Email to My Cheating Student

Dear [Student],

Thank you for coming by today to discuss your Costco Case Analysis and your previously submitted case analyses. I am very disappointed in this situation, especially since you are a last semester senior and at the end of your academic career here at Montana State University (MSU).  The trust between you and me and the trust between you and your classmates in BGEN 499, Section 2 (Business Strategy) has been seriously breached. Integrity and ethics are a very important and serious component of business and of life in general. It is imperative that you leave MSU with a deep, sincere and genuine appreciation and understanding of business ethics. The practice of business is mostly a self-regulated game—there is no referee on the court constantly watching us. We must be disciplined players in the game of business, especially in ethics.  From my experience and in my opinion, it is the only way to play the game of business. There will be temptations along the road, they must be avoided, always. Within this context, I take your breach of the Jake Jabs PRIDE Code of Excellence and the MSU Code of Student Conduct seriously. Thus, there must be meaningful consequences.  After considerable thought and consternation, I have decided to give you a failing (F) grade for the course for the semester. I believe, but am not totally certain, that you can still withdraw from the class.  This may be your best course of action at this point, and I will sign any necessary withdrawal form (although I believe you will need a few other signatures as well). I believe you can retake the class over the summer, possibly online.

[Student], I am personally disappointed and distraught by this situation.  This is, by far, my most unpleasant experience as a professor here at MSU. I give my heart and soul to my students (as do most of my colleagues) and, in exchange, there are expectations, reasonable expectations.  I have not taken this situation lightly.

I hope this is a learning experience for you and that you stick with the ethical high road going forward, in business and in life.

All the best,


About Greg Slamowitz

Greg Slamowitz ( is an entrepreneur, investor, author and speaker. He was a co-founder and former Co-CEO of Ambrose Employer Group, LLC, a professional employer organization (PEO), which was ranked among Crain’s New York’s list of the 50 fastest growing companies and was also recognized by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management as one of the “Best Companies to Work For in New York.” Greg co-founded Ambrose in 1997 with $95,000, never accepted outside funding, and sold Ambrose to Trinet (TNET) in July 2013 in a $200 million cash transaction. Greg has also invested in, and is on the board of, a number of early stage companies. Greg enjoys learning and teaching and has spent considerable time over the last several years meeting with entrepreneurs and business leaders and regularly presents his seminar, “Flip the Pyramid”, around the United States. Read about Greg’s presentation to the Morris (NJ) Tech Meetup. Greg’s book titled “Flip the Pyramid: How Any Organization Can Create a Workforce That Is Engaged, Empowered, Aligned and On Fire!” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes/iBooks. Greg has also spent considerable time in Washington DC with members and staffers of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives educated them about the challenges to and solutions for America’s businesses. He was a board member and president of the his industry’s trade association and founded and led its political action committee (PAC). Greg was instrumental in the passage of the Small Business Efficiency Act. Greg is passionate about helping America’s businesses focus on growth, profit, hiring and creating an awesome and healthy experience for each and every working American. Greg was the recipient of the 2001 Ernst & Young New York Entrepreneur of the Year® award in the employment services category. Greg also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for Emory University’s School of Law. Prior to co-founding Ambrose in 1997, Greg practiced tax law with Brown & Wood (now Sidley Austin Brown & Wood) in New York City. He holds two law degrees – a Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University School of Law, and a Juris Doctorate, with distinction, from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta. He received his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from New York University. Please visit Greg’s website, his LinkedIn Profile and Twitter @gregslamowitz His passions include developing highly functional organizations, engaged cultures, growth companies, health care and wellness, skiing and sailing ( View all posts by Greg Slamowitz

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