New examples of Management School students’ CVs being altered have been found by SCAN, amid accusations by staff that the paper is waging a misinformation campaign against the school.
Following the article that broke the story in our last issue, Management School students have contacted SCAN, providing copies of both their original and altered CVs, demonstrating how the LUMS Placement Office had changed content without seeking permission or consent.
The issue first came to light last term, when a number of second year LUMS students contacted SCAN with complaints that their CVs had been “changed quite dramatically” by Placement Office staff. Staff in the Placement Office, and within the wider Management School, have since protested that this is not the case.
In the CVs shown to SCAN however, the changes made by the Placement Office are clear. In one CV, the section
headed Profile, which is a personal statement, had been rewritten, and quotes from individuals they identified with, had been removed. This was also the case for a list of achievements that the student originally put in.
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, for fear that their place- ment would be put in jeopardy were their identity known, told how: “In the areas [of the CV] the LUMS staff had changed, there were spelling mistakes and it was very clear where someone else had wrote bits because it didn’t flow at all.”
Areas of work experience had also been omitted from CVs. In one case, parts of a student’s employment history were deleted by the Placement Office, despite the fact that the student still works at the deleted company.
On another CV, the student’s qualifications from the Open University have been removed from the returned draft, despite appearing on the version submitted by the student.
Upon starting their second year, LUMS students are expected to compile a CV as part of the school’s placement programme. Students are given a template CV that they are expected to follow. On this template David Simm is given as, in his words, the “default setting”. This is a hangover from when the template was originally used for only BBA in Management students, the course for which Mr. Simm is the director.
Recently this template has been extended to all LUMS second year students arranging work placements through the school. Mr. Simm’s name remains as the default, but students who are not on his course were expected by staff to replace his name with their own Director of Studies, as an academic referee is needed to confirm a student’s placement on the course, aswell as referees of their own.
However, having done this a number of students found that, upon having their CVs returned to them by the Placement Office after being checked, their own referees had been taken off to be again replaced with Mr. Simm.
In one of the original, unchanged CVs shown to SCAN, the student had replaced Mr. Simm with an ex-employer as referee. After the CV was returned by the Placements Office, the original referee had once again been changed for Mr. Simm. The upset student had never had any interaction with Mr. Simm and felt that he would not be able to give them an honest reference.
Another student added an ex-employer alongside Mr. Simm as referees. When the CV was returned the ex- employer had been removed and only Mr. Simm’s name remained. Neither of these two students were on the BBA course and therefore had nothing to do with Simm.
Simm himself claimed not to be aware that this had happened, although he was keen to stress that “with the is- sue of references we [the Management School] are very careful about what we say.”
He added: “Clearly they [references] have major implications for all concerned, not least of all the student and not least the institution”.
As well as those who showed SCAN their CVs, least three other students have said that they have experienced similar problems. While all have expressed misgivings over Simm’s inclusion as their referee, he would also placed in an awkward situation were any employer to ask him for a reference for a student not on his course.
“What one then does in that situation is concentrate on the factual”, Mr. Simm said. “I would be able to make comments about their modules, and their performance as a student.” However, that is all Simm would be able to comment on. “I wouldn’t therefore be able to go into the more fine detail of saying ‘this is an honest and reliable student’.”
Another issue of concern for some students was the apparent uniformity of LUMS CVs. “They said everybody’s CV needs to be the same,” said one stu- dent, “which I believe sort of defeats the object a CV… It’s very impersonal.”
Professor Mike Wright, the Associate Dean (Undergraduate) of the Management School, said however that the “standard CV format” is used because it “provides the content and clarity of information required”. He added that a number of employers had commented on the quality of the LUMS CVs, saying that many companies say that the “CVs they receive from Lancaster are the best of all those that they receive.”
One final year BBA student also argued the merits of the standardized CV. She said: “This template has worked for many years, and is recognised by employers who highly regard Lancas- ter Management School.”
Indeed, within minutes of speaking with LUMS officials SCAN was contacted by a number of third year and former Management School students, who all spoke in defence of the school’s staff and complained about SCAN’s original investigation into the matter.
Richard Hardaker, a BBA Management graduate said: “LUMS offers excellent support to students trying to acquire an industrial placement within a professional organisation. I had a very useful year’s work experience.”
Despite numerous attempts by SCAN to speak to Anne Welsby, the Placement Manager, who runs the LUMS Placement Office at the centre of controversy, she could not be reached for comment.