SMLR Holds First HR Case Competition, Impresses Morgan Stanley Executives

Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) held the final round of its first ever HR Case Competition on November 10, 2012. Seven teams of undergraduate and graduate students in SMLR’s human resource management (HRM) program were tasked with identifying opportunities and solutions to real-life HR issues at the financial services firm and market leader, Morgan Stanley. Each of the finalists was awarded a plaque and $50 for their outstanding presentations to the firm, but there was only one winning team—Team Analytics. Team members Jeffrey Cuartero, Tiffany Do, Steven Min, and Garland Yen not only impressed Morgan Stanley’s executives, but as the event winners, they now have the opportunity to interview for internships at the company.

Above: Members of Team Analytics, the HR Case Competition's winning team, are captured prior to their impressive presentation. 
Above: Members of The Go present their findings to the judges. 
Above: Members of Team HR Consultants, one of the two teams that finished in second place, take a photo before their presentation.
Above: Professor David Ferio (standing) and the judges deliberate over the award winners.
Above: Jeremy Shapiro, an executive director from Morgan Stanley, takes a photo with Team Business Beauty.
Above: Members of Team Awesome are joined by Professor Hazel-Anne Johnson (second from left).
Above: Members of RU Stanley, one of the two teams that were runners-up, brainstorm ideas prior to the final event.

For the case competitors, the final round was the culmination of four weeks’ worth of work. The event began with 23 teams of undergraduate and graduate students (a record 82 participants) in SMLR’s HRM program, vying for spots in three rounds. The finalists—five groups of graduate students and two undergraduate student groups—gathered in Rutgers’ Livingston Commons and gave timed, 15-minute presentations to the judges.

“I am proud of my teammates and the hard work that we each put into this,” said Steven Min, an undergraduate senior, who is majoring in human resource management and economics. “The case was a great way to increase skills in public speaking and analyzing data. It was great practice for what we will face in the real world.” 

True to the team’s name, Team Analytics impressed the judges with an in-depth analysis of Morgan Stanley’s attrition rates in relation to workers’ age, compensation, and job performance before recommending an action plan that incorporated a social media strategy. The team outlined potential collaborations between managers and junior employers. In addition, they suggested feedback loops to help business units manage employees.

“This competition is about remembering the human element of HR, not just having it data driven. The students helped me to rank and order what’s going on and what’s important in our company, which is highly valuable,” said Jeremy Shapiro, an executive director at Morgan Stanley, who was among the judges.

Patricia Gould, a fellow executive director at Morgan Stanley, was equally impressed by SMLR’s students. She said, “The students are so much more advanced and prepared for what’s to come. They’re polished and have confidence. In the business world today, we need that level of confidence and innovative thinking.”

Teams RU Stanley and HR Consultants came in as extremely close runners up to Team Analytics. RU Stanley team members included Ripdaman Kaur, Monika Navandar, and Pallavi Nuwal. Team HR Consultants members were Saylee Bhorkar, Sucharita Chowdhury, Maham Mukhtar, and Divya Rallabhandi. Each of the seven finalists nominated one person from their group to receive the Jim Chelius Outstanding Presenter/Team Player Award. Winners included: Jeffrey Cuartero, Maham Mukhtar, Pallavi Nuwal, and Peter Rabicki.    

In addition to Morgan Stanley Executive Directors Jeremy Shapiro and Patricia Gould, judges included Morenika Sylla, a former co-president of Rutgers Society of Human Resource Management (RU SHRM) and an RU SHRM honorary advisor. In addition, Bao Ngyugen, senior vice president of RU SHRM; Monika Mackow, an HRM alumna ’12, and SMLR HRM Professor Hazel-Anne Johnson, who was “blown away and impressed by the quality of the presentations and ability of the students to apply the lessons in which she taught in the classroom” were in attendance for the final round.

Saylee Bhorkar believes that the case competition was an excellent platform for her group. “What we did is very similar to what an HR consultant does. You’re dealing with real-life cases and actual problems that need to be solve,” she says.

SMLR HRM Professor David Ferio, who organized Rutgers SMLR’s HR Case Competition, believes that these events are highly beneficial to HRM students. “The more that our students work together through these cases, the better prepared they are for future competitions and the closer they get to making a mark in their career.”

Finalists included:

1.       Team Analytics –Jeffrey Cuartero, Tiffany Do, Steven Min, and Garland Yan

2.       Team Awesome – Albert Hong, Yusra Janajri, Tae Kim, and Ken Lim

3.       Business Beauty – Cheng Chi, Ruijia Fang, Yin Fu, and Yingying Liu

4.       The Go – Deboleena Bose and Peter Rabicki

5.       Team HR Consultants (runners up) - Saylee Bhorkar, Sucharita Chowdhury, Maham Mukhtar, and Divya Rallabhandi

6.       Team Human Capital – Alysia Chevalier, Johan Francois, Bonny Kok, and Mary Thompson

7.       RU Stanley  (runners up) - Ripdaman Kaur, Monika Navandar, and Pallavi Nuwal

For more information on SMLR’s HRM programs, visit: