On August 6th, our U.S. interns competed in HARMAN’s Second Annual Intern Business Case Competition. This competition served as a final project for the interns and it allowed us to hear the unique perspectives of these students as they provided valuable ideas and suggestions that target areas of improvement for HARMAN.

A majority of our U.S. interns gathered in Novi, Michigan to present during our 2nd Annual Intern Business Case Competition. However, many interns from other U.S. locations presented over the phone to represent their team.

“The Business Case Competition allows HARMAN to gain insight from our interns on how we can better create a work environment that is one they can visualize themselves in. Providing our interns the chance to dig deep into our business and share their discoveries is a WIN for HARMAN, said LaNeisha Gunn, University Relations Program Manager.

This year’s case competition prompt was: “How can HARMAN prepare its work environment to attract and retain the next generation of talent in a highly competitive market?”

To answer this question, interns all across the U.S. were grouped into ten teams of 7-8 people each. Each team was comprised of interns from varying backgrounds, divisions, and locations. These cross-functional teams allowed interns to bring their diverse skillsets together in order to create innovative solutions. In addition, each team was given two HARMAN coaches to guide them along the ideation process. To showcase their work, all ten teams presented their final presentations to a panel of judges in our Novi, Michigan location. Each group received five minutes to pitch their ideas in person or via WebEx and respond to questions from the judges.

Several HARMAN leaders served as our case competition judges: Gunjan, Engineering; Fred, Legal; Darryl, Talent Acquisition; and Gurvir, Engineering. Judging was scored according to a rubric that was based on:

  • Overall concept (uniqueness and usefulness of the idea)

  • Presentation (creativity and knowledge of presenter)

  • Business proposal (accuracy of research provided and questions answered)

  • Judges’ score (support of judges in seeing the ideas implemented at HARMAN)

Each group shared unique ideas and outstanding presentations making for a very difficult decision, but after deliberating the judges ultimate awarded prizes to the top three teams. 

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First Place Winner: Amplify HARMAN

Amplify HARMAN’s idea was rooted in a credit and debit management system of flextime which would enable improved retention, turnover, and productivity. Along with a flextime system of employee engagement, Amplify HARMAN also proposed ways to enhance the hiring process by strengthening new hires’ connections to HARMAN prior to their start date. The team created a plan for showcasing HARMAN’s company culture to potential applicants. Their ideas ultimately would serve to streamline and strengthen employees’ experiences, from their application submission to their ongoing career here as a HARMAN employee.

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Second Place Winner: HARMAN-Y

HARMAN-Y’s vision to make HARMAN one of the most desired places to work for included increasing university recruitment efforts to attract students to join our team for both internship roles and post-graduation positions. The team also proposed opportunities for HARMAN employees with shared interests to come together, which would create a greater sense of community.

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Third Place Winner: HARMAN REACH

HARMAN REACH (Representing Empathy, Authenticity, Connectedness, and Harmony) presented a 4-point strategy for attracting and retaining young talent from around the globe. By focusing on authentic interactions, an integrated application that leverages HARMAN's connection with Samsung and increases communication with recruiters, thoughtful benefits, and a modern workspace, HARMAN REACH prioritizes compassion for all employees.

“Being able to see an array of fresh ideas and new perspectives from interns allows HARMAN to grow not only within the business but the culture as well. This ensures that you are not being stagnant within a competitive market and allows you to gain knowledge and insight from the next generation of talent,” said Nicole Traylor, Talent Acquisition Specialist-Campus and Diversity.

Our interns were challenged to think outside the box and teams were empowered to come up with their own ideas that HARMAN can use to grow as a company.  By working together across multiple U.S. locations and functions, the interns embraced their differences and leveraged thought diversity. Our interns at HARMAN are a vital part of this business, and we are proud to find top talent, bring them in to work at HARMAN, and develop them as professionals.