MBA Code of Ethics

Members of the Wharton community are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards. The MBA student body has articulated the following guidelines, approved by vote in the Spring of 1989, amended by vote in the Spring of 2005.


The mission of the Wharton School Graduate Division Code of Ethics (“Code”) is to promote the growth of ethically responsible business managers at the Graduate Division of the Wharton School (“Wharton”) through adherence to the highest standards of academic integrity and overall ethical conduct, to develop a sense of individual responsibility on the part of each member of the Wharton community to participate actively in maintaining such standards, to foster an environment of honor and trust within the Wharton community, and to engender respect for the ethical standards of the Wharton graduate. Fulfilling this mission is a collective responsibility of the members of the Wharton community.

While representing oneself as a member of the Wharton community, the Wharton student will maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity. The student will strive for these standards in representations, academic pursuits, and respect for the property and individual rights of others; will uphold the specific principles described in the Code; and will actively support the Code. Standing in the Wharton community will be subject to adherence to these basic principles of ethics.

The Code will be administered and maintained by a Wharton Graduate Division Ethics Committee (“Ethics Committee”), comprised of students chosen to represent their colleagues. Administration of the Code is subject to review by the Graduate Division Administrators and the Wharton Faculty according to the procedures indicated below.

I. Specific Standards

A. Representations
The Wharton student is expected to represent oneself honestly in all oral or written statements. The student will not misrepresent any material fact to other students, faculty, staff, prospective employer, or anyone else while representing oneself as a member of the Wharton community, especially through, but not limited to:

  1. Lying to prospective employers, either directly through oral or written statements or indirectly through misrepresentation of background in resume;
  2. Misrepresenting any material fact on a Wharton application, financial aid form, or other official document;
  3. Lying to a fellow student, a faculty member, or an administrator in order to gain preferential treatment; or
  4. Misrepresenting the originality of one’s work, including failure to cite the contributions of another (plagiarism)

B. Academic Pursuits
The Wharton student is expected to represent one’s academic product honestly and fairly. The student will not use any dishonest method to gain an unfair advantage over other students in academic pursuits, especially through, but not limited to:

  1. Giving or receiving any unauthorized aid on an assignment or exam, including working in groups on any assignment that has been designated as individual by the professor;
  2. Failure to comply with the academic guidelines established by the instructor for assignments;
  3. Continuing to write after time has been called on an exam; or
  4. Submitting for credit substantially the same work done for another assignment either academic or professional, except with prior approval from the instructor. In the absence of clear guidelines regarding an assignment, presentation, examination, or other academic submission, the Wharton MBA student is expected to seek any and all necessary clarification from the instructor.

C. Property
The Wharton student is expected to respect the materials, data, and property of other members of the Wharton community and visitors to the Wharton School. The student will not misuse or misappropriate the materials, data, or other property of another, especially through, but not limited to:

  1. Accessing, removing, or destroying any information, materials, or other property from another student’s or student organization’s premises, locker, computer files or mail folder without prior permission;
  2. Accessing or removing without prior permission, or hiding or destroying any corporate records, files, job postings, or academic materials from the library, the Career Management Office, or any other administrative office;
  3. Divulging or distributing proprietary or confidentially provided information obtained for class assignments; or
  4. Utilizing for commercial gain any material provided to Wharton specifically and restrictively for educational purposes without prior permission of the provider.

D. Individual Rights
The Wharton community is committed to an environment free from discrimination and harassment of any kind. The Wharton student is expected to respect the individual rights of others. Specifically, Wharton students will observe the University of Pennsylvania policies against harassment and discrimination. Any complaint of a violation of these policies brought to the attention of the Ethics Committee will be referred to the appropriate body of original jurisdiction within the University.

II. Standing in the Community

A student who accepts and adheres to the standards discussed above will remain in good ethical standing within the Wharton community. If a student fails to adhere to the Code, the student may be sanctioned only with respect to one’s relationship with the Graduate Division of the Wharton School. Any sanction will be enacted upon the recommendation of the Ethics Committee at the discretion and action of the Vice Dean of the Wharton Graduate Division (“Vice Dean”) or Vice Dean’s designate (“designate”). Any sanction must bear a reasonable relationship to the severity of the breach involved. Appropriate sanctions include, but are not limited to, the following: Letter of Reprimand, Probation, Suspension, and Expulsion; in addition, the Ethics Committee may also recommend grade modification or exclusion from specified extracurricular activities.

If the final determination in a hearing under the Code is in favor of the accused, no record of the complaint or of the related hearing will be made in the official file of the student as maintained by the Wharton Graduate Division. The Vice Dean or designate will render a written decision on the recommendations of the committee in a timely fashion.

III. Administration of the Code

A. Composition of the Ethics Committee
The Ethics Committee will comprise no fewer than nine and no more than eighteen Wharton MBA students elected by the Wharton MBA student body. Nominations for these positions will be accepted from MBA students in the form of a statement of intent submitted to the Ethics Committee. The sitting Ethics Committee will determine the rules for the election, and reserves the right to reject any statement of intent that fails to meet their established requirements. Candidates who receive the most votes in a vote open to all Wharton MBA students will constitute the new Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee will select an appropriate number of Ethics Liaisons (“liaisons”) from the matriculating first-year class during their first semester. These liaisons will assist the Ethics Committee in fulfilling its responsibilities including: fostering awareness of ethical issues in the marketplace; promoting education about the Code, the Ethics Committee, and the Ethics curriculum to the greater Wharton community; and performing other roles designated by the Ethics Committee as appropriate. The liaisons are not members of the committee and shall not sit for hearings under any circumstances.

The Ethics Committee shall also elect from among its members two co-Chairpersons, a minimum of one Code Advocate, and any other officers the Committee deems necessary to carry out its responsibilities. These officers of the Committee shall execute the responsibilities articulated by the Procedures of the MBA Code of Ethics (“Procedures”), and any other duties delegated to them by the Committee at large.

B. Responsibilities of the Ethics Committee
The Ethics Committee will be responsible for hearing complaints under the Code. Five members of the Ethics Committee will sit for a hearing, with the Code Advocate serving to investigate the complaint and present any evidence. Hearings will be conducted according to procedures maintained by the Ethics Committee and available to all students upon request.

The Ethics Committee is also responsible for promulgating the standards specified in the Code, for encouraging responsible conduct by Wharton students, for acting as liaison to the Wharton Faculty and Administration on matters related to the Code, and for developing any necessary modifications of the Code. Any changes to the Code must be approved by a majority of those voting in a special referendum open to all Wharton MBA students. Hearings are not intended to be juridical in nature. The committee will determine how and where intent and state-of-mind fit into the proceedings at its discretion.

C. Complaints
Any member of the Wharton community wishing to complain of a breach of the Code may submit their complaint in writing to:

  1. Any member of the Ethics Committee, or
  2. The Wharton School’s Graduate Division. Complaints may be filed anonymously. All contacts between the complainant(s) and the Ethics Committee will be held in confidence according to the procedures of the Ethics Committee.

D. Appeals
Any student sanctioned under the Code by the Vice Dean or designate at the recommendation of the Ethic Committee may appeal to the MBA Executive Committee. A request for the hearing of an appeal must be made to the Chairman of the MBA Executive Committee within seven days of the Vice Dean’s decision; if the MBA Executive Committee refuses to hear the appeal, then the decision of the Vice Dean will stand. The MBA Executive Committee will conduct all hearings according to its own procedures.

All students matriculating in the Graduate Division must comply with the standards set forth in the MBA Code of Ethics and the Policies on Conduct of the University of Pennsylvania. Cases involving issues related to academic integrity and educational pursuits of MBA students, where the incident relates to the activity of the Graduate Division, are to be resolved pursuant to the provisions of the MBA Code of Ethics. Complaints involving the conduct of any MBA candidate from the Wharton School may be considered by the committee. Other cases involving issues related to conduct are to be resolved pursuant to the published University of Pennsylvania policies and procedures. If the MBA Ethics Committee feels a case is beyond its jurisdiction, it will refer the matter to the University Office of Student Conduct. Procedures used in cases related to conduct are set forth in the Charter of the University of Pennsylvania Student Disciplinary System.