By Lacie Blankenship
In early August, the Human Organizational Performance Association (HOPA) and the Career Management Center (CMC) partnered to host the annual Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) Symposium.
“The purpose of the HOP Symposium is for first-year MBA students to learn about jobs and internships within human resources and human capital consulting,” says Sandy Kinnett, Senior Associate Director and CMC Coach.
Traditionally an in-person event, the Symposium assumed a more hybrid format this year. Students and some alumni were physically present, while other alumni joined virtually to present and support the event.
“Alumni hosted breakout rooms on Zoom; there was also an option to meet with alumni in-person, following mask and safety guidelines, of course,” said Kinnett.
Overall, the event follows a similar schedule each year. Breakout-style rooms and group discussions are a consistent feature, alongside educational programming, keynotes, and the opportunity to ask specific questions about careers in human resources.
The Symposium is also a chance for second-year students to step into leadership roles to organize the event and is a way for alumni to connect, volunteer, and give back to the Commodore community. The event is a testament to the notion of giving back and paying it forward for all involved.
“[The HOP Symposium] outlines careers in HR and human capital consulting,” says Kinnett. “There’s always an element of education and discussions about how HR can play a very strategic and impactful role in today’s organizations. The event always provides ample opportunity for students to ask second-year students about their internships and alumni about their day-to-day job demands.”
Vanderbilt is known for having a strong human and organizational performance program, built by award-winning professors and scholars who are experts in a variety of HOP-related fields, including organizational design, strategic human resource management, compensation, negotiation, and managing change. The Vanderbilt MBA program offers both a HOP specialization and concentration. The specialization has been approved for Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Alignment.
Kinnett notes that while the Symposium is a significant event for students preparing for futures in human resources and human capital, it’s equally important in helping students evaluate whether or not those functions are a fit for their personal career goals and ambitions.
Overall, the event is “a great mix of content and interactive opportunities designed by HOPA Club leaders for first-year students to learn more,” Kinnett says. “I hope that students walk away from the event with further knowledge and insight into what an MBA-level role in human resources and human capital looks like.”