Career Services Code of Ethics
The McCombs Career Services (MCS) Code of Ethics provides a framework for the professional relationships among the MCS staff, employers and McCombs students. This document is reviewed annually by the students, staff and Associate Deans for the BBA, MPA and MBA programs.
The McCombs Career Services Code of Ethics
Students are expected to represent both themselves and the school in a manner that demonstrates the highest standards of professionalism and integrity which includes, but is not limited to the guidelines for behavior detailed below. By agreeing to follow these standards for professional and ethical behavior for career services, all McCombs students agree to:
- Provide accurate information
- Submit an R.S.V.P. when asked
- Prepare sufficiently
- Arrive on time
- Dress professionally
- Show respect for recruiters, employers and the Career Services staff
- Apply only for positions that match your abilities and interests
- Stand behind your commitment after accepting an internship or full time job offer
- Report your employment status
Provide accurate information
You must provide complete and accurate information on all career related materials (e.g. graduation date, GPA, standardized test scores, work eligibility, transcript, employment data). Furnishing false information is a violation of student standards of conduct which will result in immediate loss of on-campus recruiting privileges and a referral to The University of Texas at Austin-Student Judicial Services office. Subsequent disciplinary actions may be taken up to and including expulsion.
Submit an R.S.V.P. when asked
Students are expected to R.S.V.P. ("Repondez S'il Vous Plait" is French for "please reply") by the deadline posted to help employers and staffs plan for their events and workshops. Large numbers of unexpected guests can result in companies not having enough recruiters, refreshments, or handout materials for students. If you R.S.V.P. affirmatively to an event or meeting, you should follow through with the commitment. Large numbers of no-shows for events or receptions can result in companies canceling campus interviews.
When attending a recruiting event or interview, be prepared to engage in conversation as well as answer and ask questions as appropriate. Being prepared includes completing company/industry research and preparing questions in advance. Failure to do so demonstrates the candidate’s lack of interest and reflects poorly on all McCombs students. Please also note that students are expected to learn and understand how to use campus recruiting systems as part of their overall preparation.
Arrive on Time
Arrive on time for all recruiting events. For interviews, it is strongly advised that you arrive 10 minutes prior to your scheduled interview time to leave adequate time for check-in. Remember that by scheduling an interview you have committed to showing up on time for that interview, unless a legitimate reason arises (e.g. recent acceptance of another offer, sudden personal illness or a death in the family). Should an emergency arise, or if you know ahead of time that you will be late for an interview or event, please notify a Career Services staff member as soon as possible. Students are expected to accept interview opportunities when they request pre-select consideration unless they have accepted another offer in the intervening time. If you do not plan to take an interview spot for which you have been pre-selected, please decline the invitation as soon as possible. There is no penalty for declining invitations to interview. You cannot transfer your spot to another student. By declining the interview, you allow us to fill the open slot with another candidate.
Missing an interview or having a late cancellation (defined as canceling an interview after you can no longer cancel in the on-campus recruiting system - this date is reflected as the "Sign-up End Date") are considered serious offenses and will result in immediate and permanent loss of access to on-campus recruiting. If you have a legitimate reason for missing an interview (as defined above), you will need to contact your Career Services Director to appeal your case and have your on campus recruiting privileges reinstated.
Interviews are typically business dress unless otherwise noted. Presentations and company receptions are typically business casual unless otherwise noted. Jeans, shorts, sneakers, flip flops and similar casual wear are never appropriate at any recruiting related or company-sponsored event.
Show respect for recruiters, employers and the Career Services staff
All students should treat staff and recruiters with the utmost respect. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Keeping cell phones, laptops and pagers off during any recruiting event or interview
- Promptly responding to all e-mail, written and phone communications from recruiters, employers and the Career Services staff
- Behaving in a respectful and professional manner at all recruiting events and interviews, including all office visit recruiting trips
It is important to understand that every interaction you have with a prospective employer or staff member either enhances or detracts from your personal reputation and the reputation of the school. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Apply only for positions that match your abilities and interest
You should submit your resume only for positions which align with your career interests and for which you are qualified. Indiscriminate "shopping around" diminishes opportunities for your classmates. Do not treat recruiting as an opportunity for "practice interviews." It is unfair to your peers who genuinely want the job and to the company expending resources to recruit. Career Services staff are available to assist you with mock interviews.
Stand behind your commitment after accepting an internship or full-time job offer
Students must honor the acceptance of an offer as a contractual agreement with the employer. It is unacceptable to continue interviewing or making office visits after accepting an offer, or to back out on an accepted offer. Students who back out (renege) on an accepted offer will be denied all future use of the Career Services including coaching and on-campus recruiting services. Please do not represent yourself as being prepared to accept an offer unless you are prepared to do so. An offer is considered accepted once the student and the employer have jointly agreed to the terms of employment.
Students must respond to every offer, whether they accept or reject it. Upon the acceptance of a job offer you agree to:
- Notify all other employers with whom you are a job candidate and withdraw yourself from further consideration
- Notify your Career Services office of your acceptance
- Report all relevant offer information (e.g. company name, salary, bonus, location, etc.) for employment reporting
Acceptance of Unpaid Internships Offers
You may accept a qualifying unpaid internship and include certain preconditions in your acceptance, such as the right to terminate the unpaid internship if a paid position with another employer becomes available. It is strongly advised that these preconditions be set forth and agreed to in writing.
Report your employment status
After accepting an offer of employment, you agree to complete an Intern or Full-Time Employment Survey as appropriate. These surveys are available through a secure site on the Career Services webpage. While the individual salary and offer data provided by students are not released, the aggregate results are critical to current and prospective students, recruiters and administrators. The data are necessary for McCombs to complete information for business school rankings and the information provided is among your best tools for future salary negotiations. It is a student's responsibility to keep his/her personal profile and current employment information in all career related systems updated and accurate.
Ethics Compliance Process & Consequences
At the beginning of the fall semester, it is mandatory for all McCombs students to complete a McCombs Code of Ethics certification process that includes:
- Reading and understanding the MCS Code of Ethics
- Seeking clarification for any outstanding questions from a McCombs Career Services staff member
- Signing into the on-campus recruiting system and indicating their agreement to abide by the code. This is done by logging into the system and entering the profile/privacy tab. At that point, a student can indicate their acceptance and save the change on their profile.
All students must complete the certification process to be granted access to the on-campus recruiting system.
Compliance with the McCombs Career Services Code of Ethics is mandatory. Compliance with the McCombs Code of Ethics allows students to continue to have access to all McCombs recruiting privileges including access to the on-campus recruiting system. Violations of the policy can lead to loss of those privileges. Furthermore, dishonesty or highly improper conduct may also be subject to referral to The University of Texas at Austin Student Judicial Services office. That office will conduct its own investigation and may take additional punitive actions in accordance with university policies and procedures.
If you have questions regarding your individual circumstances or about penalties for missing interviews, please seek the advice of your program's Career Services Director. If you feel that you have not been treated equitably, you are welcome to appeal any decision to David Platt (BBA), Steve Limberg (MPA), Tina Mabley (Full-Time MBA), Trent Thurman (Evening MBA, Dallas MBA & Houston MBA), John Burrows (Austin Executive MBA), or Genaro Gutierrez (Mexico City MBA).
McCombs Career Services Employer Expectations
We expect all companies to evaluate candidates without consideration of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability or veteran status. We also ask all employers to grant students a minimum of three weeks to decide on any offer. "Exploding offers" or pressure from companies to accept an offer "on the spot" or within an unreasonably short time frame are considered violations of our expectations of companies. Just as we expect students not to renege on offers, we expect companies not to withdraw or rescind an offer to a student.
For complete details on offer timelines go to http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/career/offer-guidelines.aspx.
Unprofessional or Unethical Company Practices
Students who feel they have experienced unprofessional or unethical recruiting practices with a company should notify their program's Career Services Director (Velma Arney - BBA, Jim Franklin - MPA, or Stacey Rudnick-MBA) about the situation immediately so appropriate follow-up action can be taken with that company.
The Master in Professional Accounting program at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the top graduate accounting programs in the nation. An important element of the program’s success is the perception by students, faculty and potential employers that students are evaluated fairly on the basis of their own work, completed in accordance with the instructions provided. This perception can only be grounded in a culture of honesty and ethical conduct in which there is no tolerance of scholastic dishonesty. Maintaining such a culture requires acceptance of certain responsibilities by both faculty and students. The purpose of this policy statement is to describe those responsibilities and to clearly define behavior that constitutes academic dishonesty.
It is in all students' interests to avoid committing acts of scholastic dishonesty and to discourage others from committing such acts. Each dishonest act can harm the quality and reputation of the MPA degree, thereby lowering the value of the honest work of all other MPA students. In a culture of dishonesty, it is impossible to know whether achievements were honestly earned or accomplished through unethical means. In such a culture, grades are not a valid indicator of achievement, and the final degree is not a valid indicator of a minimum level of knowledge. Were the graduate accounting programs at UT to acquire a reputation for tolerating dishonesty, it would devalue the degrees of all present and future alumni.
Maintaining the quality and integrity of the graduate accounting program at UT is not the only reason it is important to emphasize ethical conduct. The MPA curriculum prepares students for a profession in which honesty and ethical behavior are essential characteristics. The value that accountants provide is directly related to the credibility of the work they perform. Thus, it is important for students to develop a strong sense of ethics while in school and to carry it with them into the workplace. Students who have completed their education in a culture of ethical behavior should easily make the transition to a culture of ethical behavior as employees.
It is impossible to create an environment that is completely free of opportunities and temptations to behave unethically. In order to maintain the reputation and quality of the MPA degree, each individual is responsible for understanding the definition of unethical behavior and resisting all temptations to behave unethically. This is easier to do in an atmosphere of honesty, where each student is confident that all other students are also behaving ethically. If all students and faculty fulfill their respective responsibilities as described in this policy statement, the culture of honesty that is so important to the success of the graduate accounting program at UT will be maintained.
Responsibilities of students in MPA classes
1. To understand the definition of scholastic dishonesty
The first step in building a culture of honesty is to insure that students have a clear understanding of what is permissible behavior and what is not permissible behavior. The appendix to this policy statement discusses many examples of scholastic dishonesty in some detail. Each student has the responsibility to read this document carefully, and to make sure that he or she understands what actions constitute scholastic dishonesty. If anything in this policy statement is not clear, the student has the responsibility to request clarification from the director of the MPA program.
2. To understand the instructions for each assignment, quiz or examination
Course objectives differ, and there will be some variation in permissible behavior from one assignment to another, and from one class to another. In some classes exams may be open book, while in many others they will be closed book. For some assignments students will be allowed to collaborate with other students, while for other assignments students will be prohibited from collaborating with other students. It is the responsibility of the student to understand the instructions for each assignment, and to ask the instructor for clarification whenever necessary.
There are two particular sets of circumstances in which assignments may provide opportunities for dishonest behavior that students must be very careful to avoid. Both sets of circumstances are related to out-of-class "cases" or "projects" that may be assigned in many of the classes in the MPA curriculum.
First, it is neither practicable nor desirable for an instructor to prepare completely new assignments each time a course is offered. If the ethical implications are not considered, some students may seek assistance from a student who took the course previously. However, as is discussed in this statement, to either seek or provide such assistance would be an act of scholastic dishonesty under all circumstances.
Second, students are usually directed by the course instructor to complete these cases and projects on either an individual basis or on a group basis. Collaboration between individuals or groups may be entirely or partially prohibited. If the ethical implications are not considered, some students may seek unauthorized assistance. However, as is also discussed in the appendix, to either seek or provide such assistance when it is prohibited would also be an act of scholastic dishonesty.
Third, it is sometimes the case that a course examination is similar to an examination used in a previous semester. Different instructors have different policies on whether students are authorized to access previous examinations and their solutions. Such policies should be clarified for each individual course. Unless explicitly authorized, students should not seek or provide old examinations, nor should "test banks" be maintained by formal or informal student organizations.
3. To refrain from committing any acts of scholastic dishonesty
If each student understands the definition of scholastic dishonesty and the instructions for each assignment, then he or she should be able to avoid committing acts of scholastic dishonesty. Ignorance of the definition of scholastic dishonesty is not an excuse for dishonest behavior. In addition, although assignments in MPA classes are frequently very challenging, the difficulty of an assignment is never an excuse to behave dishonestly.
4. To take appropriate action when acts of scholastic dishonesty are observed
Commission of an act of scholastic dishonesty by a student is not a victimless offense. All of the other students in the class are victims because their honest efforts cannot be fairly evaluated if work by some students has been unfairly accomplished. All other students in the program, even if they are not in that class, are victims as well because the integrity of the program has been compromised. As a result, to passively observe dishonest behavior is to condone it and to encourage it. To avoid condoning or encouraging such behavior, students have the responsibility to take action that will prevent dishonest acts from occurring now or in the future.
Appropriate actions include confronting the student who has committed the act and reporting the observed behavior to the instructor. Failure to act allows dishonest students to victimize all of the honest students in the program, and serves to lower the value of the honest students' achievements.
Responsibilities of the faculty teaching MPA classes
The faculty also assume certain responsibilities to maintain a culture of scholastic integrity. However, these responsibilities are not a condition that must be met before students are expected to behave honestly. That is, even if a student perceives that a faculty member has not met one of the responsibilities detailed below, it does not justify dishonest behavior. The appropriate response in such instances is to discuss the issue with the faculty member and/or the director of the MPA program.
1. To communicate clearly in writing the instructions for each assignment
One of the most important steps to take to reduce accidental scholastic dishonesty is to communicate clearly to students exactly what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not. The faculty has agreed that written instructions should be provided for each type of assignment that will be made during the semester. These instructions should either be gathered together in the syllabus for all types of assignments for the course, or should be given on the face of each assignment. In particular, the instructions should clearly indicate with whom, and to what extent, the student may and may not collaborate on out-of-class assignments, and what other resources (books, computers, databases, etc.) may be used on out-of-class assignments.
2. To design assignments which minimize the opportunity for scholastic dishonesty while still achieving the educational objectives of the assignments
It is obvious that it is easier to commit dishonest acts on some assignments than on others. Under the second student responsibility discussed above, two situations were discussed in particular: assignments that were used in prior semesters and out-of-class assignments for which collaboration is restricted. However, the judgment of the faculty is that it would severely reduce the quality of the education provided by the MPA curriculum to eliminate these types of assignments. Therefore, instructors are free to give such assignments when they are deemed appropriate, but the faculty will also attempt to minimize the opportunity for scholastic dishonesty when these assignments are designed.
3. To evaluate assignments on the basis of reasonable expectations given the difficulty of the assignment
The faculty has committed to considering the difficulty of the assignment when assigning grades. This does not mean that all students behaving honestly will be able to complete all assignments perfectly. Assignments in MPA classes are frequently designed to provide students with opportunities to work on real-world problems to which there are no clear-cut answers.
4. To actively and consistently enforce the University rules governing scholastic dishonesty
Even though the faculty assumes that students are behaving honorably, from time to time individual instructors may have evidence that one or more students have committed an act of scholastic dishonesty. Under these circumstances it is the responsibility of the instructor to initiate the University procedures and to recommend a penalty to the University of Texas Dean of Students.
The department has determined that the appropriate penalty to recommend for acts of scholastic dishonesty is a grade of "F" in the course, unless there are extenuating circumstances that indicate either a lesser or a greater penalty should be recommended. For example, a lesser penalty (such as an "F" on the assignment) may be recommended if there is clear evidence of significant mitigating circumstances. On the other hand, a greater penalty (such as suspension from the University) may be recommended if the dishonest act is especially egregious, or if the student has committed prior acts of scholastic dishonesty.
5. To place the following paragraph in a prominent position in their syllabus for every MPA course
The Department of Accounting has no tolerance for acts of scholastic dishonesty. The responsibilities of both students and faculty with regard to scholastic dishonesty are described in detail in the department's Policy Statement on Scholastic Dishonesty in the MPA program. By teaching this course, I have agreed to observe all of the faculty responsibilities described in that document. By enrolling in this class, you have agreed to observe all of the student responsibilities described in that document. If the application of that Policy Statement to this class and its assignments is unclear in any way, it is your responsibility to ask me for clarification.
Definition of Scholastic Dishonesty
The General Information catalog of The University defines scholastic dishonesty on pages 171-172 (Appendix C, Chapter 11, Subchapter 11-800). This appendix elaborates on the definition provided in that catalog, and provides some examples that are relevant to courses and assignments in MPA classes.
The General Information catalog says that
…"scholastic dishonesty" includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying scholastic records, and any act designed to give unfair advantage to the student, or the attempt to commit such an act.
The General Information catalog provides the following 13 examples of "cheating." Bold type indicates the material is quoted from the catalog, and plain type is elaboration by the Department of Accounting. These 13 examples do not cover all types of cheating.
1. Copying from another student's test paper
Copying from another student's examination will always be an act of scholastic dishonesty. In addition, reproducing all or a part of another student's homework, essay, or other written assignment for which a grade will be assigned will always be an act of scholastic dishonesty.
2. Using during a test materials not authorized by the person giving the test
Such materials might include programmable calculators, computers, notes, books, handouts, etc. Students should be sure to clearly understand what materials are permitted for each test.
3. Failing to comply with instructions given by the person administering the test
Students should comply with all instructions, including where to sit, when to begin working on the exam, and when to stop working on the exam.
4. Possession during a test of materials which are not authorized by the person giving the test, such as class notes or specifically designed "crib notes." The presence of textbooks constitutes a violation only if they have been specifically prohibited by the person administering the test
Not only is use of unauthorized materials during a test an act of scholastic dishonesty, but possession of such materials is also an act of scholastic dishonesty. All such materials should be put away out of easy access.
5. Using, buying, stealing, transporting, or soliciting in whole or part the contents of an unadministered test, test key, homework solution, or computer program
This includes obtaining or providing a solution (prepared either by a student or the instructor) for current semester assignments that are the same as, or similar to, assignments that were used in previous semesters or were otherwise available.
6. Collaborating with or seeking aid from another student during a test or other assignment without authority
In addition to seeking assistance from another student, this includes seeking unauthorized assistance from any non-student, such as a friend or relative. Any assistance from a tutor on a graded assignment is prohibited unless authorized by the instructor in advance.
Occasionally a student will inadvertently overhear information that may be beneficial in completing an exam or an assignment. It will constitute scholastic dishonesty if the student uses that information to his or her advantage without reporting the incident to the instructor.
7. Discussing the contents of an examination with another student who will take the examination
Frequently, students in different sections of the same course will take the same or similar exams at different times on the same day. In addition, because of illness or some other reason, students may take an exam before or after it is taken by the rest of the class. In these circumstances, it is scholastic dishonesty to seek or provide information that may in any way aid a student who has not yet taken the exam. It is the responsibility of the student who has taken the exam to determine whether another student has already taken the exam before discussing it, and it is the responsibility of the student who has not taken the exam to inform other students of that fact.
8. Divulging the contents of an examination, for the purpose of preserving questions for use by another, when the instructor has designated that the examination is not to be removed from the examination room or not to be returned to the student. At times, an instructor will seek to prevent copies of an exam from circulating generally, so that, for example, the exam may be administered to other students. When the instructor has indicated to the students that this is the case, it is an act of scholastic dishonesty to provide or receive information about the contents of that exam.
9. Substituting for another person, or permitting another person to substitute for one's self, to take a test
In MPA classes this is unlikely to occur with in-class exams because all of the students are generally known to the instructor. However, this standard of conduct also applies to all out-of-class assignments for which collaboration is prohibited or constrained. Students are expected to do their own work for all assignments.
10. Paying or offering money or other valuable thing to, or coercing another person to, obtain an unadministered test, test key, homework solution, or computer program, or information about an unadministered test, test key, homework solution, or computer program
This includes obtaining or providing solutions to current semester assignments or examinations that are the same as, or similar to, assignments or examinations that were used in previous semesters.
11. Falsifying research data, laboratory reports, and/or other academic work offered for credit
This includes fabricating events or accomplishments related to outside projects such as audit engagements or consulting engagements.
12. Taking, keeping, misplacing, or damaging the property of the university, or of another, if the student knows or reasonably should know that an unfair academic advantage would be gained by such conduct
This is particularly important in MPA classes with regard to library and computer resources. Frequently, case assignments may involve doing library research, where many students will rely on the same library resources to complete the case. It will constitute scholastic dishonesty for a student to take, misplace or damage library resources in such a way as to render them unavailable or unfit for other students. Similarly, many students may rely on computer data bases for completion of an assignment. It will constitute scholastic dishonesty for a student to in any way damage the accessibility of computer resources in such a way as to render them unfit for use by other students.
13. Misrepresenting facts, including providing false grades or resumes, for the purpose of obtaining an academic or financial benefit or injuring another student academically or financially
In general, any misrepresentation of facts to gain an unfair advantage will constitute scholastic dishonesty. For example, a student who misleads his or her instructor about the reasons for not taking an examination or for turning in an assignment after the deadline has committed an act of scholastic dishonesty. Similarly, it will be considered an act of scholastic dishonesty for a student to report false information on a resume.
According to the General Information catalog
"Plagiarism" includes, but is not limited to, the appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means another's work and the submission of it as one's own academic work offered for credit.
Plagiarism can usually be avoided by clearly citing the work of others when it appears in your own work. This means that the full extent of the reliance on the other work is clearly indicated. Whatever is being quoted should either appear in quotation marks (if it is relatively brief) or be indented (if it is more than a sentence or two). If a summary of facts or an argument is presented that is a paraphrase of another's work, it should be clearly indicated, even if the material is not directly quoted.
Plagiarism is not restricted to copying from a published source. Copying without acknowledgment from an unpublished manuscript that was, for example, written by another student would also constitute plagiarism.
Finally, a student could commit plagiarism by copying his or her own work without referencing it adequately. For example, if a student completes an assignment, and then uses all or a portion of that assignment as full or partial completion of another assignment, in the same class or in a different class, without disclosing the source of the material for the second assignment, the student has committed plagiarism. In general, substantially the same work product should not be turned in for credit in more than one class without the instructor's permission.
According to the General Information catalog
"Collusion" includes, but is not limited to, the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing academic assignments offered for credit or collaboration with another person to commit a violation of any section of the rules on scholastic dishonesty.
"Collusion" is an important issue in many MPA classes. On one hand, the faculty wants to encourage students to interact outside of class. Often this type of interaction facilitates the learning process for everyone. On the other hand, the faculty wishes to reserve the right to give students assignments that are to be completed either individually or in small groups outside of class without consulting with others. Such assignments often cannot be completed in class because they require too much time, or because they require library or computer resources not available in the classroom.
It is the responsibility of the instructor to provide clear instructions on the extent of collaboration that is acceptable, and it is the responsibility of the student to understand and to conform to those instructions. The student has the responsibility to clarify any ambiguity by consulting the instructor. Below is a partial list of the types of collaboration instructions that may be given for individual and group assignments.
1. Unlimited collaboration with all other students in the class for individual assignments, or with all other groups in the class for group assignments.
2. Unlimited collaboration with all other students (groups) in the class prior to producing the final work product such as an essay or report. The writing of the essay or report is to be done strictly on an individual student (group) basis.
3. No collaboration is permitted with other students (groups) at all. All aspects of the assignment are to be completed on a strictly individual student (group) basis.
As a general rule, collaboration with anyone who is not a student in that class is always prohibited. This includes other MPA students who are not enrolled in the class, other faculty members, and friends and relatives.
Falsifying Academic Records
According to the General Information catalog
"Falsifying Academic Records" includes, but is not limited to, the altering of grades or other falsification of academic records such as applications for admission, the award of a degree, grade reports, test papers, registration materials, and reporting forms used by the Office of the Registrar.
In the context of a particular course, the most important example of falsifying academic records would be changing an answer on a test or other assignment after it has been graded, and then submitting it to be re-graded as though it had not been changed after the fact. This would be a clear case of scholastic dishonesty.