Labor and human resources student receives award from Purdue HR Case Competition

November 13, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Scott Rochman, a sophomore in labor and human resources in the College of the Liberal Arts, was selected as the Best Speaker for the undergraduate division during Purdue University’s annual HR Case Competition. Rochman was chosen for his performance during the competition’s final presentation. Ten universities and approximately 60 other competitors participated in the competition.

“This was an incredibly beneficial event; I learned so much. I thought it would be a good way for me to determine if HR is the right fit for me and it also helped me build skills that I can talk about in interviews and with future employers,” said Rochman, who is from Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management sponsors the HR case competition annually. Students hone their teamwork, critical thinking, analyzing, and organizational skills to present a solution to an HR-related case from a real-life company. Teams of graduate and undergraduate students representing universities from across the world present their solution to company executives who also act as judges.  

The competition typically takes place in-person over two days and teams have 24 hours to prepare their case. In the virtual format, events were spread out over several days and students had a week to prepare and present their solution to company executives. The two divisions had different HR issues to focus on.

Students also had the opportunity to interact virtually in breakout rooms via Zoom and network with the executive judges of the competition. In the undergraduate and graduate divisions, team awards and individual awards were handed out after the presentations were completed.   

The School of Labor and Employment Relations had two teams of five students in the competition, one in each division.

At the undergraduate-level where Rochman competed, teams worked on a case for Phillips 66. It focused on improving diversity and inclusion in staffing and talent sourcing in the STEM field. Teams were provided pertinent data like employment statistics and company-wide goals to aid them in creating a solution.

Rochman said the case broadened his perspective on diversity and inclusion. “Race is part of it, but there’s so much more that goes into diversity and inclusion, like working on ways to recruit people with disabilities, women and immigrants.”

Some of the undergraduate team’s suggestions for Phillips 66 were rewriting diversity and inclusion statements, developing internship programs for underrepresented groups and tailoring recruitment to individual cities where the company had headquarters.

Hee Man Park is an assistant professor of human resource management and the faculty adviser for the case competition at Penn State. “Despite the coronavirus, Purdue University was able to adapt and host the event virtually,” said Park. “It’s a great opportunity for students to network and learn more about what it’s like to solve HR problems in large companies and some of the challenges they’ll face in their careers. Teams have the chance to use and analyze real-world data to find a solution by applying concepts they learned in the classroom. Both teams put a lot of time and effort into the competition.”

Rochman highly recommends the case competition and plans to participate again next year. “It gives you a taste of practical HR problems, which is really great experience if you’re thinking about business or HR consulting as a career,” he said. “We also had a great team. The best advice I can give is practice – what you’re going to say and communicating with your team. Teamwork and building off each other is so important.”

Students interested in joining next year’s case competition can contact the school at lerpsu@psu.edu for more information.

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Last Updated November 16, 2020