Bao Nguyen Is Awarded Best Individual Team Member At The Ohio State HR Invitational

On February 10, Bao Nguyen, senior vice president of Rutgers Society of Human Resource Management (RUSHRM), in conjunction with the Rutgers MHRM high caliber case team (Maham Mukhatar, Monika Navandar, and Kay Sylla) won the award for Best Individual Team Member Presentation at the Ohio State HR Invitational Graduate School Case Competition. Nguyen competed as a member of the Rutgers “SMLR Dream Team,” which included his fellow MHRM classmates.

Above: Members of the "SMLR Dream Team" are joined by Professor and RUSHRM Advisor Dave Ferio. From left, Bao Nguyen, Kay Sylla, Professor Dave Ferio, Maham Mukhatar, and Monika Navandar.

“My team and I termed ourselves the ‘SMLR Dream Team’ because of the tremendous amount of talent everyone brought to the table,” says Nguyen. “I was very surprised to have won an individual award.”

The SMLR team took part in a very intense two-and-a-half-day competition against students fromCornell, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio State. Two vice presidents and four directors from the sponsoring companies—Pepsi, Marathon Oil, and Eaton Corporation—and representatives from Cardinal Health formed the review board. The case required that each team provide recommendations to Pepsi Bottling and Frito Lay to address the need for a dramatic, innovative, and sustained new hire sourcing and recruiting strategy. The case analysis was done within a compressed 24-hour time frame, culminating in a 25-minute, highly intensive and interactive board-level presentation.

"This was an outstanding team effort, light years ahead of our outcome from last year," says Professor Dave Ferio, director of the HRM master’s program and advisor to RUSHRM. “The team focused on the business, employed strong analytics, and proposed creative workforce solutions to a complex staffing problem advanced by the Pepsi Corporation."

The Ohio State HR Invitational Graduate School Case Competition tests students' analytical savvy and presentation skills, while helping to prepare them for the real challenges of the business world. To prepare for this event, Bao Nguyen reflected on feedback from his colleagues, noted the mistakes he’s observed from previous case competitions, and read through the “Leadership” section of CNN Money to observe how high profile leaders respond to public scrutiny of the organizations that they managed.

“Unfortunately, this will be my last academic case competition, since I’m graduating in May 2013. Nonetheless, it makes me proud to know that a group of student pioneers were able to lead future SMLR Knights into this competitive arena,” says Nguyen, who credits the MHRM program and case competitions for giving him the skills needed to align practical solutions with a business and develop HR business cases for upper management.

“My advice to future competitors and MRHM students is to remember that although the focus of our academic training is in HR management, real solutions are usually a hybrid of multiple disciplines AND your own logic. Don’t be afraid to explore beyond the classroom and take well calculated risks.”

The award for Best Individual Team Member Presentation will be displayed in the MHRM/RU SHRM display case at the Janice H. Levin Building.