Even a dog can get an MBA from this university

About 1.5 years ago (Oct 2013), BBC dispatched their investigative reporters to look into claims that students could buy an MBA degree from the American University of London (AUOL) without actually doing any academic work (‘American University of London sells study-free MBA‘). It was found that an MBA degree could be bought for £4,500 at AUOL.

AUOL has phone numbers in the UK, but it is actually incorporated in St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.

Its website claims that that all of their courses “have been designed to the most exacting standards, in accordance with the most stringent criteria, in order to provide outstanding education at an affordable price”.

To test AUOL, BBC drew up a one-page fake CV for a dog, known as Pete, which included 15 years of made-up work experience and a fictitious undergraduate degree from a British university.

With typical British humour, BBC said after the exposé, “‘Pete’ was actually a dog living in Battersea Dogs’ Home.”

BBC sent Pete’s CV to AUOL, along with a completed application for the MBA degree and £50 application fee. AUOL requires applicants to provide photocopies of previous qualifications and a photograph of themselves. However, BBC was unable to provide either since the qualifications did not exist and the applicant was a dog. As such, BBC omitted providing them.

Despite these omissions, just 4 days after sending in the application, AUOL sent Pete an e-mail saying that his application for a degree based on previous experience had been successful and that once the university had received the £4,500 fee, “Pete” would be registered as an MBA graduate within 2 weeks.

When BBC called to check whether “Pete” would be required to submit any academic work, an AUOL spokesperson said, “No, no, apparently the APEL [Accreditation of Previous Experiential Learning] board awarded him (“Pete”) the full degree immediately based on his qualification and his professional experience, so he doesn’t have to do any courses.”

In other words, no studying is required at AUOL – just pay £4,500 for an MBA degree.

AUOL blacklisted

The university is listed as “bogus” by an agency that evaluates degrees for the Italian government.

In the US, it has been blacklisted in 5 states, including Texas where it is illegal to use any of its qualifications to get a job. In other words, it is against state law to use a bogus qualification to apply for any job in Texas.

George Gollin, an American academic with expertise in unaccredited education, told BBC, “It (AUOL) doesn’t have authority to award degrees. They are not degrees. They are pieces of paper and I’m guessing they are not able to sell very many degrees into countries where English is the first language.”

BBC also went online and found that, in fact, hundreds of senior executives had listed themselves as “graduates” of AUOL. When BBC contacted some of them, they all insisted that they did “study for their degrees”.

AUOL graduates in Singapore

TR Emeritus did a cursory check on LinkedIn, the professional social networking site, to see if there are also graduates of AUOL here in Singapore.

Indeed, LinkedIn shows that there are 24 of them, working at these places [Link]

Some of them appear to be holding senior positions in Singapore’s financial industry.

It is not known if the Monetary Authority of Singapore, like IDA, is alright with applicants using bogus degrees to apply for jobs in our financial industry, touted to be one of the top financial centres in the world.

This was reproduced with permission from editors of TR Emeritus.


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