April 18, 2012 by

Winners Announced from 2012 Essay Competition

The Cornell HR Review is very pleased to announce the winners of the 3rd Annual Student Essay Competition sponsored by General Electric! Open to all students pursuing a degree with an HR concentration, this year’s competition challenged students to respond to one of three prompts, which addressed such topics as development of critical HR functional areas, “HR for HR”, and workforce planning. Prizes for the competition included $1000 for first place, $500 for second, and $250 for third.

Submissions spanned 10 different universities and a blind review process narrowed down the pool of entries to the competition’s five best. An independent panel of judges representing GE executives Jennifer Maslar, Annette Ellison, Susan Beauregard and Cornell ILR Professor Bradford Bell then placed the winning essays.

Michigan State and Cornell submitted winning essays, with Ashley Myers (Cornell MILR ’12) garnering the first place prize for her essay, Taking Business to a ‘Hire’ Level: Strategies for Workforce Planning.  Ashley responded to the prompt concerning workforce planning and was able to leverage several years experience in IBM’s HR department as well as her ILR education to compose an outstanding essay. “Thank you to all the essay judges for their recognition, time and effort. It’s an honor to have won and to have my essay published in  a publication like the Cornell HR Review”, she remarked.

Second place for the competition went to Ryan Starkweather (Michigan State MHRLR ’13), whose essay offered suggestions for enhancing the quality of HR professionals. Additionally, Emily Tuuk (Cornell MILR ’12) took home third place by composing an essay describing the value of transformative leadership in organizations.

This year’s competition had an incredible pool of submissions and CHRR would like to thank all of the individuals that took the time to submit.  The winning entries will be published in CHRR throughout April and May, and details regarding the next annual essay competition will be announced in February 2013. ℵ


  1. HR has begun to move beyond its transactional roots into a function that is demonstrating punctuated business value by becoming the “talent steward” of organizations. Describe what strategies HR functions should deploy to avoid the trap of neglecting the development of its own talent. In other words, what can HR do to best develop strong “HR for HR” culture and imperatives?
  2. As companies focus on building a strong talent pipeline to drive long-term business success, what strategies can companies use to plan for their future workforce? As technology continues to rapidly evolve, how should companies ensure they are not developing talent in areas where the skills will become obsolete? What tools and methods should companies use to determine the number of people and the types of skills that will be needed to drive their long-term business strategy?
  3. It is sometimes said that “the only constant is change.”  Predict how HR will change over the next 10 years by explaining important transformations taking place in at least one critical functional area of HR (i.e., recruiting, L&D, compensation, etc.)


1st Place: Ashley Myers

2nd Place: Ryan Starkweather

3rd Place: Emily Tuuk

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