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K-State Today

May 16, 2019

Business students provide inclusion consulting for a Fortune 500 company

Submitted by Brent Fritzemeier

The winning teams from the consulting project

This semester, Kansas State University students enrolled in Management of Diversity in the Workplace, MANGT 560, were tasked to provide consulting recommendations to Hormel Foods, a Fortune 500 company.

The company sought recommendations to further improve their diversity and inclusion branding and recruiting strategies. Working in teams, students analyzed the challenge, developed recommendations, and proposed a realistic implementation plan.

"We have been fortunate to work with Hormel Foods since I began offering this course," said Olivia Law-DelRosso, instructor for the course. "The partnership is a win-win. Students gain real-world experience and a better understanding of the impact of inclusion in the workplace, and Hormel gains an outsider, millennial perspective on their strategies."

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 to Hormel, presenting to company associates. The winning teams as assessed by the company received prizes. The winning teams included Chelsey Harber, senior in management; Carrie Mulder, senior in management; Corbin Sedlacek, senior in accounting and management; Ethan Bennett, junior in management; Nicholas Schoeck, senior in computer science; and Alexandra Thrailkill, junior in management.

"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."