Let’s Talk HR! 2018 HR Tomorrow Conference is Just Around the Corner


The I’s are dotted, the T’s crossed and registration is live. What does this mean? The HR Tomorrow Conference is just over two months away! This annual professional development event attracts outstanding keynote and breakout session speakers, and has seen sell-out crowds the past four years!

The two keynote speakers are Sesil Pir, founder and principal consultant at SESIL PIR Consulting, and Jennie Carlson, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at U.S. Bancorp.

The rest of the day’s agenda consists of breakout session speakers presenting on topics including recruiting, risks and rewards, diversity in the workplace, the evolution of HR, and much more. Make sure to check out the day’s full agenda here, and don’t forget to register here!

University of Minnesota Alumni Association Offers Free Webinar Series

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) offers a variety of virtual resources for career development and personal growth. Tune in to their Alumni Webinar Series, which features free conversations with experts on topics that matter to your career and personal life.

If you can’t make it for the live presentation, you can watch the entire archive on-demand through their YouTube channel or on Gold Mind



February 1: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Career Advancement and the Job Search

February 13: Shatter Your Business Ceiling

February 22: 7 Key Questions to Effective Team Building and Management

March 7: Necessary Wisdom: Polarity Dynamics in Ourselves and in the Workplace

March 28: How to Get Promoted

April 5: Side Hustles: How to Find Professional, Flexible, and Remote Side Jobs

April 19: Leading Together: Finding Common Ground in Uncommon Times

April 26: Student Debt Management and Refinancing

HR Case Competition Truly a Global Event

Group CIHRComCongratulations to all who participated in the 5th Annual International HR Case Competition (CIHRCom) in mid-November. The successful three-day event included teams of graduate students from around the world: Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Sun Yat-Sen University, China, NMIMS, India; Yonsei University, Korea, and the Carlson School and Penn State University, United States.

Each four-person team competed to solve the live case provided by Lead Sponsor Land O’Lakes that focused on solving a pressing global issue it’s facing.  One participant appreciated “having direct contact with the sponsoring company, and being given a case that felt like it had real impact.” Another noted that they enjoyed the complexity of the case and the challenge of preparing their presentation in only 16 hours.

Representatives from the sponsoring organizations served as judges for the competition enjoyed the experience. “I thought the presentations were really good for the amount of time the students had to put them together,” one judge commented. Another noted, “I loved seeing the teams come together to solve an actual business problem while acting as consultants to the company leadership.”NMIMS Team

Thanks to Lead Sponsor Land O’Lakes; Partner Sponsors Ford Motor Co; H.B. Fuller; Ingersoll Rand; LG Electronics; and UnitedHealth Group; and Sponsors Boeing; Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ecolab, and the CHRLS Alumni Association.

And the winners are…


First Place – Carlson School of Management, USA (above)

Yonsei Team







Second Place – Yonsei University, Korea (above)

Sun Yat-Sen Team

Third Place – Sun Yat-Sen University, China (above)

View more photos from the three-day event here.

Alumnus Featured in Carlson School Alumni Magazine

Tackling International HR Issues Head On

Michael B Lee - welcomed 2014 CIHRCom participantsThis fall marked the fifth year of the Carlson International HR Case Competition (CIHRCom). Case competitions have traditionally been a showcase for students to demonstrate their talents in a rather rigorous setting—developing solutions to real-world problems in a narrow timeframe and presenting them to industry experts.

CIHRCom owes much of its existence to one alum. Michael Byungnam Lee, ’88 PhD-IR, believed so strongly about the value of the competition in furthering the growth and development of global HR management issues that he provided $5,000 in seed money to launch the first competition five years ago.

“I thought it was an excellent idea to upgrade the learning experiences of HR students around the world,” he says. “The University of Minnesota is one of the pioneers in the field of industrial relations and human resource management and it has a long history of academic excellence and practitioner education. I thought it was critical that HR managers and executives have the understanding of the nature of international business and HRIR to become effective professionals.”

After graduating from the Carlson School, Lee worked in academia for a while in the U.S. before moving to Korea in 1995 to join LG Group, then the second-largest business conglomerate in the country. For 21 years, he worked in human resource management, labor relations, corporate education, and corporate governance transformation. He was serving as president before retiring a year and a half ago. He currently is a visiting professor at Sogang University and is on the board of directors of the KB Financial Group, Inc., the largest financial group in Korea.

Not only did Lee donate his personal money to help launch CIHRCom, he got LG involved as well, providing financial support. In 2014 and 2015, LG was the lead sponsor of the event and provided the case that the teams worked to solve. Last year, the company was a $5,000 partner sponsor.

It’s obvious that the best way to learn about international HRIR issues is dealing with actual, real-life business cases. What’s also invaluable, Lee says, is how CIHRCom gives HRIR students from around the world the opportunity to share experiences and perspectives. “The Carlson School has provided the venue for this and I am very glad and feel honored to get involved in this effort,” he says.

from Fall 2017 Carlson School Alumni Magazine
Written by Kevin Moe

Japan Minnesota Association Honored by University of Minnesota Alumni Association

2017annualawards_programextraordinairenetwork_japanmnassociationThe University of Minnesota Alumni Association recently celebrated the achievements of outstanding individuals, alumni societies and networks at their annual Alumni Awards event. Earning the “Program Extraordinaire – Network” award was the Japan Minnesota Association. Alumna and JMA President Harumi Iwanami, ’82, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

JMA was honored for their commitment to international cultural exchange and tradition, highlighted by their annual cherry blossom viewing party in Tokyo, an initiative designed to connect alumni, professionals, and new and existing exchange students.

Harumi3Communication with the Learning Abroad office assists planners in uniting with U of M exchange students in Japan to share in rich cultural tradition, feel welcome in a new land, and be introduced to JMA and the Alumni Association. The JMA also garners active participation throughout the year through events such their annual summer and holiday parties, the Big Ten Golf Tournament and youth seminars.


JMA has worked to bolster their outreach efforts over the last year, seeking to connect more dynamically with members via social media and actively reaching out to study abroad students, recent alumni and former exchange students who have returned to Japan for work. The ongoing goal to create genuine cultural exchange and foster camaraderie both at home and abroad is an outstanding testament to the dedication of the Association’s members and board.

Spotlight On…

An occasional series highlighting a member of our faculty, our alumni community, our faculty, and a current student.

Andrew BlockAlumnus Andrew Block, ‘95

Where are you working currently?
I’m the Senior Vice President of Talent and Organizational Performance (CHRO) at Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. I lead the human resources, organizational and team effectiveness, and internal communications areas for the company.

What’s your favorite part about working in the HR field?
My favorite part of working in the human resources field is developing the capabilities and talent needed to help a company succeed. As a member of the executive leadership team at B-Dubs, I help set overall company strategy and goals. And, as the leader of human resources, I create the supporting human capital strategy and roadmap to ensure we’ll meet our goals. I’m fortunate to work for an organization that values talent and understands the important role strong talent plays in fulfilling our mission and achieving our goals.

What was your favorite part of the MA-HRIR program? Did you think the program prepared you well for the ‘real world’?
I appreciated the balance of theory and practice that is woven into the MA-HRIR student experience. The faculty does a great job of incorporating case studies and inviting human resources professionals into the classroom frequently to provide a real world perspective.

Every organization is unique, and the work world is changing faster by the minute. The MA-HRIR program emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving and the importance of being intellectually curious. In order to succeed long-term, human resources professionals need to possess these three competencies and must be committed to being life-long learners.

What’s a hobby or something fun you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy running marathons, biking, traveling, exploring different cultures and learning something new each day.

Do you have any advice for current students?
In addition to being a human resources professional you are a leader and businessperson. Learn the business! I would recommend rotating through multiple functional areas, including at least one outside of human resources, early in your career. And, make your voice heard, your organization needs you!


Yamamoto, YusukeSecond-year Student Yusuke Yamamoto

Why did you choose to attend the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program?
First of all, the curriculum is well-rounded, which is especially meaningful to someone who had no prior experience in HR. Also, Minneapolis is a very affordable city to live in. The diversity of the student body is amazing and it’s a very reputable program with huge alumni network. And did I mention that this is a very affordable city?

Where did you go for your undergraduate degree, and what was your major?
I got my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Purdue University. Go Boilers!

Do you have any work experience?
I have very limited work experience, and my recent internship is at a local nonprofit called Simpson Housing Services as an HR intern. I am currently working on a compensation and retention project. I am also currently serving as Student Director of the 2017 International HR Case Competition (CIHRCom).

What’s been your favorite part of the program so far?
My favorite part is the many great friends I made through this program.

What do you like to do in your free time?
During my free time, I usually lay on my couch and watch my dog and my cat fight each other, and giggle.


NEW LeZhou_08Assistant Professor Le (Betty) Zhou

Can you tell us about research that you’re excited about?
The research project that I’m currently working on and excited about is a collaborative study of newcomer adjustment, with colleagues in our department and with a former PhD student. This project investigates how interpersonal connections among newcomers themselves help newcomers adapt to their new jobs in the first few months. We are also curious about potential negative impacts from having an excessive amount of contacts who are similar in status and experience. This research will provide insights on how newcomers can strategically develop and manage their connections among their peers while learning about their new roles and the new social context at work.

What are you teaching this academic year?
I’m teaching introduction to management and HR research seminar right now. The former is a first-year required course for undergraduate students and the latter is a PhD level course. I’m having a great time in both classes.

Do you have any advice for current students?
One suggestion for the current students is to start developing their time management skills early. Some students overcommit and then constantly struggle with deadlines. They can start from understanding their current time use pattern and then make adjustments.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Reading, cleaning my house, cooking, traveling.

What are you currently reading?
Sci-fi, and non fictions about science and history (The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee)

Calling All Mentors!

Mentoring Word Cloud

Calling all Mentors!  Are you interested in an opportunity to shape future HR leaders while giving back to the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program? Would you like to gain fresh perspectives from current HRIR students? Then consider being an Alumni Mentor!

The CHRLS Alumni Association Board is launching the HRIR Alumni Mentorship Program, and we need you.  As an Alumni Mentor, you will be matched with a current MA-HRIR student who is hungry to learn from your experience.

We will ask that you commit to connect with your mentee for at least one hour every month to share your insights on HR and business beyond the world of academia, as well as discuss current HR trends and topics. Don’t live in the Twin Cities?  No problem.  You and your mentor are welcome to connect by phone or video conferencing!

To sign up, please complete the CHRLS Alumni Mentor Program application by clicking here While the initial deadline to apply was December 15, we will continue to accept applications and do our best to match you with a student mentee.

Also – please plan to join us, either in person or virtually, for the Mentoring Program Kick-off Meeting on Monday, January 22, 2018, at 5:45 PM CST at the Carlson School.  At the kick-off meeting we will cover mentoring tips and best practices, and you can meet your mentee in-person (or virtually!)

If you have any questions, please email us at hrmentor@umn.edu. Thanks for considering this great opportunity!