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K-State Today

May 7, 2018

Students in business course 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 of working in teams to provide consulting for Hormel Foods and PROS.

Both companies sought recommendations to further improve their diversity and inclusion strategies, and the partnership provided students in the course a real-world experience in creating strategies to address diversity and inclusion challenges commonly faced in the workplace. Students analyzed the challenge, developed recommendations and proposed a realistic implementation plan.

"The opportunity Hormel Foods and PROS have provided the students is extremely valuable," said Olivia Law-DelRosso, instructor for the course. "Partnership with businesses gives students the experience they need to apply theory and develop skills they will need after graduation."

Four 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 included David Brooks, senior in management, Chapman; Regan Aylward, senior in management, Manhattan; Kayla McDougald, senior in management, Olpe Rebecca Bishop, senior in management, Overland Park; and Timothy Lillis, senior in management, St. Marys.

"We were so impressed by the hard work and recommendations of the students," said Jennifer Dao, supervisor of recruitment at Hormel Foods. "Hormel Foods believes that all employees should come to work feeling valued for their different backgrounds and experiences. Being able to partner with K-State is another way for us to build upon our already strong partnership, and the students provided us with great insights as to how we can continue to be an even more diverse and inclusive company for new and current employees."

The winning team for PROS included Justin Horner, junior in management, El Dorado; Shawn Massey, senior in management, and Hank Raines, senior in management, both from Manhattan; Griffin Case, senior in management, Marion; and Brice Buehler, senior in management, Olathe.

"The students at K-State were highly engaged and brought great ideas to the table," said Matt McClung, PROS Inc. director of customer success for the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. "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."

"Leading companies today see diversity and inclusion as a necessary strategy to be integrated into every aspect of the workplace and included in the strategic goals of the organization," said Dawne Martin, assistant dean for diversity. "The College of Business Administration seeks to prepare students to not only understand how critical diversity and inclusion is, but to be able to create strategic and lasting change to make the workplace better for everyone."