What’s in a name? If it’s Wharton Business School, $435,678, to be exact. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that a federal court awarded a Massachusetts executive nearly a half million for damages suffered from six years as a mere “honorary” alumni of the prestigious program.
The trouble started in 2003, when Frank Reynolds, now a CEO of a biotech startup, enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s “Executive Masters in Technology Management.” Upon beginning the program, Reynolds was under the impression that he would graduate with a Wharton degree. However, during his first semester, Reynolds felt as though the rug was pulled out from under him when he and his classmates were informed that their degrees would come from the engineering school, with a “certificate of completion—cosigned by Wharton’s deans—thrown in (for them to stick on the refrigerator?).Reynolds’ lawsuit argued that he was denied the golden Wharton opportunities that were promised to him at enrollment time.
Although the school plans to appeal the verdict, this is not the first time in recent months that alumni have made their alma maters acutely aware of their disappointment in post-graduation career prospects. Back in August, Carolyn Wise blogged about a Monroe grad suing the college for failing to provide the job search service promised and land her “gainful employment.” Additionally, 13 students sued the for-profit Everest College in Texas for exaggerating job placement claims and misleading students about the transferability of credits.
Whether these graduates’ claims are valid, or just part of a blame game ignited by a weak economy (or both), students’ expectations are ever increasing when it comes to both transparency and delivering on promises.
Posted by Megan Cassidy
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