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Leonardo Da Vinci
Friday, March 21, 2014
Stanford Takes Away A Grad's MBA Degree
Source: John A. Byrne-Fast Company & Business Week Former Editor
For the first time ever, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business today (March 5) confirmed that a 2003 graduate of the most selective MBA program in the U.S. no longer has a degree because he was admitted under "false pretenses."
The decision to nullify the degree of hedge fund trader Mathew Martoma follows his conviction last month of insider trading charges. "Martoma does not have a Stanford MBA," confirmed Stanford GSB spokesperson Barbara Buell.
The school ostensibly did not strip the former employee of SAC Capital Advisors of the degree because of his Feb. 6th conviction, however, but rather because he failed to disclose that he was thrown out of Harvard Law School for doctoring his grade transcript and sending the forged document to federal judges in search of a job.
Two years after being dismissed from Harvard, Martoma had changed his name and successfully applied to Stanford's business school. But he apparently covered up the fact that he had been kicked out of Harvard. The decision by Stanford indicates that Marie Mookini, then director of MBA admissions at Stanford, did not know that the applicant was expelled. Mookini, now an MBA admissions consultant based in Palo Alto, declined comment.
"What makes this possible is not that he was a convicted felon, but that he was admitted under false pretenses," a faculty member told the Journal.
Stanford sent Martoma a letter in February seeking an explanation about statements he made on his original MBA application and gave him a two-week deadline for a response, according to the newspaper. Martoma's lawyers asked for a two-week extension which was granted by Stanford. When the new deadline ran out on Friday without a response, Stanford decided to pull Martoma's degree.
Though Stanford has consistently declined direct comment on the Martoma case, citing privacy laws, the school does make clear that applicants who are admitted to its MBA program on false pretenses can have their degrees revoked. Most observers assume that Martoma, who legally changed his name from Ajai Mathew Thomas to Mathew Martoma when he applied to Stanford, failed to admit that he was thrown out of Harvard Law School for a disciplinary reason.
“Federal law (FERPA) prohibits Stanford from discussing the specific academic status of a former student," says spokesperson Buell. "However, we take very seriously any violation of the integrity of our admissions process. When there is evidence that any misrepresentation has been made, Stanford’s policy and practice is to review the matter carefully. Determining the validity of the evidence is undertaken immediately, but can take time. When a review is completed, Stanford's policy provides it can revoke an offer of acceptance and a degree, if it was found that an individual gained admission through false pretenses. "
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