Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… Institutions poaching on goodwill of other established brands confirm this.

My son studied at Oxford and now is pursuing further studies in US…

This is how an elderly gentlemen from a countryside town in Maharashtra informed me in a casual chitchat. Notice the stress on “oxford” and “US”. Not “UK” and “Arizona”. My bias for brands obviously got me interested even more in the son and so I asked him a few more details just to camouflage my surprise. Guys, it turned out that the son had studied at the Oxford Brooks University and not at “Oxford” as such. I am not at all suggesting that Oxford Brooks is not an University to study and my point is simply how parents treat education primarily to lift their social image than anything else. It is entirely possible that the course that the student studied is better-delivered at the University that he studied in than at the Oxford University. However, this has got me to recall that in past I have had…

My son is studying at LSC…

(pronounced in a way that it sounded like the much hallowed LSE than London School of “Commerce” which is in no-way comparable.) I made the error of clarifying to the father that LSC is not linked to London School of Economics and letting his flaunt fall flat in front of relatives. This is the reason why this day I didnot correct the misrepresentation of Oxford Brookes as Oxford. Once again LSC may be delivering its program perfectly but my problem with institutions deliberately adopting names that tries to poach on the goodwill of other brands.

This is similar to Central Queensland University graduates referring to having studied at “Queensland University” possibly deliberately confusing the world with “University of Queensland”. Here the fault is not so much of CQU but some inner insecurity on the part of the students. In India, IIMs turning out to be International Institutes of Managements rather than the Indian Institute of Management is also common.

At a wedding I found the groom enlightening his in-laws and his new bride on the “Doon” schooling that he had till I asked a simple question that a dosco asks another from the same school: “Ah Doon! What a co-incidence, which house? Which batch?”. The embarrassed groom made me feel unwanted at his wedding as he indicated that he had not entered the Chandbagh estate at all and had studied at another school in Dehradun though had given an impression of his being a DOON alum. Well…

In Kolkata or Delhi or for the matter of fact in any Indian University, those who study at the right colleges, tend to name the college as his alma mater (such as Stephens or SRCC…) while all the rest refer to them having studied at CU or DU…

Education is gradually becoming more and more of a brand concept than what we study at the college. Possibly this was the same always. What bothers me are the copy-cats. By copying others they only lower themselves. The one who is being copied will remain the one being copied. Hence Global Reach will remain Global Reach and the Global XXX and the likes will remain just XXX.

They say that the imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… I want to believe that it is so.



  1. Like this article, it’s absolutely true. Such things are also present in the foreign education industry. Not only institutes but again there are a few education agencies too in some thing like this. Such scams including phishing are common things now. While I must admit that most education agents are honest and do a lot of good to the students, but again we find a few rouge agencies too. A few have created websites which looks like the official website of universities, institutes or immigration authorities. I have seen some URL’s like or These websites were linked to the agent’s websites. I came across one such site and called them to have a chat and they said “there is nothing illegal about this”.

    I also came across a lady who gave me her visiting card with one of the leading UK University Logo and her name, address on this. It looked like this lady was a staff of the university, later on I found that she was an agent for this university, but nothing like this was mentioned on her card. Some one told me it’s a commercial world and this is all known as Marketing

    In another case I saw one agency advertising that they are winners of some award which is in no way related to academics or education. But again it was made to look like its a great award and they claim to be the best agencies in India as they have won that award. A few days back I got a call from some Brands company in Noida that they want to sell me one such award which will be given by some big personality and I can get good press coverage all over India and use it for marketing my agency for only INR 1,50,000/-

    This is a widespread problem and has no solution. One should be more careful and do more investigation and research


    1. What is even more despicable is that agents with similar sounding names poach students who are not well informed. I personally know of cases where students who wanted to go to one particular agent ended up being poached by another agent who had his office in the same building and had a company with a similar sounding name.

      Who cares about ethics?


  2. I have had similar experience.When I was flying to Uk in 2006 I met a couple aboard sitting next who claimed they studied at the LSE..When I began enquiring about the changes taking there at the Houghton Street. ,they became non communicative. Later the lady explained they studied at LSC(London School of Commerce). Thereafter they avoided chatting with me on learning I had done my undergraduate at the LSE.


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