Statement from Freeman School, December 20, 2012

When the A.B. Freeman School of Business prepared to send information for its 2012 MBA program to US News & World Report this month, the data, including GMAT scores and the number of applications, skewed significantly lower than the previous two years.

Since the school’s standards and admissions criteria have not changed, this raised a concern that our data from previous years had been misreported.

The differences in the data were revealed because of new controls that the Freeman School leadership implemented this past academic year.

The university immediately engaged a third party firm to begin an audit of the data assembled for US News. That audit is ongoing and should be completed by mid-January.

Yesterday, we initiated a call with U.S. News to tell them our concerns with the previously submitted information. Today the magazine posted the following: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2012/12/20/tulane-freeman-school-of-business-misreported-some-admissions-dat

The controls implemented by the Freeman School’s leadership will continue to ensure the integrity of its MBA and other data reporting.

We deeply regret that this occurred. The checks and balances we have implemented will provide assurance that this will not happen again.

We thank you for your support for the Freeman School.

Ira Solomon
Dean, A.B. Freeman School of Business

 

Data Review Complete; Message from the Dean and Provost

Regarding the submission of data by the Freeman School of Business to U.S. News & World Report, Michael Bernstein, provost of Tulane University, and Ira Solomon, dean of the A.B. Freeman School of Business offered the following statements:

Provost Bernstein: I sincerely regret that these events occurred and that one person could so negatively impact how others see us as a place of learning. I am, however, proud of the manner and rigor by which Dean Solomon, Tulane and Jones Day took to get to the bottom of this concern and create an even stronger framework for future reporting.

Dean Solomon: To me, this is not an issue about rankings, but about reputation. It is about the integrity of the business school and those who work in it. It is about the student experience in our excellent programs and classrooms - and ensuring that those who recruit our students continue to know that they are among the best. I remain 100 percent committed to enhancing the quality of the Freeman School of Business - our students, faculty and recruiters should expect nothing less.

Q&A

1) Can you explain the situation?
In the fall of 2012, as the Freeman School of Business prepared to submit data to external audiences relating to its full-time 2012 MBA program, discrepancies were found between accurate data being reported for the current year and data reported for the previous year. As the school's standards and admission criteria had not changed, Dean Ira Solomon of the A.B. Freeman School of Business raised a concern with the Office of the Provost.

Tulane's Office of General Counsel immediately retained an outside law firm, Jones Day, to conduct an objective and independent investigation of the discrepancies.

The Jones Day review verified that data for the full time MBA program at the Freeman School was wrongly reported from 2007 to 2011. Average (mean) GMAT scores had been falsely increased by an average of 35 points, and the number of completed applications was falsely increased by an average of 116 applications.

2) Who found the discrepancies?
The Freeman School's leadership team identified discrepancies between the 2012 data and data from previous years.

3) Who received inaccurate data?
On Dec. 19, 2012, when Freeman submitted data for the 2012 academic year to U.S. News & World Report, the magazine was notified that inaccurate data had been submitted for the MBA classes that entered from 2007-2011. Corrected data for 2007 through 2011 was submitted to U.S. News & World Report on Jan. 15.

4) Who is at fault? Is this person(s) still with the university?
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. As a matter of university policy, actions involving personnel are not discussed publicly.

5) Who reviewed the university's records to determine the correct data?
The legal firm Jones Day led the investigation.

6) How far back was data corrected?
Data was corrected for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

7) Why did it take so long to discover that data was being misreported?
Regarding the GMAT, there were no significant variations from year to year. Regarding the applications, there were no unexpected variations in the number of applications from year to year. The first time the discrepancies became apparent was during the preparation of the 2012 data.

8) Will the ranking of Freeman's MBA program in U.S. News & World Report drop or will the MBA program be removed from the rankings entirely?
Freeman has reported accurate data for the current academic year. Corrected data for the past five academic years will be provided. U.S. News will make the decision about the school and where it appears in the rankings.

9) Was it determined that further steps were needed to ensure accuracy of data?
Jones Day has suggested a series of steps to assure that data collecting and reporting will be as accurate and reliable as possible.

Additionally, the Freeman School had instituted a new system of controls in 2011 to govern the collection, analysis and reporting of data. The new controls enabled school officials to uncover the discrepancies that triggered the investigation.

10) How confident is the Freeman School that the new checks and balances will work?
The school is very confident that the system of controls implemented during the fall of 2011 will assure the accuracy of the data. This and an institutional culture that consistently strives to improve will assure that this type of misreporting does not happen again.

For more information, please email: bernstein@tulane.edu

The December 20, 2012, Statement from Freeman School Related to this Issue

 

Further Update; Message from the Dean

January 24, 2013

Dear Freeman School Students, Faculty & Staff:

Today we were notified that US News & World Report would be changing the placement of Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business in the Best Graduate Schools 2013 online edition of the Best Business Schools rankings.

While I am disappointed to learn of this action by US News & World Report, we are already focussed on the future i.e., discussing and vetting potential enhancements of our full-time MBA program as well as the other educational programs in the Freeman School. We also remain fully committed to enhancing the academic programs at the Freeman School as well as assuring that those who recruit our students continue to know they are among the best.

The future of the Freeman School is bright- the best is yet to come.

Ira Solomon
Dean, A.B. Freeman School of Business

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