The Biggest B-School Scandals Of 2019

Temple Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat was fired from his job on July 9, 2018


When news broke last spring that embattled former Temple University Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat was suing his school nearly a year after being fired, we dubbed it the cockroach of ranking scandals. Because it just wouldn’t die. Porat’s deanship had lasted for two decades. And his association with the university went even further back than that to 1976 when Porat first immigrated from Israel to the U.S. to attend Temple as a graduate student. But Porat was fired in July of 2018 after it came out that the Fox School had been knowingly reporting fraudulent data to the U.S. News to bolster its placement in the publication’s online MBA program. Porat alleged he was unfairly removed from his post.

“The administration at Temple took away the job I loved, damaged my health, and destroyed my reputation and the legacy of my life’s work I spent decades building,” Porat said in a lengthy statement published last May on the website of Clare Locke, the law firm representing him. “They did this with a false narrative invented for its expediency in public relations — and to deflect attention from the University’s own role in all of this. I have been made a scapegoat.”

In his statement, the first public comment Porat has made since he was ousted last July, he alleged the school lied about his involvement in the false reporting of key data points, which resulted in Fox’s online MBA program being removed from the U.S. News ranking of online MBA programs.

Porat’s suit will likely have an uphill climb because the university based its decision to fire him on an investigation conducted by a prominent law firm, Jones Day. The firm’s investigators discovered that Dean Porat and other Fox personnel allegedly made clear that improving or maintaining Fox’s position in rankings was a key priority.



Harvard has had its fair share of admissions-related lawsuits recently. Last winter, that extended to the business school. In January of 2019, a transgender woman filed a lawsuit accusing Harvard University and Brigid Harrington, the university’s Title IX officer, of discriminating and retaliating against her after she filed a sexual assault complaint against a male Harvard Business School admissions officer. The woman, a resident of California who identifies as a transgender, Muslim, Hispanic woman, filed the 15-page complaint against the university on January 22 in United States District Court for Massachusetts, accusing the school of violating Title IX and Massachusetts laws.

The woman, who filed the report under the alias of Jane Doe, attended a Midwestern university for her bachelor’s degree before applying to HBS and the Graduate School of Education in 2017. She attended “several” Harvard admissions events in Cambridge between August and October 2017; she states in the court filing that she was sexually assaulted by a male HBS admissions officer at a LGBT Open House at the school on October 16, 2017, when the admissions officer “forcibly kissed” her.

“Plaintiff was shocked, confused, scared, and overwhelmed by the advance,” the court document reads. “She felt vulnerable as an applicant to the university having been so brazenly assaulted by an admission officer at a sanctioned admissions event.”

Canadian dealmaker David Sidoo allegedly paid $200,000 for a fraudster to take the SAT for his two sons


Early last year was a wild one for undergraduate college admissions when a massive not-so-underground ring of bribery and falsification of standardized testing was uncovered. From the wealthy to the celebrity, many parents, college administrators, and college admissions counseling companies were busted for getting students into schools using fake test scores and bogus athletic skills. Throughout the year multiple people involved were sentenced to serve prison terms.

To be sure, the massive illegal ring found its way into business schools. And in March, it was revealed the founder of the admissions counseling business at the center of a massive college admissions scam offered to help an existing parent client with his son’s application to business school.

Court documents showed that as late as October of 2018 William ‘Rick’ Singer, the fraudster who created the scheme to cheat on the SAT and to bribe college officials to help clients get their children into prestige colleges, made the boast in a phone call to David Sidoo, whose son Dylan had already taken Harvard Business School’s online course, known as CORe for Credential of Readiness, in 2017 and recorded a grade of “pass,” noted on his LinkedIn profile.

A former Canadian Football League player and prominent Canadian dealmaker, Sidoo had earlier paid $200,000 to have Singer arrange for someone to take the SAT for his two sons to help them get into Chapman University in California and the University of California, Berkeley, according to the indictment.

USC Marshall Dean Jim Ellis


Late in 2018, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business Dean Jim Ellis was controversially removed from his post as dean of the school. If you don’t remember, Dean Ellis was being fired, effective June 30th of 2019, because he allegedly mishandled racial and gender bias complaints at the business school. The controversy stemmed from the fact that there was no evidence that he, in fact, directly poorly handled anything. The vast majority of complaints filed with USC’s Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) were unseen by him because they were never forwarded to his office.

What resulted was a firestorm of emails, letters, and signed petitions in support of Ellis. Several members of the University of Southern California’s board of trustees, including at least two former board chairs, are heavily criticizing current Board Chair Rick Caruso for his handling of the university’s decision to fire Marshall School of Business Dean Jim Ellis. More than 100 faculty members came out in support of Ellis. The embarrassing ordeal came to a head last summer when Ellis finally spoke out in the form of a scathing letter. At the time, it was believed the ouster could cost the school around $40 million from supporters and donors of the school unhappy with the decision.

USC Marshall’s issues eventually impacted the rest of the business school community when it was able to hire Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett without a full search last June. It was a highly unusual move considering Garrett’s recent success at Wharton and the general deluge of negative news not only Marshall, but USC in general, has received in recent years. Either way, Garrett will take over as dean of USC Marshall this coming summer.


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