Many of us oversell ourselves on our resume in an attempt to fare better in the competitive job market. But for one to claim that he or she graduated from a prestigious university which he or she possessed the certification through dubious means is an unforgivable violation.
Lately, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya was found to allegedly possess a bogus “Cambridge” degree. NST reported that Marzuki graduated from the “ivy league” university in business administration and scored a 3.3-grade point average (GPA).
In a response to the claims, Marzuki shared his academic transcript which has a Cambridge International University (CIU) bearing on top of the one-page certification. Most universities’ academic transcripts are multipage with a detailed breakdown of courses taken in the three-year semesters.In the one-pager dated May 16, 2005, it showed that Marzuki took nine courses and attained “45 credits” under the study mode of “credit accumulation & transfer scheme”.
The subjects the PPBM secretary-general took were Business Organization, Strategic Management, Logistics Management I and II, Stock Control Management, Human Resource Management, Supply Chain Management, Economics and Dissertation.The daily discovered that the deputy minister’s transcript is almost the same as an example of Cambridge International University (CIU) results’ transcript published on its website except for the name of the degree holder and the courses taken.
In the example, the degree’s holder is “Abraham Kensington” and he took nine subjects as well. Although the subject names are different, the results of the nine subjects are identical and in the same order: B (3.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), A- (3.7), B (3.0), A (3.9) and B (3.0). Both scored a 3.3 GPA too.
After local media scoured the website, which The Star noted that it has a “.com” web domain and not a “.edu”, the website is currently down.
The Star also noted that the photo of an “associate professor” Dr Patricia Powell has an international online dating site AnastasiaDate watermark below. Five other profile pictures of women in the adjunct faculty members also seem dubious as they look like photos of models.
It is believed that CIU is a “diploma mill” that awards degrees without going through proper studies. The university does not have a physical address and anyone could enrol into the university by just paying with Visa or MasterCard. It offers “distance learning” programmes costing as low as US$5,000 (about RM20,000) to obtain a degree, worse yet, it is payable via PayPal.
In a bid to clarify, Marzuki said the university is a US-based university with a “Cambridge” in its name and that it has no connection with the prestigious Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
“Honestly, it was never my intention to use my academic qualification to confuse anyone,” said the deputy minister, adding that he took up the degree in 2002 to gain knowledge.
“At the time I was working as the CEO of my logistics and shipping company in Penang.
“Honestly, my intention at the time was to gain more contemporary and current knowledge on the logistics and shipping industry in developed countries, including the United States of America. It was my hope that the knowledge I would acquire would help me expand and further develop my shipping company,” Marzuki said.
He also said that he did not think he would be part of the ruling government one day, adding that he would leave the decision of his stint as the Deputy Foreign Minister to the party and the Prime Minister.
CIU did not attain accreditation but the university admits that higher learning institutes in the US do not have to get accredited as it is a strictly voluntary option.
To that, Marzuki said: “In fact, at the time, there was no notable and organised university ranking system like we have today. There was also no list of ‘bogus universities’ at the time.
“Therefore, when I found out about the courses offered by CIU, which was related to the field I was in, I registered without due consideration on the accreditation.”