As this year’s Grade Non-Disclosure (GND) vote opens, be sure to reflect on the policy that has been enacted by Wharton MBA students consistently since 1994. GND is a unique initiative in that is NOT an official school policy, meaning it is not put in place by the school’s administration. Rather, it is the student body that puts forth this social contract and agrees to abide by it for the year to come. Last year, GND passed with 96% of voters in favor of the policy, and an 87% turnout. For GND to pass, the vote needs at least 50% turnout, with a 2/3 majority of those voting in favor.
Wharton students are not alone in their adoption of GND. In fact, Chicago Booth, Columbia GSB, Haas (Berkeley), INSEAD, London Business School and Stanford GSB also have GND. Top schools that do not include Harvard, Kellogg (Northwestern), Ross (Michigan) and MIT
Sloan. Here is some information to consider as you prepare to cast your vote this year:
What GND means:
You commit to an “honor code” not to share your grades with recruiters while you are at Wharton
When people CAN ask for your grades (and GND doesn’t apply):
- Anything non recruiting related, e.g. (Wharton programs like study abroad exchanges, scholarship / PhD academic applications)
- Once you have a full-time offer
- Once you leave Wharton (so if you graduate in May 2014 and are recruiting in October 2014, GND technically no longer applies)
Wharton Professors Daniel Gottlieb and Kent Smetters have also written a paper discussing the existence of GND in MBA programs. The article discusses both the potential negative and positive effects of GND: “In practice, self-reported levels of learning effort have fallen significantly since the introduction of grade non-disclosure…However, business schools with a grade non-disclosure norm typically have some method of revealing the very best students. This revelation usually takes the form of awards and honors.” To read more about their findings regarding the conditions that lead to majority support for GND amongst students and where GND is most prevalent, visit this link to read the paper in its entirety:
In short, no matter what your stance on GND, only you – the students – have the power to shape the school’s approach on disclosing grades to employers, and therefore it is critical that you make your voice heard on the issue that impacts you and every single one of your classmates! So read about it, talk about it, and cast your vote on it.
This year’s GND vote opened at 8am on Monday, November 18th and closes at 6pm on Thursday, November 21st.
For the current WGA Policy on Grade Non-Disclosure, please visit:
For more information on the policy, please contact your cohort Academic / Ethics Representative or a member of the WGA Executive Council with your questions and ask for the “GND Handbook.”