BBC Busts University For Awarding An MBA To A Dog
It’s official: Higher education has gone to the dogs!
You might believe that after the BBC exposed the American University of London (AUOL) for awarding an MBA to “Peter Smith,” a dog living in a London kennel. Talk about rags-to-riches!
This “Shady and The Tramp” story began when the BBC sent Pete’s application to the university. Impressed by Pete’s faux undergrad credentials and 15 years of unremarkable work experience, the university emailed him after four days, awarding him a coveted MBA once he fetched a $7300 check. Pete’s background was so impressive that AUOL apparently waived their requirements for photocopies of qualifications and a photograph of Pete.
No coursework? Just a check? You’d think Pete was an athlete or a legacy.
Now, AUOL has dug quite a hole for itself. Battered by bad press, AUOL has come out, tails between their legs, claiming they are “not a bogus university.” They point to having over 100,000 students worldwide, with distinguished faculty and courses “designed to the most exacting standards, in accordance with the most stringent criteria.” Look a little deeper and some troubling trends emerge according to the BBC:
- AUOL has never applied for accreditation with any American or British education agency.
- The three American institutions that AUOL claims recognizes them are “themselves unofficial and unrecognized.”
- Although the school name would lead people to believe it is based in London, AUOL is actually incorporated in St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. It does not have a physical presence in London.
- When five academics listed on AUOL’s roster were contacted by the BBC, each one stated that they never worked for the university.
- The accrediting agency for the Italian government lists AUOL as “bogus.”
- The school has been blacklisted by five American states, including Texas. You read that right. Texas, the land of deregulation and no-holds-barred capitalism, refuses to recognize AUOL.
In other words, it looks like poor Pete was snookered by a crooked university. But the scandal has made waves far beyond the canine community. The BBC has found that hundreds of executives have AUOL credentials. The BBC spoke to such two individuals – a psychologist and a nuclear industry executive –
who both claim that their degrees required substantial coursework. However, you can bet that professionals worldwide are scrubbing AUOL credentials off of their resumes and Linkedin profiles.
Editor’s Note: Pete is not the first canine to hold an MBA. Chester Ludlow, a Pug, won that honor in 2009 for earning his MBA at Rochville University. While Pete’s degree may not land him a job, we can only hope that his notoriety helps him get adopted by a loving family.
How To Ace The Harvard Business School Admissions Interview
“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.”
Frank Sinatra sang that line about New York City almost forty years ago. But he could’ve been singing about Harvard Business School just as easily. Harvard may not be ranked as the top school in some quarters, but they have the best branding in the business. And that’s why they have more applicants than nearly every other business school. As a result, you face long odds of ever earning an interview with them. But if you do, be ready. Their probing, autobahn-paced interviews aren’t for the faint of heart.
Last week, Harvard sent out interview invites to selected applicants. Recognizing a cash cow, The Harbus, the student news organization of the Harvard Business School, published its annual edition of The Unofficial HBS Admissions & Interview Guide. For just $65, applicants can get the scoop on the questions asked of the previous class. So what types of advice are students receiving? Here are some student insights collected by La Keisha Landrum of The Harbus:
- “Know your application inside and out. Sounds simple, but review it. Know your story and practice explaining key achievements that you mention in your resume or essays.”
- “To practice, I did 6 simulated interviews with HBS students that proved invaluable in my preparation.”
- “Prepare three or four good stories (which could be adapted to answer practically any question), then record yourself on iSight answering 20 minutes of questions. Watch to assess your body language, tone.”
- “If you were reading your application, what questions would you have for yourself? Those are probably the questions you’ll get on interview day.”
- “As you think about your strategy for answering interview questions, it’s a good idea to rehearse your answers, but do not memorize them! That will come off as inauthentic and can really hurt your chances.”
- “HBS students are expected to be able to think on their feet in the case method. The interview screens for that.”
- “You will be asked a lot of questions—often in rapid fire fashion. But don’t forget to get your own message across.”
- “When preparing for your interview, practice being succinct in your answers. HBS is looking for articulate students who can make convincing statements or arguments without going on and on forever.”
Bloomberg Businessweek also suggests that students should dress up and practice interviewing with Harvard Business School students in a conference to get them accustomed to the environment and pace of the interview.
For read sample questions asked of the Class of 2014, check out The Toughest Questions HBS Asks Applicants.