Society for Human Resource Management students create, present evidence-based strategy for case competition

Elon’s team of Faith Carroll ’20, Jillian Duffy ’20, Alison Flaherty ’20 and Julia Mercurio ’20 applied their human resource management knowledge and skills during the event hosted by Anderson University.

A Martha and Spencer Love School of Business student team participated in the Carolinas Student Society of Human Resource (SHRM) Case Competition, held Feb. 28-29 at Anderson University in South Carolina.

(From left) Alison Flaherty ’20, Julia Mercurio ’20, Jillian Duffy ’20, and Faith Carroll ’20 present at the Carolinas Student Society of Human Resource (SHRM) Case Competition.

Faith Carroll ’20, Jillian Duffy ’20, Alison Flaherty ’20 and Julia Mercurio ’20 addressed a case about a growing, successful consulting organization concerned with turnover of its high performers. Across multiple weeks, Elon’s team, mentored by Assistant Professor of Management Brittany Mercado, conducted research on various strategies to address this concern, as well as the limitations, feasibility and expected utility of each potential pathway. The work by the students culminated in a multifaceted, evidence-based strategy for organizations concerned with retention.

“Participating in the case competition was a great opportunity to utilize knowledge from our coursework and internship experience and apply it to a real-world situation,” said Flaherty, president of Elon’s SHRM chapter and a human resource management major. “This also taught us a lot about teamwork and collaboration, skills we’ve worked on a lot during our time at Elon.”

The team presented its recommendations formally in front of a panel of six human resource leaders, who provided constructive feedback on everything from the presentation styles to how actionable and sophisticated the solutions were.

“I chose to compete because I knew it would be a test to my HR knowledge that I’ve gained in the classroom and through my internships,” Duffy, treasurer of SHRM Elon and a human resource management major said. “I also thought it would be a great opportunity to work with three of my classmates who are equally as passionate as I am about HR. It was one of the most challenging projects I’ve experienced as we met multiple times a week to get our presentation perfect, but it was well worth it.”

“I really enjoyed the competition because I was able to experience solving a very real problem that I could potentially run into when I work in HR in my future,” Mercurio, secretary of SHRM Elon and a business management and finance double major added.

The case competition was part of a broader SHRM conference for young professionals, with programming covering everything from politics in the workplace to negotiations to career planning to legal advice. Sessions were administered by HR executives, attorneys and other seasoned professionals.

“I highly recommend students take advantage of academic opportunities such as these, as they are experiences you can’t always get from a classroom,” Flaherty concluded.

Other participating schools included North Carolina Central University, Anderson University and East Carolina University.

SHRM is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing more than 300,000 members in over 165 countries. Elon’s SHRM student chapter, advised by Brian Lyons, associate professor of management, is a way for students to connect to others interested in HR as well as network with high-profile guests and speakers. For more information on membership and opportunities, visit the SHRM club’s website.