Degree Dramatization: Ex-Google MD Rejects Candidate Who Had ‘Harvard Alum’ Written On CV

Parminder Singh, Chief Operating Officer of Tatler Asia and a former Google managing director, recently shed light on a troubling hiring trend known as ‘degree dramatizing.’ This practice involves candidates exaggerating their academic credentials to appear more impressive.

Singh shared an experience with a job applicant who claimed to be a “Harvard Alum” on his resume. However, Singh discovered that the candidate had only attended a four-week entrepreneurship course at Harvard. This went on to raise questions regarding the candidate’s honesty. Singh noted that such exaggerated claims are becoming alarmingly common.

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“‘Harvard Alum,’ read the candidate’s CV I was interviewing. There were no other details about his educational background. When I asked what he studied at Harvard, he replied, ‘A Course on Entrepreneurship.’ When I inquired about the duration of the course, he said it was four weeks. I couldn’t help but form the impression that he’s prone to exaggeration, which immediately raised a red flag for me. This wasn’t the first time I had encountered such a situation though. ‘Degree dramatizing’ is becoming worryingly common,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

The problem, according to Singh, lies in distinguishing between short-term courses and full-fledged academic programs. While short-term courses from prestigious institutions can enhance a resume, they don’t provide the same comprehensive, selective experience as a full-time program.

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“A paid short term course is a good addition to the CV but it doesn’t quite qualify you as a ‘Harvard Alum’. In fact, Harvard University’s website explicitly defines who qualifies as a Harvard Alum,” he explained.

Singh drew from his own experience, having completed an executive education course at Kellogg. Despite the program’s prestige, he always clarified that it didn’t make him a Kellogg alum.

“Employers value honesty above all else. By attempting to take a shortcut like this, you risk coming across as duplicitous. It’s simply not worth it. Integrity is far more valuable than any Ivy League degree,” he concluded.

Have a look at his entire post here:

How do you think employers should verify academic credentials?

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