BYU Marriott HRM Team Takes First at SHRM Case Competition

PROVO, Utah – Apr 01, 2020 – BYU Marriott human resources management (HRM) student teams took home a first-place and fourth-place finish at the Utah Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) competition. For students in all stages of the HRM program, this competition provided an opportunity to solve a problem similar to ones that they’ll face in their careers and grow their skills as future HRM professionals

“This competition helped prepare me for a future career because it gave me exposure to situations that actually happen in businesses,” says Joseph Whiting, a member of the first-place team. “I am now prepared with solutions that can be applied to lots of different business situations, and I have more experience coming up with creative solutions for different problems in the workplace.”

In addition to Whiting, a sophomore from Lubbock, Texas, the first-place team was made up of Rebecca Garrett, a junior from Iberia, Missouri; Lameck Muaka, a senior from Hockessin, Delaware; Joseph Grimaud, a junior from Santa Barbara, California; and Allison Harker, a sophomore from Rexburg, Idaho. Another BYU Marriott team finished fourth in the competition.

The competition focused on a hypothetical situation relating to employee experience and turnover. The fictional company in the challenge was trying to decide whether to focus its efforts on expansion or on internal issues. The winning team from BYU Marriott compared this challenge to a house that needed to be put in order.

Using that analogy, team members could explain the importance of focusing on internal issues to the judges. "The most rewarding part of the competition for me was the ‘aha!’ moment when our team discovered that the case lent itself to a house analogy with three parts, and we capitalized on that structure,” says Grimaud.

Team members knew that they would need to bring their A game to compete against other undergraduate and graduate-student SHRM teams. In order to create a high-quality presentation, team members started working on the case immediately after they received the email containing details of the scenario. "We met almost every day for at least two hours from Thursday, when we received our case study, to Monday when we presented,” says Grimaud.

The team prepared to present its solution by brainstorming, preparing the slide deck, and practicing what each team member would say. “By the day of the competition, we had prepared so much that we were tired of hearing each other’s parts and looking at the slides,” observes Garrett.

During their preparation for the case competition, juniors and seniors on the team had the opportunity to share their expertise with soon-to-be BYU Marriott HRM students. “I appreciated seeing the more senior students mentor students who are getting ready to enter our program next year,” says Ben Galvin, associate professor of organizational behavior and human resources and SHRM club mentor.

The time and work that the team members had invested paid off as they presented their solution to a panel of judges. “The most rewarding part for me was presenting and seeing our hard work in person,” says Muaka.

Despite early technical difficulties in their presentation, team members remained calm and collected as they discussed their solution. “We kept our composure and were able to dissect this case and show that we had a plan and knew what we were talking about,” says Whiting. Each member contributed to both the presentation and the question-and-answer session, so the judges could see that each one of them had valuable solutions to share.

Team members look forward to applying the lessons that they learned at the case competition to their future academic and career endeavors. “I feel that I have exposure now and insight into an HR path that I would like to pursue,” says Harker.

Beyond the insights that they learned through the competition, team members felt a sense of accomplishment that they had won first place. "When second place was announced and our team hadn’t been called yet, I could hardly believe it,” says Garrett. “I looked around at all my team members, and the excitement was apparent on all our faces; we knew we had won. That was a special moment.”

These are the 1st Place Utah SHRM competition winners: Joseph Whiting, Allison Harker, Rebecca Garrett, Joseph Grimaud, and Lameck Muaka.
Left to right: The BYU Marriott first-place team members Joseph Whiting, Allison Harker, Rebecca Garrett, Joseph Grimaud, and Lameck Muaka.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce