Second year students at the Lancaster University Management School have been told they must use CVs radically altered by University staff when applying for placement schemes.
A number of Management School students – all of whom asked to remain anonymous – have said that their CVs have been “completely redone” in some cases by LUMS staff, to the point where qualifications have been dropped and personal statements altered.
David Simm, the Director of the BBA in Management, as also been added as a reference to a number of students’ CVs, replacing the students own, respected referees .This is the case even for students not studying Management courses.
One student explained how she was left feeling “patronised” by the Management School’s actions, adding: “For a university that is supposedly encouraging independence and creativity in students I thought this was a bit off. [It] got me thinking about how much control the University should really have over us.”
At the start of term students were told by staff at LUMS to compile a CV which could be sent off to perspective employers, in conjunction with the LUMS’s work placement programme. Under the placement scheme students spend a portion of their third year in paid managerial employment. When students had their CVs returned to them, they found that they had been “practically rewritten” by staff in the LUMS’s undergraduate office.
These changes were followed up by an e-mail from the Placement and Programmes Secretary, Sophie Smith, asking students to “please use this version when a CV is requested by a potential employer”.
The e-mail added: “If you wish to make any changes to this document you MUST do so centrally on Anne Welsby’s [LUMS Placement Manager] PC in her office.”
According to Management School staff the only changes made were stylistic, and were done so to comply with “corporate image”. The main issue for students however is the inclusion of Mr. Simm as a referee.
“Many people aren’t happy with this,” one Management School Student Representative told SCAN, adding: “David Simm has never personally taught many of them, just lectured to a class of about 200. People think they could get a better reference off an employer who can comment on them personally and how hard they work, not just about how they are achieving at university, which can be seen from the grades anyway.”
One student commented that Mr. Simm would “not be able to pick me out in a room of faces”, while another said: “He’s my reference and he doesn’t even know who I am. If he says anything about me he’ll be talking a load of rubbish because I’ve never spoken to him on a one-to-one basis.”
Ms. Welsby denied any changes had been made to Student’s CVs. She said: “We format the form because they’ve joined the scheme. We don’t change any of their words, but we make sure that they fit in with the corporate image.”
On the subject of Mr. Simm’s inclusion she said: “It’s up to them [the students] to change the name on the paper. If they [the students] have any problems they should be coming to see me.”
The LUMS’ placement scheme caters for over 200 Management School students. Employers include household names such as IBM, Reebok and Warner Brothers, as well as smaller businesses and students can receive a wage of up to £17,000 per year depending on the length and location of their placement.