MBA Schools on Scoretop Penalties

BusinessWeek asked top MBA programs what penalties they might apply if students gained any advantage from using the Scoretop site

The Graduate Management Admission Council is looking at a computer hard drive containing the names of 6,000 people who allegedly subscribed to the Web site. The subscribers may have gotten an advance look at live questions being used in the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Last week, BusinessWeek contacted the top-ranked U.S. business programs and asked what penalties might be imposed on applicants, students, and alumni if the GMAC identified them as people who may have gained advantage on the exam from the Scoretop site. Here's a sampling of what they said:

University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business.

"If someone's test score is canceled, we would talk to GMAC about what they've done. I would look at this as analogous to cheating. Someone who is willing to resort to unethical ways get into B-school is not someone I want in my program and definitely not someone I want in the professional world." —Peter Johnson, MBA admissions director

University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Stacey Kole, deputy dean for the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago, previously said a lack of hard evidence implicating someone in actual cheating will make the decision-making process difficult. "Without hard evidence, it's very hard to say you're going to throw someone out," she said. "We don't have a problem taking action when we know someone has cheated. I have a tough time taking action when I don't know."

Dartmouth College-Tuck School of Business

"It's way too hypothetical to predict how were going to handle it right now. Until the investigation is complete, it's not fair for us to address the issue." —Dawna Clarke, director of admissions

Duke University-Fuqua School of Business

"All students are required to read and sign the honor code of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business before submitting the application for admission. The scope of the honor code includes the commitment to the principles of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect for others. A signature indicates that the applicant has read the honor code and agrees to accept and abide by the honor code and its bylaws.

"Our honor code is nonnegotiable, and we treat violations very seriously. Our honor code details our core values as an institution and we depend on and require every member of the Fuqua community to uphold the code in both spirit and action. In the event that we learn of individuals who have violated the GMAC testing policies, the penalty would be consistent with that which would apply to anyone who has lied or cheated to gain an advantage either in the admission process or as a student at Fuqua."

[Penalties] "could range from suspension to expulsion to revocation of a degree, depending on the infraction." —Chris Privett, spokesman

Georgetown University-McDonough School of Business

"If it's determined that a candidate's score is canceled by GMAC through participation through Scoretop, and we've used that score for admission into the program, we'll rescind the offer of admission." —Kelly Wilson, assistant dean and director, full-time MBA admissions

Indiana University-Kelley School of Business

"We obviously care deeply about the integrity of our students and of the admissions process, but we prefer not to comment at this time on the Scoretop incident until there is more information available. We haven't had any inquiries from prospects or current students about Scoretop." —Jim Holmen, director of admissions and financial aid for MBA programs

MIT Sloan School of Management

"We would consider kicking current students out or rescinding admission offers. For alumni, we would definitely consider revoking degrees. In our business, it's something that we are prepared to do, because there could be similar situations in future. But we don't want to rush into judgment. GMAC is doing due diligence, and I'm sure they will take their own legal action." —Rod Garcia, director of admissions

University of North Carolina-Kenan Flagler Business School

"We require the GMAT as part of the application process. Therefore, if the GMAC cancels the test scores of students, their applications wouldn't be complete, and they wouldn't be admitted with an incomplete application. We wouldn't enroll someone who had knowingly cheated, but at this point, it's difficult to pinpoint who's guilty and who's not, so we're leaving it up to the officials and the legal team at GMAC." —David Hoffmann, associate dean for UNC Kenan-Flagler's MBA program

University of Notre Dame-Mendoza College of Business

"If there's a person that knowingly cheated to get a good score, then that's an issue and we're not going to stand for that. If it was unknowing, then we're in a real gray area. We need to step back and re-evaluate. I don't know what we'll do at this point. It's serious and we want to take it seriously." —Brian Lohr, director of MBA admissions

Purdue University-Krannert School of Management

"It comes down to information we get from GMAC. If there is evidence to support that they did cheat, we'll follow up and prosecute cases that appear to have misconduct. Applicants will be denied admission; current students will be dealt with through student disciplinary code, which gives students rights of due process." —Chuck Johnson, director of master's and executive programs

University of Rochester-Simon Graduate School of Business

"Obviously, if we find students enrolled here whose names are on that list, we'll have to find out what that means. We'll follow up, and investigate further. I don't know what the outcomes will be but we have to go through it deliberately and carefully." —Greg MacDonald, executive director of admissions & administration

Stanford University Graduate School of Business

"We have not yet heard from GMAC of any score cancellations. As such, we do not want to speculate on any actions or policies." —Derrick Bolton, MBA admissions director

University of Texas, Austin-McCombs School of Business

"We have no idea. I don't think GMAC has even said the actions they're going to take. We have nothing to respond to right now, so it's in a holding pattern." —Rob Meyer, media relations, McComb School of Business

UCLA-Anderson School of Management

"We have not yet made a decision. Like many MBA programs, we're in a holding pattern until we have actual evidence that someone has cheated…We would consider a number of options. We could prevent them from being admitted if they're prospective students. Another option for current students would be to prevent them from graduating. I'm not sure what we'd do about alumni." —Mae Jennifer Shores, assistant dean and director of MBA admissions

Vanderbilt University-Owen Graduate School of Management

"I haven't seen enough info regarding the content available to VIP users of the site, or how apparent it would have been to those using the VIP site that they were accessing live questions…I expect that GMAC would have hard evidence implicating a student in actual cheating to cancel a score. We're waiting on GMAC to determine what to do. A lot depends on the information available to GMAC. From Vanderbilt's standpoint, we will take this very seriously." —John Roeder, director of admissions

Washington University-Olin Business School

"We need to wait to find out more information from GMAC. Based on that information, the steps could be anywhere from simply ignoring it, if it doesn't seem like anything, to if seems they violated in a serious way the appropriateness of the test and therefore the appropriateness of the process. If it's serious enough we could say the test score is canceled and the application canceled. If they're in the program we could expel them and if they've not started we could rescind the offer. If we thought it was both factual and serious. We wouldn't do anything without contacting the student or prospective student first to give them a chance to tell us their side of the story." —Joe Fox, assistant dean, director of MBA programs

Yale University School of Management

"We'll take it on case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to action we feel is appropriate. We want to know what [the students'] conduct was and what level of implication will be, whether they used the site innocently or innocuously, or if they were breaching GMAC requirements if they were posting to the site." &mdashBruce DelMonico, director of admissions

Unavailable or did not provide comment: Columbia University, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, New York University, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Virginia.

Reporting by Andrea Castillo, Sara Hennessey, Matthew Lawyue, Francesca Levy, and Dan Macsai.

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