How about that scandal eh? For those unaware, GMAC (the administrator of the GMAT) just won a lawsuit against a website called ScoreTop, which was providing live questions. Apparently one could pay $30 for 30 days of access as a VIP member and gain access to current questions that were still being used. The difference between this and Kaplan or Veritas' questions is that those questions are either proprietary (created by the respective company) or actual retired questions purchased legally from GMAC. ScoreTop had a message board where users would provide questions and some schmucks even wrote incriminating stuff about how they saw 10-12 questions on their actual exam that were posted on the website. Crazy. The amazing thing is that 6,000 people were registered VIP members! GMAC is threatening to cancel scores and notify the schools which received them. More should be known in a week.
This has got to be really scary for some people. The people who would use a website like ScoreTop are probably the super driven, super obsessed types who are applying to top programs. Those affected will likely come from the ranks of the Top 20 programs or so. Those schools will have a really tough decision coming up especially since it's still debatable which subscribers knew what they were getting into. The website certainly seemed legal and those subscribers probably viewed it as a way of getting extra practice and preparation. I can understand how the GMAT-obsessed aspirant could completely lose sight of the unethicality (not a word I know). After all, if something is available for purchase online, then most people probably think it's legal. A flawed heuristic to be sure but not an unfathomable one. Since ScoreTop has been around for 5 years, it's entirely possible that some of the incriminated have already graduated. The worst case scenario for them would be getting their MBA revoked and their careers derailed. I'm sure some programs will kick out current students. Just crazy stuff all around.
I really hope GMAC is 100% positive before calling out the subscribers because I'm sure we all know friends who could've walked into this trap somewhat unwittingly. Hopefully their momentary lack of judgment doesn't completely screw up their MBA dreams. I imagine cancelled scores will be a permanent part of one's GMAT transcript which means even if they retake the exam, schools would know about the previously cancelled score. Troublesome indeed.
I'm really sympathetic to those who must be terrified right now. I mean, I was one of the super obsessed types who was pretty insane in their GMAT preparation (luckily it paid off). In fact, I even remember stumbling across ScoreTop's message boards myself. I remember it distinctly. My Veritas course offered 4 different sets of practice exams (created by GMAC, Veritas, Arco, and 800score). The sucky thing was that my sample scores fluctuated like crazy so I was really nervous and did internet searches to ascertain which sample exams were good indicators. That's how I found the ScoreTop message boards. I remember seeing the threads talking about actual problems but luckily for me, I only read the 1 thread about the different sample exams (which was like 200 posts long!) ... I gotta say, the users of that website were definitely hardcore in their obsession. And I thought I was obsessed! I didn't look around the rest of the site so I never even knew about the $30 membership. Good thing huh? The fallout from this will be crazy. Much bigger than the Fuqua scandal for sure.
In brighter news, I took the PMP certification exam this saturday... I am now a certified P(i)MP. In consulting, it's the top designation that one can get certified in (I think): Project Management Professional. My company sponsored it. All I had to do was take a 4 day bootcamp class and then take the 4 hour exam (only need 3 hours though). Pretty easy stuff. I think it's ridiculous that people can get certified as such from just taking an easy class and then paying for the exam. It almost seems like a money-making scheme. Especially since the class teaches you how to pass the exam, rather than how to manage projects. The learning is very shallow. The positive takaway from this, however, is that I do have a better broad understanding of the consulting world and what it's like to manage projects. In the sense that every endeavor is a project, even applying to b-school, the course provided a decent framework for how to approach these projects from a planning, management, risk, and what-else-have-you perspectives. Last week I was about to use Microsoft Project to plan my b-school application schedule as a fun lil exercise but was too lazy to do so in the end. Silly me :P