Six months after placing its MBA admissions director on investigatory leave, UC-Davis’ School of Management has confirmed that the admit official is no longer employed by the school.
Bill Sandefer, senior director of graduate admissions at UC-Davis, had been placed on leave in January when the school said it launched an investigation to determine whether he played any role in falsifying data reported by Tulane University to U.S. News for the magazine’s ranking of the best MBA programs.
In January of 2013, the Tulane’s Freeman School of Business admitted that it falsely inflated average GMAT scores by 25 points for five consecutive years from 2007 to 2011. The school also conceded that it falsely increased the number of completed applications it received by an average of 116 applications a year over the same time period. The falsified data allowed Freeman to rank among the top 50 business schools on U.S. News’ 2012 list when the school finished at 43rd.
‘A SINGLE BUSINESS SCHOOL EMPLOYEE FALSIFIED DATA’
Freeman never disclosed how the fraud occurred. In a statement at the time, the school said that “the timeline and data reported suggest a single business school employee falsified data and submitted it to U.S. News & World Report. The individual is no longer at the school.” The school declined to name the official who falsely reported the information. “As a matter of university policy, actions involving personnel are not discussed publicly,” Freeman said.
Sandefer, who joined UC-Davis in the summer of 2012, had been Freeman’s director of admissions for the entire five-year period for which false data was routinely reported to U.S. News. In fact, Sandefer had served as director of admissions at the Freeman School for 15 years before joining UC-Davis.
While UC-Davis continues to stay mum on the details of its investigation, the school confirmed in a statement to PoetsandQuants.com that Sandefer is no longer with the school. “We cannot comment on a personnel matter, but can confirm that Mr. Sandefer is no longer employed by UC Davis,” said Tim Akin, senior director of marketing and communications. “A UC Davis investigator looked into the allegation that a UC Davis employee had falsified data while employed at Tulane University. The investigation report is not subject to public disclosure as it concerns a personnel matter, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
WITH ACCURATE DATA, TULANE’S FREEMAN SCHOOL FELL 24 PLACES IN THE LATEST U.S. NEWS RANKING
Sandefer did not respond to repeated attempts for comment. His LinkedIn profile has not been updated to reflect that he no longer works for UC-Davis’ business school.
The consequences of the fraud for Freeman have been severe. U.S. News initially tossed the school out of its ranking as a result of the admission. Earlier this year, the school tumbled 24 places to a rank of 67th based on the now accurate information it gave to U.S. News for the ranking.
This year, Tulane said the average GMAT score for its just enrolled class of full-time MBA students was 629–some 41 points below its reported number of 670 last year. The school’s acceptance rate ballooned to 82.9%, up from the reported 56.7% number last year. The average grade point average also showed a slight decline to 3.24, from 3.30 last year, and the percentage of graduates who had job offers by commencement plummeted to 54.9%, from a reported 78.8% a year earlier.
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