A large public university had initiated an investigation into allegations that its business school had deliberately fabricated data for years leading to one of its programs being consistently rated #1 in US News and World Report. BMCG was engaged after the privileged investigation had concluded but before university leadership had made decisions on how to address its findings.

Actions / Recommendations:

  • Guided President, Provost, and rest of the leadership team in a decision-making process to identify the risks, benefits, dependencies and supporting messaging of two competing options to support effective decision-making and proactive identification of risks.
  • Developed college-specific strategy and broader institutional response including the launch of a “Data Integrity Initiative” to protect broader reputational risks.
  • Created a “play-by-play” roll out communications plan to announce results of findings and decision, including messaging framework, hard Q&A, community letter, media strategy as well as a “data integrity” microsite
  • Provided on-going support and advice as issue progressed relative to litigation and accreditation issues


While significant damage to the business school’s reputation was unavoidable due to the Dean’s actions, the broader institutional impact was limited as a result of both proactive decision-making and the detailed, targeted communications strategy and implementation.