The Carlson International Human Resources Case Competition challenged student teams to help a local nonprofit address a recruitment challenge

The Carlson School of Management's inaugural Carlson International Human Resources Case Competition was hosted this fall by the MA-HRIR program. Graduate HR students from around the world joined Carlson School MA-HRIR students to seek the best solution to a real-world problem pertinent to international human resources management.

"All of the teams were very eager to experience our school and the competition itself," says MA-HRIR first-year student Stan Stantchevski, a member of the Carlson School team.

This year's case was presented by Feed My Starving Children, a local nonprofit that ships food to nearly 70 countries around the world to feed malnourished children. The organization assigns employees to work in an array of geographical areas, and faces a challenge in attracting candidates who are adept in handling uncertain and sometimes dangerous situations that could occur around the world.

This year, case competition student teams created a replicable recruitment and staffing template for the organization, provided strategies for hiring a new regional manager for Africa, and presented their findings to a five-member panel of judges.

Participants visited a Feed My Starving Children location in Eagan and packaged food as volunteers. Stantchevski said the best part of the competition was the exposure to the work of the organization.

"The hands-on experience really opened up [the needs of the organization] for people and it really allowed us to make a difference," he said. "It highly influenced the case analysis as we all had some kind of impact on the organization."

The Case Competition took place Nov. 14-16, and featured six teams of graduate HR students from the United States, Canada and China. The winning team was from Ohio State University; second place went to the team from HEC Montreal; and the University of Minnesota took third place.

"The teams were all excellent competitors," says Stacy Doepner-Hove, director of the MA-HRIR program.

Student Director Igor Stanceric, a second-year MA-HRIR student, said he was drawn to the opportunity to coordinate the competition because of "the endless opportunities it presented." Also, he believed the competition would have a positive impact on all the students, and the MA-HRIR program as well.

"This is an event that will hopefully be held every year from now on and will really separate the Carlson School and our HR program on yet another level from our peers," Stanceric said.

Participants' evaluations reflected their positive experience with this inaugural competition. One commented that she chose to participate in the competition "to seize the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to practical problems." Another student remarked how much he enjoyed interacting with other schools, and "meeting incredible students and professionals in HR management from around the world."

The competition was judged by HR professionals from the competition's sponsors, by employees from Feed My Starving Children, and by a faculty member from the MA-HRIR program. One judge commented on how professionally the students conducted themselves. Another judge said, "I think the case competition is a great idea - it puts the students' learning into practice and truly displays their HR knowledge."

Sponsors included Eaton Corporation, Land O'Lakes, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, and Dr. Michael B. Lee.