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Former Dean Says The FT “Makes Stuff Up”

Roger Martin recently stepped down after a highly successful run as dean of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management

Roger Martin recently stepped down after a highly successful run as dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management

A highly prominent former business school dean yesterday (Nov. 8) accused The Financial Times of making stuff up and suggested that MBA applicants should have little confidence in the British newspaper’s influential business school rankings.

Roger Martin, who stepped down as dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management on June 30th after an extraordinarily successful 15-year run, published his thoughts in a blog post on The Huffington Post. It was one of the rare occasions when a high level business school official has gone on the record criticizing both The Financial Times and its top business school editor Della Bradshaw, who Martin calls “the most powerful business education journalist in the world.”

Martin’s apparent anger toward the paper occurred after Bradshaw wrote a column last month under the headline The Dean Hunters in which she said that Martin was “unceremoniously kicked out.” The article also claimed that he was “ousted from the dean’s job.”

THE FINANCIAL TIMES DRAGGED ITS FEET ON CORRECTING A MAJOR ERROR

In fact, Martin is one of a handful of the most successful business school deans in the past quarter century. He raised more than $250 million for the school and more than quadrupled the endowment. He increased the size of the faculty to 113 from 30 and  doubled the physical space of the business school, Martin also increased MBA enrollment by 300%, establishing Rotman as one of the best business schools in North America. No less important, Martin differentiated the school by focusing on integrative thinking, extensive self-development, and the application of design principles to business and management.

Yet when the former dean tried to get the FT to print a correction, Martin said the newspaper insisted that he had to prove that what it wrote was untrue. The Financial Times has since published a correction and publicly apologized to Martin. “Dr David Naylor, President Emeritus of the University of Toronto, has confirmed Mr Martin chose his own date of departure and left his post amid celebrations of his legacy,” the newspaper wrote. “We are happy to make the position clear. We apologise to Mr Martin for the inaccuracy.” The correction, however, appeared after Martin’s attack on the newspaper.

Bradshaw, charged Martin, “repeatedly misstated the nature of my departure without checking a single fact. Had Bradshaw spent five minutes fact-checking these nasty allegations, she would have found out from our public university, whose decanal terms are completely open and transparent to the world, that my third term of office has not yet reached its June 30, 2014 scheduled end. While Bradshaw may feel that she has journalistic super powers that enable her to know in advance what will happen in June of 2014, I doubt the rest of the world is quite as confident. Most would say it is hard to assert that someone was ‘kicked out when their term was over’ when their term still isn’t over.”

‘THE FINANCIAL TIMES’ ARROGANCE WAS BREATHTAKING’

What especially galled Martin, however, was his inability to gain a correction from the newspaper. “Stung by receipt of emails expressing condolences for the terrible treatment that I had allegedly received at the hands of my university,” Martin wrote. “I asked one of the finest law firms in Toronto to help get the record set straight. It was a fascinating experience. The FT response was that it couldn’t just print that I wasn’t “kicked out” or “ousted.” I had to provide proof that I wasn’t!