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March 14, 2003
Inaccurate Resumes Cost Candidates Opportunities
People who submit inaccurate resumes to America's business schools are finding out the universities are checking to determine the veracity of their resumes and have zero tolerance for false information, Business Week reports.

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At the University California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, the most common inaccuracy found on resumes is fabricated dates of employment, most likely to hide periods of unemployment, according to Business Week. The school conducts background checks on all candidates admitted for its MBA program. After conducting checks on all candidates for its MBA class of 2003, the university withdrew offers to 5 percent of the 100 candidates, according to Business Week.

The applicants would have been accepted if they were honest about the dates of employment and unemployment, because admissions officers know the state of the current job market, admissions director Jett Pihakis tells Business Week.

Most business schools conduct spot background checks of admitted students, but some are contemplating initiating universal checks of admitted students, the magazine notes. Some of the rejected Berkeley candidates who were loose with the facts may have gone to another school that didn't check the accuracy of their resumes. The average candidate for an MBA applies to 3.8 schools, according to a Business Week survey.

The magazine notes that some MBA candidates believe a layoff or period of unemployment could count against them in an increasingly competitive field of applicants, adding to the temptation to put inaccurate information on resumes.

"Applicants don't need to fudge this," says Linda Meehan, admissions director at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business. "We recognize that this isn't [a good job market]."

Columbia conducts spot checks now on accepted MBA students, but hasn't ruled out initiating a more comprehensive policy, Meehan tells the magazine.


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