Now that all of the excitement is over, I thought it would be a good time to write a post about the first ever MLHR Case Competition. Not just the first ever at Fisher, but to my knowledge, the first grad HR competition ever, anywhere. Case Competitions are common in business schools, but they are usually for MBA students. One thing that the faculty here at Fisher as been telling us from day one is that it is critical for us as HR students to develop our business acumen. We need to be able to understand not only the HR function, but how a business functions, as well as how our decisions as HR leaders will impact the business. This case competition really drove that home for me.
From what I understand, most case competitions are designed such that participants receive a written case at the beginning of the competition and have 24 hours to analyze it, identify key issues, and develop a strategy for addressing them. This case, however, was a live case sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation. When we arrived on Friday morning, HR executives from Whirlpool presented us with an HR issue that they are currently facing. We were then allowed 40 minutes to ask questions to gather as much information as possible before splitting off in teams to work on the issue.
The team I was a part of was made up of students who all worked as Graduate Assistants in the Graduate Programs Office at Fisher. The team was Lauren Hall, Stacey Myers, Emily Rohn, and me. I have to say, this was one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of, which is a good thing since we were stuck with each other for a better part of 48 hours. We essentially were locked in a breakout room at Fisher from 9:00am until 9:00pm. I know many other teams were there much later than we were, but when we made our schedule that morning we set an end time of 8:00pm just to ensure we got enough sleep to be prepared for the presentation the following day.
Much of Friday is a blur of reading over presentation slides, doing research on key HR issues, calculating budgets and return on investment, with a few meals and an episode of The Office thrown in to recharge the batteries. As stressful as this day was, it was actually a lot of fun to work on the challenges we were given and come up with a solution. Plus, the stress of Friday was nothing compare to Saturday. My next post will be about the presentation day for the competition.