Email Scandals, Law Schools, Rudeness, Screw-Ups

JD / MBA of the Day: Jonathan Eakman, With A Big FU to SMU

SMU dedman school of law.gifSMU Dedman School of Law in Texas has turned out at least one charmer. We now have evidence that it can produce the not-so-charming type as well. Multiple readers alerted us to this thread on Reddit.com: How to Get Kicked Out of Grad School Before You Even Start.

It’s an email conversation between Jonathan Eakman, an SMU Dedman law school student, and the admissions office of the SMU Cox School of Business. Eakman was supposed to start the MBA portion of a JD/MBA joint program this fall. Before starting classes, MBA students must complete three mandatory online tests. These emails track Eakman’s series of excuses for not taking the tests. They include “having too much fun this summer” and “a car wreck, computer problems, stupid family issues and a kidney stone scare.”

He asks the admissions office to “be cool on this” since, in a previous job, he “dodged having to take responsibility for a billion dollar budget, so [he knows] what [he's] doing.” It only gets more hilarious from there.

We contacted Jonathan Eakman by Facebook. After the jump, we give you the email thread as well as the postscript. SMU Cox Business School did not greet Eakman with open arms on the first day of school.


From the person who submitted the thread to Reddit:

The Story of an Educated Idiot. It’s a lot to read, so I realize most won’t, but those who do make it to the bottom will be glad they did. I feel (just a little) bad about posting this, but apparently he already did, to his Facebook page, exactly as it appears here, for all 180 of his “Friends” to see. Incidentally, I am not one of those 180 Friends. I am, however, real-life friends with one of his virtual FB Friends, and this friend copy/pasted it into an email and forwarded it to me. So that’s how I got it. Here it is.

And here’s the full thread, for your reading pleasure. We’re not bothering to redact names, as the thread has already gone viral.

From: Eakman, Jonathan
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 1:00 PM
To: Murdoch, Holly M.
Subject: Ivy software
Holly,
Having too much fun this summer. Need a little extra time on the ivy software. Got the worst out of the way with the accounting, and the business math shouldn’t be a problem (econ degree), but the I have a hitch in my step with the corp finance. Have patience with me.
Thanks. Jonathan


From: Murdoch, Holly Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 1:18 PM
To: Eakman, Jonathan
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Jon – You can have an extension until August 5. Please have them complete by then.
Thanks, Holly Murdoch MBA Admissions


From: Eakman, Jonathan
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 9:17 AM
To: Murdoch, Holly M.
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Holly,
Had some family issues and haven’t been able to get the last Corp Finance study prep test done. Be cool on this. In my last job, I dodged having to take responsibility for a billion dollar budget, so I know what I’m doing. Thanks for your help/understanding.
Jonathan


From: Murdoch, Holly
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 3:46 PM
To: Eakman, Jonathan
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Jonathan – Please have them complete by the end of the weekend.
Thanks,
Holly Murdoch MBA Admissions


From: Eakman, Jonathan
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:11 AM
To: Murdoch, Holly M.
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Holly,
I hate excuses, but I find myself using them. A car wreck, computer problems, stupid family issues and a kidney stone scare have made my three weeks less than productive. I suggest maybe an oral examination to prove my competency or, since bootcamp is already in progress, we forget about it. The downside risk for me is that my grades might suffer, and I am OK with that. Looking forward to a great year in school!
Jonathan


From: Cudney, Patricia
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:40 AM
To: Eakman, Jonathan
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Jonathan – I am sorry to hear of your recent troubles. However, successful completion of the 3 online tests is required of all students for full enrollment in the MBA program this fall. Please let me know when you’ll be able to complete them.
Regards, Patti Patti Cudney
Director, MBA Admissions Cox School of Business at SMU


From: Eakman, Jonathan
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:17 PM
To: Cudney, Patti
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Patti,
The legal education received next door has made me a cynic. Not once has there been an exception made? Never? Not once? Would you admit me if I actually believed that? I’ll get it done. Just don’t feed me the cock and bull story.
Jonathan


From: Cudney, Patricia
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Eakman, Jonathan
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Jonathan – I can only speak definitively to the last 6 entering classes since I have worked here, but there has not been an exception made.
Patti Cudney Director, MBA Admissions Cox School of Business at SMU


From: Eakman, Jonathan
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:43 PM
To: Cudney, Patti
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Patti,
So you would admit me if I believed that.
Jonathan


From: Cudney, Patti
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:44 PM
To: ‘Eakman, Jonathan’
Subject: RE: Ivy software
Since I have been here, no one has been allowed to start the program without completing the test requirements.
Patti Cudney Director, MBA Admissions Cox School of Business at SMU


From: marci
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 2:35 PM
To: Eakman, Jonathan
Subject: Re: JDMBAs
Dear Mr. Eakman,
Your e-mail messages regarding your failure to complete the prerequisites for entering the MBA program have been forwarded to me. First, no one has ever asked for an exception for completing work required to enter the MBA program, nor, obviously, has an exception ever been granted. You were, however, granted several extensions of time to meet the requirements. Frankly, if you are having problems meeting these requirements, whatever the reason, you may well find the program expectations to be very challenging. In addition, the tone you have taken in communicating with Cox staff about the matter is inappropriate. I cannot imagine that you would communicate this way with faculty and staff at the Dedman School and it won’t be tolerated here. If you would like the opportunity to enter the MBA program, I am available this week for a face-to-face meeting to discuss your sincere interest in the program and in meeting all requirements of the program. I strongly suggest that prior to such a meeting, you complete all the requirements if you haven’t done so already. Absent completion of all requirements and a meeting to discuss your seriousness about the MBA program by Friday this week, your admission to the Cox School of Business MBA program will be revoked.
Sincerely,
Marci Armstrong Marci Armstrong, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs Cox School of Business Southern Methodist University


From: Eakman, Jonathan
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 2:19 PM
To: marci
Subject: RE: JDMBAs
Marci,
Did you read the whole email? Don’t use undergraduate threats with a graduate student. Its unbecoming. And hysterical. Furthermore, you granted me an exception on time, so how is an exception on completion any different? As for ability to complete the SMU MBA program, did you check my resume? Do you know I’m a law student next door? On academic scholarship? It is on my resume. It’s a pretty solid resume, you should look. I have real world corporate finance experience for the world’s largest airline. I did their sales strategy. I got there by programming metrics based web applications. I have an econ degree. Might make that corporate finance test seem unnecessary. Furthermore, you assume I have time for a face to face meeting. That is the problem with completing the requirements. I agree that the test is easy to complete. I passed the other two without opening the study materials. I just had a some bad luck and need time to deal with it. That is why I have been granted several extensions. Which I appreciate. But once I complete the requirements, which is one test, what do we have to talk about? My sincere interest in the program? I’m already admitted and my deposit has been paid. I’m enrolled in classes. That’s what I consider sincere interest. What’s your definition? As for my tone. Please define inappropriate. If there is any school bylaws I need to refer to please let me know. This is how the grownups over at the law school communicate. Do you not have a sense of humor? I’ve been at SMU for two years now and I am aware how people communicate. Does this work on people with work experience? Maybe its just hard to threaten (future) attorneys. As for the revoking my admission. I paid the deposit. That means I’m acccepted. Please send appropriate bylaws dealing with rejection of admitted students. You act like I’m a trouble maker, and I’m a law student. What caused the misperception?How many JD/MBA’s do you have problems with? I’m unimpressed with your response. Is this how the business school is going to treat its best students?
Jonathan Ellison Eakman


From: “Eakman, Jonathan”
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2009 18:28:31 -0500
To: Armstrong, Marci
Subject: FW: JDMBAs
Marci,
The admissions department revoking my admission when I am already admitted?? Good try. As an admitted student there is a process for expulsion. Once you allowed me to pay the deposit, put me on the student email, enrolled me in classes, and caused me to spend $900 on textbooks I was admitted. Just because you call the tests prerequisites doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the school curriculum. This goes to the honor board. I am requesting they be brought into this. I am also re-requsting the appropriate bylaws you are acting under.You refunded my nonrefundable deposit. Glad I didn’t get deposit insurance. I’ll be there on monday, since I’m on the roll. It really was a good try.
Jonathan

Really? This is “how the grownups over at the law school communicate”?
We contacted Eakman for comment. It turns out that he was greeted by police officers on the first day of class.
Here’s what he told us via Facebook message:

Thanks for your interest. I really appreciate getting to tell my side of the story. I want to make a couple points right off the bat. First, several students did not set up their email and therefore did not take the prerequisite tests, and were still admitted. They faced no penalties that I know off. Secondly, you don’t kick out a student two days before school starts. I was admitted, the admissions department should have nothing to do with it. I was attending their seminars, and was (and still) on their email list. Thirdly, there is nothing in the bylaws about kicking out a student for being rude. Academic dishonesty, yes, rudeness no. When I showed up to the school I was met by police officers, who restrained me from talking to the admissions person. The law school on the other hand, had no problems with my behavior, and welcomed me back to the law school. I have decided that I don’t want to continue at SMU, but it was obviously too late to apply to other schools, so have taken some time off.

Sounds like Eakman is not being cool on this.
How to Get Kicked Out of Grad School Before You Even Start [Reddit]

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