at the idea of cheating, who issue ominous warnings of "inevitable penalties" usually accompanied by moral reprimand. More than just chastising actual cheaters, these types are scourging non-cheaters just for not exhibiting similar ethical outrage! It feels a bit disingenuous, perhaps motivated a bit more by envy than by moralism.
2) People who recognizing that some level of "cheating" (whatever your definition of that word might be) occurs, even in an otherwise relatively fair world. These types (perhaps unjustifiably) trust that the "big time" cheaters will eventually be caught or weeded out, and accept that some of their peers may be guilty of piecemeal cheating (which they euphemistically call "bending the rules"). They are mostly accepting of less malicious forms of "cheating" (nepotism, etc.), and may themselves participate in the more institutionalized forms of "cheating" (networking, etc.). These guys come off as more genuine to me, and it strikes me as the "way to go".
Like most ethical quandaries, this discussion mostly turns on your definition of "cheating" and your preferred ethical paradigm (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, etc.).
A much more interesting and ethically revealing hypothetical:
Assume we have an incredibly talented, pedigreed individual. He decides to cheat in a way that doesn't ultimately benefit him in any meaningfully way. He achieves success, entirely due to his legitimate talent and skills.
Two questions, of increasing moral weight:
1) Has he committed a moral wrongdoing, despite the fact that his outcome wasn't affected by his cheating?
2) Should he be stripped of his success, even though he legitimately earned it?

Wow -- I am amazed at your ignorance - but please, go ahead and live with this notion of "cheaters who don't benefit being OK individuals" -- I'll check back in 5 years and see how short-lived your career in banking is..and to answer your idiotic questions -- there is no 'legitimate' cheating -- cheating is cheating and I could care less how you want to bend definitions so that some acts are in a grey area -- it doesn't work that way my friend -- you cheat and you're integrity is lost for good, as is your career -- how you think someone can 'legitimately cheat' speaks to everything that is wrong with young bankers today -- good luck, you're going to need it....

Did you even read a single sentence of what I wrote? Obviously not. Where do I defend "legitimate cheating"? I pose a single hypothetical scenario, and suddenly I'm a cheating advocate. I should have anticipated this. I love the "good luck with your short-lived career in banking" comment. That's comic gold.

May 17, 2013

I also think the cheating question also comes up with regard to the whole "pure sales vs the analytical role" quandary. Take two guys. Both equally, and highly intelligent. One guy is more driven by sales, making money, entertaining clients in the skybox the playoffs. The other guy wants to come up with the new algorithm, deeper analysis, and loves "figuring it out". Both paths make each one equally happy.

Now the more sales/business driven guy is going to be less concerned with the details and will to minimize his time "in the weeds". He'll learn what he must, but he's goal driven not detail driven. Not that he's gonna "cheat" but if he can skip some steps, he probably will. For the more analytical guy, cheating is most likely not even in his vocabulary.

Right or wrong I think this is human nature. The proverbial pendulum swings from side to side. Some instances/people are more "get it done at all costs", others are more "wait, let's look at this more deeply". It takes all types.

May 18, 2013

Some of these comments remind me of the debates in Plato's Republic. If you haven't read it (or haven't read it recently) and have some free time on a weekend, it's a great read. Plus I think it completely summarizes the arguments for and against cheating (and a lot of other "immoral" behaviors).

May 18, 2013
WI_Banker:

Some of these comments remind me of the debates in Plato's Republic. If you haven't read it (or haven't read it recently) and have some free time on a weekend, it's a great read. Plus I think it completely summarizes the arguments for and against cheating (and a lot of other "immoral" behaviors).

Plato also believed the material world did not reflect reality -- and his philosophy was at its core, a very simplistic view of the world -- so I don't mean to burst your bubble but 'philosophy of human behavior' was been surpassed by actual science -- specifically advances in neuroscience and the knowledge it has provided on why people make certain decisions (like deciding to cheat vs acting in good faith) -- so a better source would be any issue of Scientific American Mind, Kahneman's 'Thinking Fast and Slow', Gladwell's 'Blink', Hallinan's 'Why We Make Mistakes', Ariely's 'Predictably Irrational' and so on...

May 19, 2013
exADbnkr13:
WI_Banker:

Some of these comments remind me of the debates in Plato's Republic. If you haven't read it (or haven't read it recently) and have some free time on a weekend, it's a great read. Plus I think it completely summarizes the arguments for and against cheating (and a lot of other "immoral" behaviors).

Plato also believed the material world did not reflect reality -- and his philosophy was at its core, a very simplistic view of the world -- so I don't mean to burst your bubble but 'philosophy of human behavior' was been surpassed by actual science -- specifically advances in neuroscience and the knowledge it has provided on why people make certain decisions (like deciding to cheat vs acting in good faith) -- so a better source would be any issue of Scientific American Mind, Kahneman's 'Thinking Fast and Slow', Gladwell's 'Blink', Hallinan's 'Why We Make Mistakes', Ariely's 'Predictably Irrational' and so on...

I didn't say I agree with everything Plato wrote, but his writings (especially the Republic) are a good place to get started thinking about a lot of these issues, and a lot of common arguments which are used today are summarized in his works. In fact, I think that even though his premises are valid and his conclusions are sound in many if not all cases, the final conclusions he arrives at don't have any inherent meaning, even though he acts as though they are some sort of self-evident truths that should be followed. Maybe there is a case to be made that it is actually unethical to NOT steal or cheat in some instances if it would go against your rational self-interest. If I, in some theoretical instance, could steal $10 million and no one would ever know it was me or suspect me, wouldn't it be wrong for me to not take the money, because then I am disobeying the one truly important principle which is my own self-interest (this is of course assuming that me acting in my own self-interest would not more negatively affect me in some way than not acting in what seemed to be my self-interest)?

May 18, 2013

I believe I fall in the category of non-cheater, and frankly, I don't even care too much that other people do cheat--it's out of my control. I don't care to get into a "cheating arms race" just to level the playing field. I live my life as I see fit, and it's good enough to get me to where I want.

May 18, 2013

Ask Bernie Madoff did it pay to cheat? The theme I notice in these posts is change. They cheat to get in the door then get legit to stay in. Most people that get caught stay dishonest and get greedy so it catches up with them. Do I support cheating?? No, yet I understand that most industries aren't playing fair so people decided to join them.

May 18, 2013
sirmurel:

Ask Bernie Madoff did it pay to cheat?

Well, let's think about that for a minute. Bernie's 75 right now, and if we're generous with the numbers he might live to be 80 before dying in prison. So let's say he does 9 years in prison out of 80 - all in. Now let's look at the other 71 years. The first 25 are useless for the same reason they're useless for everyone, so you can subtract those, too. So we've got 46 years of real life for Bernie. At least 20 of those years were spent running his scam, and I'll come to those in a minute. The remaining 26 years he spent helping to found the NASDAQ and one of the most successful broker-dealers of all time. So he was pretty much killing it before the scam and living a great life.

Now he starts running the scam, and his lifestyle goes turbo. He in the private jet crowd, with vacation homes in the south of France, yachts, planes, cars, houses - out of 7 billion people on the planet he's living the life of maybe to top 2,000 for 20 years until he gets caught.

So let's look at the math. He spent 26 years as a successful Wall Street guy with all the lifestyle benefits that go along with that. Then he spent 20 more years living an absolute baller lifestyle that only the minutest fraction of 1% of the human population ever gets to live.

For that he'll spend 9 years, give or take, in prison. So, going strictly by the percentages, I say that Bernie would tell you, "Yeah, it pays to cheat."

Put another way, if someone asked me today if I'd be willing to spend the last 9 years of my life in prison in exchange for idle wealth (jets, homes, servants, the best in life) between now and then, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

May 18, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
sirmurel:

Ask Bernie Madoff did it pay to cheat?

Well, let's think about that for a minute. Bernie's 75 right now, and if we're generous with the numbers he might live to be 80 before dying in prison. So let's say he does 9 years in prison out of 80 - all in. Now let's look at the other 71 years. The first 25 are useless for the same reason they're useless for everyone, so you can subtract those, too. So we've got 46 years of real life for Bernie. At least 20 of those years were spent running his scam, and I'll come to those in a minute. The remaining 26 years he spent helping to found the NASDAQ and one of the most successful broker-dealers of all time. So he was pretty much killing it before the scam and living a great life.

Now he starts running the scam, and his lifestyle goes turbo. He in the private jet crowd, with vacation homes in the south of France, yachts, planes, cars, houses - out of 7 billion people on the planet he's living the life of maybe to top 2,000 for 20 years until he gets caught.

So let's look at the math. He spent 26 years as a successful Wall Street guy with all the lifestyle benefits that go along with that. Then he spent 20 more years living an absolute baller lifestyle that only the minutest fraction of 1% of the human population ever gets to live.

For that he'll spend 9 years, give or take, in prison. So, going strictly by the percentages, I say that Bernie would tell you, "Yeah, it pays to cheat."

Put another way, if someone asked me today if I'd be willing to spend the last 9 years of my life in prison in exchange for idle wealth (jets, homes, servants, the best in life) between now and then, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Idk...he will die alone in prison with a son's suicide on his conscience...I think I would pass on that.

May 18, 2013

^^^LOL

May 18, 2013

You guys can go ahead and cheat all you like. But when you fall flat on your face from the ramifications of all that you've done, don't expect my sympathy.

May 18, 2013

Cheating is not a smart idea if you want an competitive position, since thousands of people want to beat you down while these dirty histories help them a lot. But if you do want to cheat, make sure you get a job that on one knows, joking!

May 18, 2013

Here's another filthy cheater who's paying the price for his transgressions:

Biz Stone: How I Faked My Way Into Google

From his mom's garage to Twitter billionaire. Karma's a bitch, lol.

May 18, 2013

So, the moral of this thread is to cheat. or cheat without getting caught. wait, no. don't cheat. or only cheat a little. or only cheat as much as anybody else is cheating. This is confusing. So there are some people who cheat and get busted. but then there are some people who don't cheat and are successful. but there are people who cheat and are successful also. but there are people who cheat for a really long time, don't get busted, but then get busted at the end.

The easiest thing to do is not worry about whether other people are cheating or not. You can't control it. Just do your thing. As long as it lets you sleep at night. IMHO.

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May 19, 2013

Ok. If I have to give a one line answer, for me,.....don't cheat. Roll up the sleeves, put your head down, and get to work. Cheating creates a void for which you have to work double time to compensate for.

My previous comments come from transitioning to more of a realist from being more of an idealist earlier in life. We'd love to look at life like everything's perfect, but it simply isn't.

Do what you choose, but it all comes out in the wash....

May 19, 2013

Cheating makes you dependent upon other people to some extent so prevents you from being in a F-U position. Also, I've heard enough of these stories where people have trouble sleeping at night - the impact of which is never to be underestimated. You're constantly looking behind your back and at the end of the day, it's not worth your health.

And another point - other people who make the effort would eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner. No one is going to run around crying cheat but when they do see an opportunity to fill gaps, they're going to take it and you'd be left in the bread line. No one wants to carry dead weight. We're living in a global world - a lot of hungry kids out there that aren't cheating. And once there are people who choose that path, cheating rarely works out.

Also, from another perspective for those of you who mentioned Bernie Madoff. Guess who didn't get swindled? The people who were knowledgeable (and confident about) about their ish.

May 19, 2013

The cheating may not catch up to you but the inherent character flaw eventually will

May 20, 2013
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alpha currency trader wanna-be

May 27, 2013
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Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go - T.S. Eliot

See my WSO Blog

Jun 3, 2013
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