March 20, 2017

8th Annual Essay Competition (2017)

The Cornell HR Review is proud to announce its 8th Annual Student Essay Competition, sponsored by Shell, Dell, and GE! We encourage submissions from all students pursuing a graduate or undergraduate HR-related degree—including labor relations, industrial/organizational psychology, and business.

Submissions are narrowed down by a blind review process carried out by Cornell HR Review’s editors. Next, an independent panel of judges from our corporate sponsors, as well as a Cornell ILR School professor, will select the final winning essays.

Prizes for the competition are $1000 for first place and $500 for second. Winning essays will be published in the HR Review. Additionally, winners will be invited to attend the Cornell Human Capital Symposium in Fall 2017—an excellent opportunity to interact with some of the world’s top HR executives.

Essays must address one of the following prompts and be between 1,000-1,600 words. Each will be assessed on the extent to which it addresses the prompt, includes, and analyzes original/innovative ideas, and has excellent writing quality. All submissions are due no later than 11:59 pm on April 16, 2017. Essays must be written on the template available for download at and sent as an attached Word document to

Participants may respond to one of the following three prompts:

1. In recent years, Silicon Valley tech companies have embraced Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset concept. Some researchers suggest there are both trait and state elements to the growth mindset. In other words, some people are innately more prone to having a growth mindset over others. Evaluate the business benefits of a growth mindset, and describe some ways organizations can encourage an employee’s mindset through environmental cues (e.g. how we reward, how we structure teams).

2. Today in HR, there is a heavy emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. However, these initiatives largely focus on demographic forms of diversity, such as race and gender. Given the tension between societal values and recent political changes, companies face a quandary on how to handle non-demographic forms of diversity, which may include political beliefs and personal worldviews. Considering this tension, what D&I strategies can companies implement to encourage non-demographic forms of diversity while maintaining workplace harmony?

3. Per a 2016 Career Builder Survey, 60 percent of employers now turn to social networks to research job applicants, up from just 11 percent in 2006. What are some associated benefits or risks of using social networks to inform and supplement hiring decisions?

Any questions can be directed to

Download submission template here.


David E. Williams
Royal Dutch Shell

Tonya Wang

Heather Porzuczek
GE Aviation Supply Chain

Bradford S. Bell
Cornell ILR School
Associate Professor