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Business students offer advice from the next generation

State of Iowa SHRM Conference presenters

Three Ivy students recently had the opportunity to present their insight on how companies can better stand out to college students at both the Iowa Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) State Conference and the Ames Chamber of Commerce. In their presentation, “The Future of Career Fairs: Advice From the Next Generation,” they discussed how companies/recruiters can make the most of their involvement and ensure they get a return on their investment.

“When determining a topic, I wanted to ensure we as students were providing an educational experience for professionals that they could not obtain in the usual webinars and conferences they participate in,” said team member Sydney Scothorn, a senior from Johnston, Iowa, studying human resource management and event management. “I believe our student input on the efficacy of recruitment efforts is the most valuable feedback a recruitment manager or member of a recruitment team could receive.”

These students were all brought together thanks to Robert Olinger, assistant teaching professor of management and entrepreneurship, and professor of MGMT 471 (introduction to human resource management), a course they are all currently enrolled in or have taken in the past.

“Honestly, I don’t think I ever would have signed myself up for this if not for the fact that my professor asked me personally, but I am so glad that he did,” said team member Jazmin Chavez, a junior from Oskaloosa, Iowa, triple majoring in management, Spanish, and international studies.

They also had the pleasure of working with Chloe Ungs, a senior from Luxemburg, Iowa, studying marketing and human resource management. She had presented the year before and was able to bring a student’s perspective into their preparation.

“Chloe was a huge help in this process for me,” said team member Jordi Arends, a junior from Minnetrista, Minnesota, studying management and marketing. “I was very nervous going into the presentation planning as I had no clue what SHRM was, and she helped reassure me of my abilities and strengths. I looked up to her a lot throughout this process. It would not have been such a great success without her support, feedback, and positivity.”

Additionally, Maggie Carbaugh, an employee and labor relations specialist at Iowa State University, mentored the team, bringing years of experience in education and human resources to the table.

“Maggie brought key insight and a fresh perspective into our presentation,” said Chavez. “With her help, we were able to refine our presentation into the best version it could be. Her attention to detail was extremely helpful, as there were things we hadn’t noticed or ways we could elaborate that we wouldn’t have thought of.”

“I believe our student input on the efficacy of recruitment efforts is the most valuable feedback a recruitment manager or member of a recruitment team could receive.”

— Sydney Scothorn

The students were also able to use the Ivy College of Business and its many resources to aid them along their process.

“Ivy helped us by providing space to practice our presentation where we could display our presentation on a larger screen, helping to mimic the real thing,” said Arends. “The Ivy Writing and Speaking Center staff were also a big help with drafting, editing, and running through my script.”

With many great resources at their disposal, they were able to put together an incredible presentation, tackling essential topics that hold significant relevance to companies, organizations, and business professionals.

“I specifically discussed what goes through the minds of college students while attending career fairs,” said Chavez. “In preparation, I surveyed Ivy students to gather opinions on their experiences at career fairs. I then took that information and gathered common themes that I noticed. In my presentation, I discussed what students had shared and incorporated that into my career fair booth demonstrations so that our audience could better visualize the topics we discussed.”

Their work meshed together well and created a cohesive and easily understandable presentation. This also allowed them to stress better the importance of their topics, like interactivity, authenticity, and intentional merchandising.

“At career fairs, swag is important, but swag isn’t everything because everyone has swag,” said Arends. “The energy and outgoingness of recruiters is also vital in their success. Companies that don’t give their recruiters scripts to follow and push them to be out in front of their booths will see more success than those waiting behind their tables for students to approach them.”

Aiding in the success of these presentations were the two locations hosting the events, helping to provide an incredible experience for the group and their audiences.

“The experience of presenting at the State of Iowa SHRM Conference was exceptional and gave us real-life experience at a professional conference,” said Scothorn. “We were honored to be the second-ever student group selected to present and appreciate the support of the SHRM State Council.”

The team did a phenomenal job presenting at the Iowa SHRM Conference, leading to another incredible opportunity.

Scothorn continued, “After wrapping up our presentation, Nikki Fischer from the Ames Chamber of Commerce approached us with the proposal for a second presentation for both the Ames Chamber of Commerce members and guests of the Ames community, which we graciously accepted. We were greeted by a full house for the second presentation and enjoyed presenting during lunch and interacting with professionals from the Ames and Des Moines area.”

Many factors came together to make this process as beneficial an experience as possible for these students, allowing them to make the most of this incredible opportunity.

“My biggest takeaway from this experience is how much our team grew,” said Chavez. “We further developed many professional skills through both of these experiences. We were able to gain more networking and presenting skills as well as further learn about the human resources field. I am so very thankful for this opportunity and all the support we received from Ivy professors and HR professionals.”

November 21, 2023