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UT Hosts Student Human Resource Management
Conference and Games


SHRM games registrationThe University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the College of Business Administration hosted the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Southeast Regional Student Conference and the “Jeopardy”-style Human Resources Games in April.

The two-day event began on Friday, April 9, in the James A. Haslam II Business Building, with the games beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Students from more than 25 colleges and universities faced off to answer “Jeopardy”-style questions about human resources. The conference included speakers, competition and awards, but the event also served as a review for those attempting the professional human resources (PHR) exam that most students take upon graduation.

UT SHRM groupOne of the goals of having the games is to pass the professional human resources exam,” said Debbie Mackey, lecturer and SHRM faculty adviser. “We have a great success rate of students studying for the games and passing the exam. It’s great in this tough economy to give yourself any kind of edge.”

UT had three teams of three students each competing in the games. Mary Rawls, a senior in human resource management with a collateral in marketing, is SHRM president and competed for her second year.

“Preparing for the games develops more than just knowledge,” Rawls said. “Students develop teamwork skills and have pride in their efforts. Many of our members have developed strong friendships over the years from studying together for the games and meeting weekly. These experiences will carry over into our careers where teamwork is crucial to success.”

UT SHRM began planning for the event when it was selected as the host in September 2009. Mackey and Rawls worked together to plan the entire conference.

“Dr. Mackey is very talented in coordinating events, and because we hosted the games before, she has much experience with it and knows what to expect,” Rawls said. “We must cover all areas in event planning to prepare including coordinating speakers, compiling door prizes, scheduling competitions and much more. We are very proud to be able to show off the innovative and beautiful Haslam Business Building to universities across the Southeast.”

Participants from across the Southeast, including North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida, attended the games, which are judged by human resource professionals from the community.

“All judges are PHR-certified, and 75 percent of the people in the room are from the community and hire interns from our college,” Mackey said. “Alumni love to come back to see everyone compete and give back to the college. It’s all volunteer time and resources. It’s all focused on the students, which is really special.”

The winners received an all-expenses-paid trip to the national SHRM conference with more than 15,000 professionals. The national conference provides students with an opportunity to network and hear world-class speakers like Jack Welch and John Kotter.

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