Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) yesterday confirmed that, for the first time ever, it has stripped a graduate of his MBA degree because he was admitted to the program under “false pretenses,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The graduate in question – former SAC Capital Advisors employee Mathew Martoma, who completed his MBA in 2003 – was convicted last month of insider trading charges. “Martoma does not have a Stanford MBA,” Stanford GSB spokesperson Barbara Buell confirmed in a separate report by PoetsandQuants.
According to the Journal article, Martoma’s admission to Stanford’s MBA program was rescinded, effectively nullifying the degree he was conferred more than a decade ago. The move came not because of his conviction, but because he failed to disclose on his application to Stanford GSB that he had previously been booted from Harvard Law School for falsifying his grade transcript and sending the forged document to federal judges when seeking a job. That detail emerged as part of the unsealing of documents in advance of his February trial.
Martoma had changed his name by the time he applied to Stanford GSB two years later and covered up the fact that he had been dismissed from Harvard. Stanford’s decision to revoke Martoma’s admission indicated that then Director of Stanford MBA Admissions Marie Mookini did not know that he had been expelled.
“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.
According to multiple reports, Stanford sent Martoma a letter last month seeking an explanation about statements he made on his original MBA application. He was give a two-week deadline to respond, and after a request from his lawyers, he was also granted a two-week extension. The extension ran out on Friday, with no response from Martoma’s legal team.
Stanford GSB, citing privacy laws, has declined to comment on Martoma’s academic record. “Federal law (FERPA) prohibits Stanford from discussing the specific academic status of a former student,” spokesperson Buell told PoetsandQuants. “However, we take very seriously any violation of the integrity of our admissions process,” she said, adding that the school has policies in place for revoking degrees or acceptance offers if a student is found to have gained admission through false pretenses.
In addition to no longer having an MBA, Martoma faces up to 20 years in prison for each of two counts of securities fraud, as well as up to five years for a conspiracy charge. His sentencing is scheduled for June.