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3/9/2005
11:46 AM
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Business School Applicants Sacked For Hacking

Hundreds of applicants to graduate schools are getting their first lesson in business ethics as their applications are being tossed after they hacked into college Web sites to see if they had been accepted.

Hundreds of applicants to graduate business schools are getting their first lesson in business ethics as their applications are being tossed because they hacked into college websites to see if they have been accepted to the schools.

A policy of refusing admittance to those who hacked has been gradually spreading from Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business to the Harvard Business School to MIT's Sloan School of Management, which decided Tuesday to reject 32 applicants who hacked into their files to view confidential data on their applications to MIT, according to published reports. Harvard targeted 119 applicants earlier in the week.

The business schools use independent website ApplyYourself Inc. for the application process. An unidentified person posted instructions on an online site last week with instructions on ways to infiltrate the ApplyYourself confidential files.

"The instructions are reasonably elaborate," MIT Dean Richard Schmalensee told the Boston Globe. "You don't need a degree in computer science, but this clearly involved effort. You couldn't do this casually without knowing you were doing something wrong. We've always taken ethics seriously, and this is a serious matter."

Schmalensee told the newspaper that rejected applicants could apply in future years and the Sloan School will take into consideration any possible extenuating circumstances that might explain why a hacker infiltrated the ApplyYourself files.

Other schools still evaluating the situation include Stanford, which said it is asking applicants whose files were hacked to explain their actions. Dartmouth's Tuck School dean said a decision on hacks by applicants will be made later this week while Duke's Fuqua School applicants will learn their fate later this month when acceptance/rejection decisions are normally made.

Cashiered applicants got some small consolation from Sanford Kreisberg of the Cambridge Essay Service, which assists applicants in seeking admission to top business schools. "This seems needlessly harsh and rigid," he told the Associated Press of their rejection. "What they did was stupid, but that's all it was."

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