Business school sued over 'masters'

January 14, 2005

Stockholm University School of Business is being sued by an international student who claims he was misled over the status of a business studies course.

Tom Smith, a former Washington lobbyist, claims he was falsely led to believe he was enrolling on a masters course when in reality it was a diploma.

In January 2003, he enrolled on a one-year course that the school advertised on its website as an International Executive Masters of Business Administration (IEMBA).

Mr Smith said: "I sought assurances that the course was a graduate masters course before my company, Capital Traction, paid the 170,000 crown (Pounds 13,000) course fees. Once term began I became suspicious - I was time-tabled to participate in lectures alongside third-term students (non-fee paying undergraduates)."

He sought assurances that the course was a masters degree and then learnt the degree title "masters" was not officially awarded in Sweden and that the IEMBA was a 40-credit diploma course.

He asked for a refund, but said that Leif Lindfors, the university director, told him the university "could not solve disputes such as this on (its) own". It referred the dispute to the Office of the Chancellor of Justice, which handles complaints against the State.

Mr Smith said: "I was left waiting for an answer for three months."

He turned to the US Embassy in Stockholm. "They contacted the Chancellor of Justice, who told me that since my company had paid for the course, it was a contract law issue and would have to be pursued privately."

Mr Smith also complained to the National Agency for Higher Education, which questioned the university's handling of the IEMBA programme.

A university spokesman said: "The matter is finished as far as we're concerned."

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