Marketing can include exaggerations but cannot be untruthful

The continuing education center of a respected university in Lebanon – the American University in Beirut (AUB) – has partnered with a project management training provider – CMCS to provide project management diploma as part of the CEC curriculum.

Before we discuss the issues we have here we must clearly and openly state who I represent. I am the CEO and co-founder of SUKAD Group, and CMCS is a competitor. Now we know some people will say this post is in response to a competitor – a risk we are willing to accept but is not true. We have contacted both CMCS and AUB to correct their mistake with no response.

Since this program is the first in Lebanon – SUKAD will not have any problem in referring people to it – even though it is offered by a competitor since to us Project Management is a passion and essential skills that society and professionals can benefit from. However, as I said in my email to AUB – for me and SUKAD to refer people to the program we have to trust it and if the announcement include an untruthful statement then how can we trust it?

It is important to say here that project management skills are essential in today’s business, government and even not for profit. Project management diplomas are excellent addition in a country where there is no formal education on project management. A diploma is also good in the absence of a post graduate program on project management … but yet again one need to be careful is such a program a primarily commercial endeavor (money first) or is it outstanding learning as the priority?

In this post we will not discuss our opinion of the program itself – we just want to focus on important issues where marketing might be getting out of hand:

First Issue

The announcement claims that this diploma program is the first in the “Region”. On the initial post that I saw from the GM of CMCS – I asked him to define “region”. It cannot be Lebanon since Lebanon is a country and not a  region … so is the Region Levant? West Asia? Middle East? Arab World? I did not get a response from CMCS.

I wrote AUB and I explained to them the need to define the region because if they leave it like this – then this diploma program is not the first in the Region. AUB responded with a lengthy response but no change in the announcement.

Why the “first in the region” is untruthful? Well ESI – a global company – and another competitor have been offering a similar program since 2004 if not earlier in partnership with George Washington University and even give credits toward a Master Degree in Project Management.

SUKAD – my company – offered a similar program in 2009 in partnership with ESC Lille (Now SKEMA) where we already have graduates from the program and who also earned credits toward Master Degree program at SKEMA (a feature the AUB-CMCS program does not have).

Today, the British University in Dubai offer Postgraduate Diploma in project management.

Second Issue

The marketing for this diploma also advertise this is a formal degree and its graduates would be Alumni of AUB. I do not know if this is an issue or not but to my knowledge Continuing Education Centers cannot offer a formal degree … but i might be wrong here since i do not know what the Ministry of Education allows.

Third Issue

In another announcement from CMCS they call this diploma as equivalent to an Executive MBA. Again – is this the truth? Stretching the Truth? Or Untruthful?

Fourth Issue

We are used to university programs listing their faculty — we asked via online posts and in the email to AUB to list the faculty so we can build confidence in this program since it is being advertised as a leading program that blend practice with concepts and leading instructors – but who are they?

Again – we know marketing can sugar coat things – marketing can exaggerate and blow up info but marketing cannot and MUST not be untruthful.

CMCS is a competitor but you can judge yourself if this is an issue of competition or highlighting a truth. Why is it our business to raise this issue?

Maybe this would be for another article but rest assured we did not write here until we have waited a month for AUB – CMCS to correct the mistake with no action!


About Mounir Ajam

Mounir Ajam is eager to awaken the giant of project management within individuals, organizations, and nations! He is an experienced executives with global experience working on projects from the United States to Japan and in between. He has been privileged to work on multiple small projects and mega projects. Mounir is an author, volunteer leader, speaker, consultant, executive coach, and entrepreneur who is open for further learning and sharing.
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2 Responses to Marketing can include exaggerations but cannot be untruthful

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