BYU Marriott Team Wins $5,000 and First Place at Purdue HR Case Competition

PROVO, Utah – Dec 12, 2019 – Dreams turned to reality for BYU Marriott Society of Human Resources’ student team at the annual Purdue University Krannert HR Case Competition on 13–14 November 2019 when the team returned home with a first-place win and a $5,000 prize.

The undergraduate team consisted of junior Chelsea Allen from Delta, Ohio; junior Rebecca Garrett from Iberia, Missouri; senior Rachel Hair of South Jordan, Utah; senior Gabriel Monarrez of Chicago, Illinois; and senior Alayna Sant of Spokane, Washington. Associate professor of organizational behavior and human resources and the team’s faculty advisor Benjamin Galvin assisted the team in preparing for the competition.

The team went through a process of approval before qualifying to represent BYU Marriott’s Department of Human Resources at the prestigious competition which included presenting their skills to a panel of professors within the department. A week before the competition, the team received the case it needed to present a solution for at the conference.

“Our team spent many late nights and even some early mornings working on our case in the Tanner Building,” says Allen. “Our diverse skills proved to work together to create a strong case. We were able to learn from each other’s strengths.”

The team also worked with Gibb Dyer, academic director of BYU Marriott’s Department of Management. According to Sant, Dyer provided them with key insights on any holes or confusing parts of their presentation in order to help them improve the content and impression of their case.

After a week of preparation, the team arrived in West Lafayette, Indiana and headed to Purdue for a night of networking with the local chapter of the Society of Human Resources. The BYU Marriott team also had the opportunity to network with members of the other teams that competed. The competition was composed of five graduate teams and five undergraduate teams from ten universities around the United States. The next day, the teams presented their cases.

“We presented last,” says Garrett. “We kept our solution simple by using a car analogy and relating things back to it. The judges loved it.”

After presenting and receiving positive feedback from the judges, the team toured Purdue campus atop the Boilermaker Special, the school’s student-driven train mascot, and then returned to the event for the awards dinner to anxiously await the announcement of the winning team.

Team members were confident they had done well, but the announcement of their first-place win was met with joy and racing hearts. “I felt confident that we were definitely in the top, so when second place was announced, I realized it was all or nothing,” says Monarrez. “Finally, when they announced that we had won, I jumped out of my chair. The experience was incredible because we proudly represented BYU and BYU Marriott and knew we had done our best.”

Galvin was also excited about the team’s win. “I am so impressed by our students and I feel privileged to work with them,” he says. “When they get the opportunity to go out into the world and demonstrate their abilities, I know they will bring that same passion and excellence to their future communities and workplaces.”

Hair was grateful to have validation from a nationally recognized entity such as Purdue University. “Winning the competition shows that we have a competitive HR program, since we were surrounded by some of the best HR programs and the best students in those programs,” she says. “I felt humbled to be among such talented students and esteemed schools.”

For Garrett, winning the competition truly was a dream come true. “Winning was amazing, something to check off my bucket list for sure,” she says.

The five members of the BYU team pose with a large check for $5,000. There are four women, one blonde, the other three brunette, and one male.
The BYU team poses with their winnings. Left to right: Rachel Hair, Rebecca Garrett, Chelsea Allen, Alayna Sant, Gabriel Monarrez (photo courtesy of Rachel Hair)
The team presents their case to the judges. The powerpoint behind them reads
The team presents their case to the judges (photo courtesy of Rachel Hair

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Anne Wallace