CASE STUDY 3: Suspended from undergrad for plagiarism

GPA:  3.2
GMAT: 720
Undergrad: Economics major at mid-tier east coast college
Activities: involved in student government as an undergrad
Personal:  Our client’s entire family moved from Asia a year before he started college

Overview:  Our client was suspended from his college for plagiarism and although very ready to go to business school, he had delayed his MBA application for two seasons out of fear that he could never overcome this blemish.

Result: Admitted to Wharton and Kellogg

Strategy:  Our client needed to approach the plagiarism issue head on, explain what happened, make no excuses and concretely demonstrate how he learned and grew from the experience.  Initially tempted to ignore the incident or discuss it in an additional information essay, we convinced him to tackle it in a full essay and really focus on it, as it was a pivotal event in his development.  He took full responsibility for his actions but did discuss cultural differences and the fact that he did not fully understand American views on plagiarism.  He discussed the emotional impact of his suspension, which really humanized him ”“ the adcomm could understand his remorse and embarrassment, the impact on his relationship with his family and his self image.  He then discussed how he was elected to the school’s student government under the platform of revamping the school’s honor code, and the actions he then took to ensure that what he experienced would not happen again.  Thus his story came full circle, and this very large blemish was leveraged to highlight positives: his personality, self awareness, and a significant accomplishment.

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