Last Saturday, Fisher held the Fifth Annual Human Resource Invitational Case Competition. This competition is an annual competition which involves five premier master’s programs in human resources in the U.S. to compete against one another. These programs including: Cornell, Illinois, Minnesota, Rutgers, and of course, Ohio State. Sponsored by PepsiCo, the case competition requires candidates to come up with solutions based on the case that PepsiCo provided in 20 hours. Derek Lancashire, one of our team members, and my classmates, told me that the process was stressful because they received the case on Friday morning and had to give presentation on Saturday morning. But our team did a good job. They ranked second in the competition. In addition, Marlina Frederick, a second year MHRM student, was given the award of Best Q&A. Well done, buckeyes!
Even before I applied to the MHRM program, I had heard about the case competition. I heard that it was a high level competition because all teams come from top human resources programs in the U.S. Last Saturday, I was lucky to become a volunteer and witness the process of the event. We arrived at Fisher at 7:30 when the breakfast started. At breakfast, I met with 5 groups and their coaches. Teams from each program stayed together and talked in low voices; it was a nervous atmosphere. At 8:30, the competition began. My duty was to remind the group that the other group started the presentations so that they have 20 minutes left. When the other group finished the presentation, I came and reminded that they now had only 10 minutes and maybe wanted to get ready and wait outside the presentation room. At first I was confused about what to do, but Chip showed me how to be a runner. I learned that instead of sticking on time, I should not disturb their preparation. So most of the time I just waited out of their break room looking at the time until they finished their preparation and then knocked on the door to tell them how much time left before their presentation. Because most of the groups decided to go with me 10 minutes before their presentation, I could talk with them during the way to the presentation room. As most of the group members of Illinois and all of the group members from Rutgers are Chinese, I found it was easy to start a conversation-although my goal was to help them relax!
After the competition, the lunch was more like a celebration. People did not stay within their own group but talked to people from other programs. We talked about the trend and issues of human resources. I thought it was a great time that we expressed our appreciation to all group members, coaches, sponsors, and of course, volunteers. Thanks to Chip and Chanelle and other volunteers – they really did a lot to make the event run smoothly! It was also a great time to build friendships among people from different programs: it was great to see that these competitors became friends and maybe will become business partners to improve the human resource field in the future.