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7th Annual Cornell HR Review Essay Competition 2016

7th Annual Cornell HR Review Essay Competition 2016

The Cornell HR Review is proud to announce its 7th 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 will be narrowed down by a blind review process carried out by the Cornell HR Review 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.


Participants may respond to one of the following three prompts:

  1. In order to acquire talent, many firms invest in leadership development programs for recent graduates. Do the costs of these programs exceed the benefits, especially when participants in these programs are free to leave as soon as they wish? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of talent acquisition vs development, and identify at least one strategy that companies may employ to maximize the benefits of these programs.
  2. In the digital age it has never been easier for companies to track data about employees. With a few simple clicks a company can access information about an employee’s social activities outside of work, how healthy they are (e.g., through devices like Fitbit) and much more. There is even software to measure productivity, which tracks how many times a day an employee takes a bathroom break. Regardless of the legal ramifications, should HR support the collection of such data? Is it ethical to monitor employees, and if so how can HR help ensure that data tracking and usage is appropriate? In your response, consider the key costs and benefits of collecting such information.
  3. Modern workplaces are increasingly flexible and accommodate remote workers and alternate work schedules.  Will this trend result in a more or less engaged workforce?  To what extent will a company’s corporate culture change as a result of this development? In your response, discuss key factors and/or variables that HR should consider when evaluating the possibility of a remote workforce.


Cornell HR Review


$1000 for first place

$500 for second

$250 for third

Winning essays will be published in the HR Review. Additionally, winners will be invited to attend the Cornell Human Capital Symposium in Fall 2016—an excellent opportunity to interact with some of the world’s top HR executives.


11:59pm on April 14, 2016


  • 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 and/or innovative ideas, and has excellent writing quality.
  • All submissions are due no later than 11:59pm on April 14, 2016. Essays must be written on the template available for download and sent as an attached Word document to
  • Note: Because we have had some inquiries, we would like to clarify that you must individually submit an essay and cannot work in teams. Additionally, you may submit an essay for more than one prompt, but you will only be eligible to win one prize. Thank you for your understanding.


Any questions can be emailed to


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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

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