According to prosecutors, former MIT deputy dean Gabriel Bitran and his son Marco scammed some $12 million in a $500 million hedge fund scam connected to convicted mega-fraudster Bernie Madoff. Bitran had taught at MIT for 35 years, serving as deputy dean for five. His son Marco was a 2003 Harvard Business School MBA. Both agreed in August to plead guilty. Investors lost 50% to 70% of their principals, court heard. In a 2009 email to his son, Bitran had expressed contrition, saying they’d misled investors for profit, and that “a veteran professor of MIT should not have engaged in this type of behavior.”
When is an MBA not an MBA? After his degree is stripped because during his insider-trading trial a record of his expulsion from Harvard Law School is accidentally released. Mathew Martoma graduated from Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2003. This September, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in a pharmaceutical stocks sell-off that generated $276 million in profits and netted Martoma a $9 million bonus. In March, a month after Martoma’s insider-trading conviction, Stanford confirmed that he no longer had an MBA degree, because he was admitted under “false pretenses” – he’d failed to disclose that Harvard Law School had thrown him out for doctoring his transcript and sending it to federal judges while he pursued a job.
If a little-known racehorse with a mediocre record suddenly won the Kentucky Derby, questions would arise as to whether the beast was juiced. If a business school unranked by the major rankings players was suddenly described in an academic study as better than Harvard, Stanford, and MIT for product innovation management, questions would arise as to the source. In the case of the University of Missouri – Kansas City Bloch School of Management, it was the Kansas City Star newspaper which asked questions, and in its investigation the paper found shocking ties by the study’s authors to the school, along with a “pattern of exaggerations and misstatements that polished the school’s reputation as it sought to boost enrollment and open donor’s checkbooks.”
In 2013, officials at Tulane University Freeman School of Business admitted the school had falsely inflated average GMAT scores of enrolled students by 35 points from 2007 to 2011 and had falsely boosted the number of applications received annually by an average of 116 applications during the same years. The fudged data had catapulted Freeman onto U.S. News & World Reports’ list of top-50 business schools. This year, the former admissions director at Freeman, who had resigned shortly before the scandal erupted and was tacitly blamed for cooking the books, gave Poets&Quants a controversial explanation for scandal: the school manufactured it to create a reason to pursue sweeping change.
To the question, “Is there a Jesuit business school conspiracy?” the Jesuits say no. But then they would, wouldn’t they, if they were conspiring? Certainly, officials at Jesuit B-schools make a compelling argument that blamed flaws in rankings methodologies for their surprising prominence in the U.S. News & World Report specialty rankings. School officials surveyed for the U.S. News specialty rankings vote for schools they’re familiar with, and that’s why, Jesuit officials say, Jesuit business schools such as Haub in Philadelphia and Cook in St. Louis can come out on top of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School and Harvard Business School, despite exclusion from the U.S. News top-100 list.
Top 10 B-School Scandals and Controversies of 2014 Honorable Mentions:
DON’T MISS: THE TOP 10 MBA RANKINGS OF 2014