March 10, 2010

Cornell Wins Human Resources Games

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Cornell’s two teams in the Northeast Regional Human Resources Competition placed first and third out of 24 teams last weekend –– in a competition that included last year’s champion, Penn State. The winning team is invited to a National Human Resources Conference in San Diego in June, which will feature speeches from Al Gore and Steve Forbes, as well as job search services and networking opportunities.

This weekend’s competition was held at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management.

The “HR Games” is a Jeopardy-style competition in which students from different universities battle in categories pertaining to human resources topics, such as organizational behavior, staffing, recruitment, training and development and labor relations.

According to Prof. Brad Bell, human resources, who is the human resources club’s advisor, Cornell students have competed in the competition for several years and usually do very well.

“Our students have more breadth of knowledge because the [Industrial and Labor Relations] school covers all of the concepts,” he said.

Since SHRM started the tournament in 2000, Cornell has won six regional titles and two national titles, according to Steven Crudele ’10, who competed in this year’s tournament for his second time.

Cornell sent two teams of three students each, including three veteran students and three newcomers. Two graduate students who had competed as undergraduates went along as well. The students began preparing with the local SHRM chapter and Bell shortly after winter break.

On Friday there were some educational events, including resume review sessions, and on Saturday the competition began.

There were four preliminary rounds before the semi-finals and finals. The two Cornell teams placed second and third in the preliminary rounds and were forced to face off against each other in the semi-finals.

According to Bell, the “underdog” team — comprised of Phoebe Yu ’12, Soolean Choy ’12, and Praew Liwjaroen ’11 — beat the favorites, Steven Crudele ’10, Rachel Zheng ’10, and Kathleen Soo Hoo ’11, who finished third in the tournament.

“It was hilarious when we went head to head because we both know the same stuff. So it became a matter of who got to the buzzer first,” said Yu, who also works for The Sun’s business department. “I’m trigger happy.”

Yu, Choy and Liwjaroen’s team advanced to the finals, where they took on Shippensburg. According to Yu, the final round was close and SHRM headquarters had to be called to settle a challenge, which resulted in Shippensburg losing 800 points and allowed Cornell to take the title.

“We didn’t even know, but we each got a $500 scholarship and a free trip to the National Conference in San Diego,” Yu said.

The participants said that they really enjoyed the competition.

“It’s a rewarding competition,” Crudele said. “It’s an honor to serve ILR. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of training goes in but at the end of the day you meet a lot of people and it’s a great networking opportunity.”

Original Author: Laura Shepard