Ex Google MD disappointed to see ‘Harvard alum’ on candidate’s CV. Here’s why | Trending - Hindustan Times
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Ex Google MD disappointed to see ‘Harvard alum’ on candidate’s CV. Here’s why

BySanya Jain
Jun 21, 2024 08:36 AM IST

A former Google MD has called out people who claim to be alumni of Ivy League institutes without having completed an undergraduate or graduate programme there.

A former managing director at Google has called out people who claim to be alumni of Ivy League institutes without having completed an undergraduate or graduate degree programme there. Parminder Singh said he was disappointed to see “Harvard alum” on the CV of a candidate he was interviewing. Further enquiry revealed the candidate had only completed a short-term, four-week course at Harvard.

Parminder Singh on what qualifies a person as an "alum" of an institute. (X/@parrysingh)
Parminder Singh on what qualifies a person as an "alum" of an institute. (X/@parrysingh)

Singh, who currently serves as COO of Tatler Asia, cautioned job seekers against ‘duplicitous’ practices in his post on social media.

“Being an alum of a premier institute implies undergoing a rigorous selection process and spending a considerable amount of time with individuals who have undergone a similar process. A paid short term course is a good addition to the CV but it doesn't quite qualify you as a Harvard Alum,” he wrote.

Completing a short term course at Harvard typically refers to taking a non-degree course or program at the Ivy League institute. This course can range from a summer school program to a professional development course, but is different from the degree programmes (undergraduate or graduate) offered by Harvard.

In this case, the candidate had completed “a course on entrepreneurship” from Harvard. To Singh, this short course did not qualify him as a Harvard alum.

Take a look at Parminder Singh’s post below:

Singh ended his post with a personal example and a word of caution for all job seekers. He said that he had himself completed an executive education course at Kellogg. “I used to make it very clear that it was a short-term course and by no means would I dare call myself a Kellogg alum,” he said.

However, an interviewer once mistook him for a Kellogg alum. After that, he removed the Kellogg reference from his CV altogether.

“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.

In the comments section, X users pointed out several such examples of people who claim the “alum” tag. Many said that falsely claiming to be alumni of prestigious institutes trivializes the hard work for people who had to undergo a rigorous selection process.

“I see even CXOs of Bluechip companies who take these short term courses, proudly call themselves alums of Ivy League institutes on Linkedin. I am not sure if the HRs value Integrity because whenever such CXOs join a new org., the press release mentions them as Harvard, INSEAD alums,” wrote X user Rachit Sethi.

“Institutes are very clear on whether you are eligible to call yourselves an alum or not. This is not a grey area,” another person said.

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