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Copenhagen Business School

CBS stops selling unfair access to students to companies

Companies can no longer ask CBS to send out invitations to students with the highest GPAs and invite them to special events. This has recently been decided after students have criticized the practice, which they have described as opaque and unfair. McKinsey was the last company to take advantage of the possibility this August.

Anne M. Lykkegaard

Journalist

Based on criticism from students and CBS WIRE’s investigation into the “unfair” treatment of students, CBS has changed a two-year-old practice in a matter of a weekend.

In the past two years, CBS has offered a service in which companies can send out emails to students about different events for DKK 8,000. Furthermore, until August of this year, companies could pay DKK 12,000 and get access to the students with the highest GPAs. Now, the segmentation based on GPAs are taken out of the service.

“CBS has in the light of inquiries from students discussed the case and can inform that we henceforward won’t include GPAs as a way for companies to segment the students in the services we offer. We will still assist companies and students in getting in contact with one another in an effective and meaningful way,” writes Patrick S. Gram, Head of CBS Partners, in an email Sunday evening on the 27th of August.

Companies can still invite students to different events, but they will either have to invite an entire class or base the segmentation on other parameters.

From CBS Careers or through CBS.dk companies can ask to get a folder with a price list on different services. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

“I think it’s a good decision. I don’t mind CBS having partnerships with companies and that companies can get in contact with the students, but it still seems odd that they can segment students on specific parameters,” says President of CBS Students, Thomas Skinnerup Philipsen.

When CBS WIRE talked to Thomas Skinnerup Philipsen earlier in August, he described the previous service as “opaque” and mentioned at the time that “students don’t even know it’s happening.”

Are you the chosen one?

Before the summer holidays, an invitation from McKinsey & Company was sent out to a chosen group of International Business students who just finished their BSc degrees. They were invited to a party at McKinsey’s on the 17th of August 2017.

“McKinsey & Company would like to congratulate you on your excellent result on your bachelor degree. In recognition of your impressive achievement, they would like to invite you to an evening of celebration,” declares the invitation, which by mistake was sent from the IB study board and not CBS Careers as normal procedure would depict.

The word about the special invitations spread, and soon it got out to students who weren’t fortunate as to have received one.

One of them was Rasmus – whose real name is known by CBS WIRE –  who more than once contacted the Dean’s Office to get some clarifications about this service and objecting to the lack of information about the processes surrounding it. (See fact box)

“I don’t feel that I as a student have been in any way informed about these processes. I got to know about this whole thing via sources other than CBS. So, to me, it seems as if CBS doesn’t want to inform the students about it. It would be appropriate to inform the students that CBS is doing preferential treatment to some students on behalf of companies,” he wrote in an email to the Dean’s Office this summer.

One of Rasmus’ friends, whose name is known by CBS and who from now on will be called Scott, got the above-mentioned invitation from McKinsey & Company, but Scott doesn’t remember confirming to CBS that they could send him invitations like this.

“Optimally, CBS should inform the students about the existence of this process, and that they somehow sell students’ information to companies. Students should have the possibility to say no to that practice, but it’s difficult when you don’t even know about it,” said Scott to CBS WIRE before the practice was changed.

To that Patrick S. Gram says in an interview on the 17th of August that students aren’t given information about the entire service, due to the fact that “students are bombarded with information when they start their studies. Although, later on they receive an email from CBS Careers about invitations from companies.”

Preferential treatment

Even tough, Scott didn’t know about the practice, he found it difficult to be mad, as it gave him some unique chances to get in contact with possible employers. But he understands why others could find it unfair.

“From my perspective, it’s hard to be upset, as it creates some relevant and important contacts from the business community. And I didn’t even have to do anything myself. But on the other hand, I think it’s a little unfair to the other students who don’t get invited. Instead everyone should get invited,” he said to CBS WIRE in August.

It looks as if CBS couldn’t quite defend this practice

Rasmus, CBS student

Rasmus had the same thoughts and didn’t think it was up to CBS to give preferential treatment to some students over others.

“I think it’s alright if CBS helps students to get in contact with the business community, but if it happens in this way, I think it’s unethical and unfair towards the students who haven’t got as good grades. They might possess other competence of value to the companies,” he wrote in an email to the Dean’s Office and continued:

“It’s not that I don’t cherish the good academic performance, I just don’t think it’s up to CBS to give preferential treatment to some students over others.”

More information is still needed

Now, that CBS has changed the practice, CBS WIRE has contacted Rasmus to ask what he thinks about it.

“Interesting. It looks as if CBS couldn’t quite defend this practice,” he writes in an email to CBS WIRE.

Though he is happy about the changes, there’s still one thing that bothers him.

“No doubt about it that it’s the right way to go. But it is still of great importance to me that there is transparency involving the different services and practices CBS offers the business community, and that students have a choice. Partly that we can decide what data about us can be handed out, and partly that we have the possibility to say no.”

“But all in all, I’m glad that CBS wants to support the idea that grades aren’t necessarily the only or the best way to measure students,” he writes.

Comments

  1. Oscar says:

    That also happened back in 2007-8 when I was a grad student… I got the invitations…

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