The B School Paper Clique

Fifth term. Time when grades don’t matter. Time to “build up” one’s resume, in terms of co-curricular activities. Such as publishing papers and writing business plans. Huge demand for paper and business plan competitions. Huge supply also, with various B Schools and B school recruiters holding similar competitions. Time for fraud. Also, time for Google Ctrl+C Ctrl+V.

Coming from a background such as CS@IITM, it’s hard to fathom a fraud paper. Most profs there indulge in (or try to indulge in) “cutting edge research”. Try get new results, and publish in international journals/competitions. Takes months to produce a paper, unless it’s a “Delta paper” – one which is an incrememntal improvement on an existing paper – which are not well looked upon by peers.

Most papers in B Schools aren’t even delta. No MBA student wants to publish in international journals/conferences. Not even national. Inter-B School competitions would suffice. Sufficient enough for that line in the resume which might ensure a shortlist – prepared by one who had written similar papers a few years ago.

These paper presentation competitions are part of “business fests” (i’ll write a separate post about them later). A list of topics is given for paper presentation. The topics would’ve been chosen carefully – careful enough that it is impossible to do any original work on them (that is necessary to maintain the clique, you see). A thousand papers arrive from the top B Schools in India. Each one more fraud than the other. Typically the chosen ones would be the ones which quoted the maximum number of references.

Move over to the next biz fest. And the next such paper presentation competition. Topics are identical. Small changes are made in the papers and sent to this new place. If you send the paper to a hundred fests, you’re sure of being selected in one. You might even win if it’s one organized by a “lesser B school” where there won’t be too many other teams from top B schools.

I too got sucked in into this clique a few days back. Gave in an extremely fraud paper. Happy i’ve gotten out of the thing now. Simply don’t feel like writing any fraud stuff. And as I mentioned earlier, the topics don’t allow for any non-fraud stuff.

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