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Are the rankings rigged again?

Rutgers University Business School takes the US News and World Report ranking seriously. If you visit the Stats and Rankings section of its website, you’ll find four points of pride listed for this year: #9 for best overall US employment results for MBA programs, #12 for MBA programs in supply chain management, No. 21 for best public business school in the United States, No. 22 for best public business school (for part-time students). The source of honors: American News.

So business school and admissions experts in general were shocked by two lawsuits filed last week. One accuses Rutgers of discriminating against a human resources manager because she objected to the way the university calculated information about her class for American News. The lawsuit alleges that the university used an employment agency – Adecco – to place some of its MBA graduates in jobs at Rutgers in order to obtain a higher ranking, because American News does not let trade schools count their own employees as graduates who have found employment. The other lawsuit is a class action lawsuit on behalf of students who enrolled in the MBA program, accusing Rutgers of tricking them into enrolling because of inflated rankings.

Rutgers denies the allegations.

“Under University policy, we are unable to comment on the details of a dispute. We will say unequivocally, however, that we take seriously our obligation to report data and other information accurately to grading agencies. and reporting,” the university said in a statement. “We are confident in our process and procedures for accurately reporting to ranking publications. The Rutgers Business School team follows guidelines set by standards agencies, maintains control of our statistics, and reports information methodically.

Rutgers added, “As a public business school, a core tenet of our mission is to educate and prepare students for successful careers. Rutgers Business School invests heavily in the career resources available to our students. Through our dedicated career management office, we prepare students for career opportunities aligned with their goals, knowledge, and skills. We consider this to be one of our key differentiators as a business school. Our faculty, curriculum and curriculum innovations, case competitions, alumni mentorship, corporate partnerships, and experiential learning projects all contribute to an exceptional experience in business school for our students.

As for American News, he released this statement: “In general and without commenting on any particular subject, American News takes cases of misrepresentation seriously. Our mission is to provide students with accurate and in-depth data to help them in their school search. We rely on schools to accurately report their data and ask academic leaders to verify this data. We will downgrade schools if they misreport data that leads to an inflated ranking.

Remember Temple?

If the Rutgers situation sounds familiar, you might be thinking Temple University.

In December, Moshe Porat, former dean of Temple University’s Fox Business School, was convicted of wire fraud for submitting false data to American News for rankings. (He was sentenced to 14 months in prison.)

Porat, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “conspired and conspired to deceive the school’s applicants, students, and donors into believing that the school offered top-notch business degree programs, so that ‘they pay tuition and donate to Temple’.

The jury took less than an hour to convict Porat, who served as dean of the business school from 1996 to 2018.

Temple’s online MBA program was ranked #1 by American News for four consecutive years, starting in 2015. But that ranking was based on false information that all of Temple’s online students had taken the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT. In fact, only 20% had done so. It turned out that in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 (the three years before the most recent for which Temple was ranked the best online MBA program), the university also reported that 100% of its students had passed standardized admission tests. In the previous two years (when Temple was not the top program), the percentages were 25 and 33 percent, according to the website. Poets and how manywhich reports on business schools.

Poets and how many, in his reporting on Rutgers, suggested the fabrications were perhaps less blatant than at Temple. “Not much more than half a dozen graduates have been placed in various departments of the school, including marketing, development, procurement and alumni relations. Most were hired for six-month stints, although one MBA graduate, Krunal Bhakta, a former pharmacist from India, has now worked for the school in a contract marketing role for nearly four years,” the report reported. website.

What the costumes say

The first lawsuit is filed by Deidre White, the business school’s human resources manager.

The lawsuit says the system designed by Rutgers worked. “In the very first year of the scheme, defendant Rutgers was suddenly propelled into, among other things, the ‘No. 1′ business school in the North East region,” the suit reads. “At every turn , Plaintiff stood directly in Defendants’ path to illegality.When Plaintiff became aware of and exposed Defendants’ scheme to falsify and manipulate post-graduation employment data, Defendants failed to investigate or correct the fraud. Instead, in retaliation, they ignored the Complainant’s complaint, further ostracized the Complainant from her department, attempted to conceal the conduct, and disparaged the Complainant to employees and officials of his department.

Here’s how the system works: Rutgers hires the students — from the employment agency, not directly, the suit says.

Included in the lawsuit are emails requesting information about this system.

A Rutgers official wrote to several others: “In the meantime, please also keep in mind that of the 92 students who have been placed with FT jobs, we have few (6?) students hired by Addeco [sic] to fill urgent temporary work needs at Rutgers/[Rutgers Business School]. I don’t know the process for reporting location data. However, if the temporary hire needs to be disclosed to the grading agency, please do so to avoid any misunderstanding. RBS’s reputation and our integrity are more important than anything else.

Dean Vera, who leads MBA career programs for Rutgers, responded, “As for Adecco hires, my understanding is that these are contract positions that may lead to a full-time position… If if so, the standards state that we count them as employees.

The lawsuit also claims that the unemployed students were considered employees even though Adecco had not yet offered them the positions at Rutgers. “The false and misleading data artificially inflated defendant Rutgers’ ranking,” the lawsuit says. “The submission includes three years of information. Thus, the data submitted in 2018 impacts the rankings of 2019, 2020 and 2021.”

Additionally, the lawsuit includes emails from Rutgers officials discussing the Temple case.

A Rutgers professor sent an email saying, “I still don’t think a conspiracy to ‘mislead US News readers’ is a federal crime.”

White wrote to Lei Lei, dean of the business school: “I am very, very concerned that, despite my best efforts, you and your colleagues are not taking fraud and misconduct seriously. After the Temple Dean’s recent criminal conviction, you’d think RBS would operate by the letter of the law. In my opinion, Rutgers manipulated data to inflate the school’s ranking. Adecco is a complete sham, and you know it. I don’t see how Rutgers can use a temp agency to get around the situation where students can’t find jobs. When will the fraud stop? »

The class action (handled by the same law firm) is on behalf of an MBA student and everyone who has been a student in the MBA program since 2018.” By bolstering its employment data, defendant Rutgers Business School made it look like the job is pretty much guaranteed,” the suit reads.The second suit, at least for now, is similar to the first.

Charles J. Kocher, one of the attorneys working for the plaintiffs, said a class action lawsuit was “the superior and effective way to resolve massive fraud.”

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