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K-State Today

December 19, 2018

Business students provide diversity and inclusion consulting to two companies

Submitted by Brent Fritzemeier

This semester, Kansas State University students enrolled in Management of Diversity in the Workplace, MANGT 560, had the unique experiential learning opportunity to provide consulting for Hormel Foods and PROS.

Both companies sought recommendations to further improve their diversity and inclusion strategies. This gave students the real-world experience of creating strategies to address diversity and inclusion challenges commonly faced in the workplace. Working in teams, students analyzed the challenge, developed recommendations, and proposed a realistic implementation plan.

"The opportunity to work with Hormel Foods and PROS was invaluable," said Olivia Law-DelRosso, instructor for the course. "The company partnership helps students understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and gives students the opportunity to develop skills to address strategic inclusion challenges. In the class, students spend the first half of the course understanding their own culture, challenging themselves through intentional engagement with cultures they are unfamiliar with, and improving their ability to communicate across differences. The second half of the course involves learning how to create sustainable inclusion strategies in an organization. Students then apply the strategies they learn through the consulting project."

Teams of student consultants provided recommendations for each company, with the winning team as assessed by each company receiving prizes.

The winning team for Hormel Foods was Carly Lindsay, senior in business; McNeilly James, junior in management; Grayson Dunst, sophomore in business; and Karl Wilhelm, senior in agricultural economics.

"We were so impressed by the hard work and recommendations of the students," said Jennifer Dao, supervisor of recruitment at Hormel Foods. "Each team presented opportunities for Hormel Foods to implement and better showcase our diversity and inclusion initiatives. I want to thank K-State for once again giving us the opportunity to work with such bright and talented students."

The winning team for PROS was Emily Jacobson, junior in management; Emily Lavery, senior in management; Lexi Curtis, senior in management; Charles Moore, senior in social sciences; Blake Berger, junior in social sciences; and Corey Roth, senior in management.

"The students in Olivia Law-DelRosso's MANGT 560 class delivered again," said Matt McClung, PROS Inc. director of customer success for the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. "I was impressed with the knowledge and the depth of ideas they provided in such a short time. My hope is PROS can implement many of these ideas in the near future as we continue to strive to be a leader for diversity and inclusion within the industry. All the teams provided deep-thought leadership with ideas we can use in our organization as we continue to evolve the diversity of our leadership teams. It was clear that Olivia Law-DelRosso prepared her teams well and provided them with great leadership in the process."