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WVU Tech SHRM student chapter lands first place in statewide competition

Front: Zuberi Idy. Back, L-R: Olivia Mantohbang, Jeff Meade, Douglas Nesbitt.Front: Zuberi Idy. Back, L-R: Olivia Mantohbang, Jeff Meade, Douglas Nesbitt.

A group of WVU Tech students landed a first-place win at the West Virginia Society for Human Resource Management’s statewide SHRM Case Competition this week.

The students – all members of the SHRM student chapter at WVU Tech – competed at the WVSHRM State Council Annual Conference in Bridgeport, West Virginia on Monday and Tuesday.

The event was the culmination of weeks of intense work. As part of the competition, the team was given a sample human resources case and had only two weeks to come up with a solution.

Dr. Yan Liu is advisor to the student chapter. She said that case competition is a way to immerse students in the real world of human resource management.

“What they receive is based on a real case in the human resource area. So they talk about conflict or accidents in the working environment, and our team's job is to identify the major problems and find solutions to those problems,” she said.

Liu couldn’t help the students directly, so she was limited to pointing out resources and guidelines for students to use.

That put the case squarely on the shoulders of the team.

For Olivia Mantohbang, a senior accounting and business management double-major from Silver Spring, Maryland, that meant a chance to prove herself.

"It was stressful," she laughed. "There were a lot of late nights trying to figure things out and putting together our presentation."

"It was a great opportunity. It's a great resume builder, and it’s a great way to use all that knowledge from our previous classes and even what we're learning in our marketing class right now," she said.

That work paid off on Tuesday when, in front of a panel of judges and 100 HR professionals, the group landed the top place in the undergraduate competition.

Team captain Jeff Meade is a senior business management major from Pineville, West Virginia. He said that win has been motivating for the student chapter.

“We were able to show that our chapter at WVU Tech can compete with much larger schools and come out on top,” he said.

He wants to keep that momentum going.

“Being active in things like this gives our chapter more credibility in the eyes of both students and the community. I hope that we can build off of this to grow and continue to be successful in whatever we decide to do in the future,” he said.

Liu, who took over the organization just a few years ago, said she’s pleased with the result.

"They achieve this based on what they have learned. I'm very happy to see that they truly learned something from all the classes and that they are able to apply that learning to a real case. That makes this work so meaningful. It shows that what we're doing has a positive benefit for their lives - that they have what they need to achieve a bright future," she said.

In addition to Meade and Mantohbang, the WVU Tech case team included students Zuberi Idy, Travis Matherly and Douglas Nesbitt.

SHRM at Tech

Liu said that SHRM is an organization with a wide range of benefits for students of any major.

“This is a professional student group, so we spend our time building our professional background,” she said.

That background building includes competitions, resume building workshops with professionals and guest speakers.

Being a member has its benefits. For instance, students will have an opportunity to work alongside a broad range of backgrounds.

“I think it’s important for people to know that this is a team effort and that there are a lot of great students and faculty at WVU Tech,” said Meade. 

Mantohbang has been with the organization since her first year, and finds it an invaluable part of her experience.

"With Dr. Liu's support, we've been able to take on leadership roles and learn a lot of really valuable skills," she said.

"I would recommend student join regardless of their major. It's a good way to network and build up your resume and show some variety in your activities. This organization teaches students how to be professional. It offers so much."

Students interested in joining the organization can email Liu for more information.