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WVU team wins first place at national case competition

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A graduate student team from the WVU College of Business and Economics has won the SHRM Case Competition held in Philadelphia. The team is made up of all women who are all West Virginia natives and all students in the MS in Industrial Relations and Human Resources program. Pictured, from left, are Brittany Bond, Rachel Hamilton and Emily Myers.
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A three-student team from West Virginia University recently placed first in the Society for Human Resources Management competition. The team won the graduate student division of the 2017 SHRM Case Competition and Career Summit in Philadelphia, placing first in a field of eight teams.

Three HR-minded students from the WVU College of Business and Economics won the case competition, which was based upon a fictitious family farm. All three team members are enrolled in the Master of Science in Industrial Relations and Human Resources graduate program at B&E and all three are West Virginia natives. The group included Brittany Bond, Vienna; Rachel Hamilton, Beckley; and Emily Myers, Morgantown.

“It is always difficult to be given a case and identify a plethora of issues the organization is facing, develop alternative solutions for those issues, introduce a timeline, and convince leadership that your plan is worth investing time and money,” Bond said of the late-April competition. “The SHRM Case Competition asks you to do just that in a 15-minute presentation and be prepared for a subsequent 15 minutes of questioning. They are testing your ability to think critically and be quick on your feet.”

“Case competitions are rewarding because they give us a chance to link various elements of HR to address current problems,” said Hamilton. “This is great practice for the type of strategic problem solving we will engage in as we begin our careers.” Myers added, “This challenging case allowed us to pull from what we’ve learned and experienced to provide solutions. There is not a quick and easy fix to the problems in the case, so we as a team are tasked with thinking critically and strategically to solve them. The case involved a family-owned farm and we are certainly not experts on farming operations, so it was interesting to go beyond our usual scope and learn about this area.”

All three members of the team were undergraduate management majors. Bond and Hamilton are in the second year of their MSIR curriculum and will graduate this year, while Myers is in the first year of the program.

WVU also took an undergraduate team to the SHRM Case Competition, which placed eighth in a field of 22 teams.

B&E has participated in the SHRM event with an undergraduate and/or graduate team since 2011, but had never placed higher than second prior to this year’s win. The graduate team, comprised of Bond and Hamilton, placed second last year.

“It is very rewarding to take the information you learn in class, along with the individual expertise of your professors, and transform that into solutions for real-world scenarios,” said Bond. “When compared to the solutions of other universities, it was quite obvious that we approached the issues facing Blackfoot Farms from different perspectives, which I believe is a great testament to WVU and the MSIR program.”

For more information on the WVU College of Business and Economics, follow B&E on Twitter at @wvucobe or visit



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics or 304.293.5131

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.