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photo collage of van den Berg Hall, the clock tower, Dean Hadi Salavitabar, and undergraduate student Jumpei Onozuka

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SUNY New Paltz Students Compete in HR Games Competition


SUNY New Paltz Students Compete in HR Games Competition

By Shaun Hoff

Can you name Donald Kirkpatrick s four levels of evaluation that are necessary for an effective training program? During the weekend of April 16th, six students from the School of Business at SUNY New Paltz competed in the HR Games competition at Villanova University and they knew the answer was reaction, learning, behavior, and results! At the HR Games, two teams consisting of undergraduate students represented the SUNY New Paltz student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Management Association (MA). The teams from SUNY New Paltz competed against other SHRM student chapters in the Northeast region and held their own against past HR Games regional winners Penn State and Cornell. This year, the Northeast Regional HR Games was the largest ever with eighteen teams participating in the competition. After a semester of studying, the teams made an impressive showing with one team advancing to the semifinals and the other finishing in the top half of all schools participating. The HR Games is an academic competition that allows students to answer human resource questions over several rounds in a Jeopardy style game show format. The games first began in California in the 1990 s and then spread across the United States in 2000. Today, each spring competitions are held across four different regions with the four regional winners seeking the ultimate prize of a free trip to compete in the national HR Games championship in New Orleans. The HR Games is a fun way for students that are interested in a career in human resources to prepare for the PHR and HRCI certification exams. Similarly, by participating in the HR Games students had the unique opportunity to display their HR knowledge to HR practitioners. Most of all, the SUNY New Paltz teams consisting of Josh Liff, Kimberly Bellarosa, Mohammed Zaman, Sara Green, Nicole Giordano, and Amanda Chapman had a fun time and gained a lot of knowledge! Amanda Chapman, a graduating senior at SUNY New Paltz, remarked that the games were one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My fellow teammates and our advisor really made the experience fun and memorable. Chapman also felt that taking part in the competition really helped me learn more about HR. It also helped me realize I knew more than I thought. Hopefully all this extra knowledge will benefit me when I get a job and when problems arise, I can solve them quickly and correctly. Nicole Giordano also echoed the sentiments of her fellow teammate by stating that the HR Games gave me a great opportunity to increase my knowledge of human resources while having fun at the same time. I am really glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of the HR Games. As a graduating senior who is considering a career in HR, this was an extremely beneficial experience for me and I will never forget it .

Kristin Backhaus, Assistant Professor of Management at SUNY New Paltz and MA advisor, served as coach of the two teams throughout their semester of studying and preparing for the HR Games. Backhaus believes that the benefits of participating in the HR Games are numerous and include students learning key HR terms and concepts and becoming conversant in HR terminology. In addition, Backhaus felt that by students participating in the HR Games it shows future employers that they have initiative and that they are knowledgeable in the subject matter areas of HR. They also have an opportunity to compete against other skilled teams and an opportunity to work in a high-pressure setting as they play the games.

Throughout the semester, students studied topics such as selection and recruitment, training and development, compensation and benefits, safety and health and many others while taking part in scrimmage games. To better prepare for the games, the students even attended a networking meeting on April 8th with the Mid-Hudson Human Resources Association (MHHRA) to take part in a quiz show format entitled Test your HR Knowledge . For all the student s hard work, the two teams received a corporate sponsorship from Hudson Heritage Federal Credit Union. The sponsorship paid for travel to and from the competition and to purchase team t-shirts. Backhaus felt that it is very rewarding for me to work with highly motivated and enthusiastic students. Accompanying them to the games is really fun, and I have a great time each year. All in all, the students represented Management Association and the School of Business extremely well. The team members are even starting to study and recruit other students to take part next year. I would suggest anyone who has interest in HR to compete. You learn so much and have an experience you ll never forget , stated Chapman.

Management Association (MA) is the SUNY New Paltz Superior Merit Award Chapter the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). For more information about MA visit its web site at