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Business Management

Let’s Get Connected

Poole professor’s LinkedIn group creates value for HR professionals inside and outside the college

By Caroline Barnhill

For someone who readily shares he doesn’t care much for social media, Paul Mulvey, Poole College Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Human Resource Management (HRM), has created one of the college’s most popular social networking groups – LinkedIn’s HRM at the Poole College of Management at NC State University. With more than 1,500 members, the group has allowed students, alumni and recruiters to network, collaborate and – perhaps most importantly – land that perfect job.

When Mulvey started the group ten years ago, he didn’t realize how much of an impact it would one day have. He initially joined LinkedIn in the mid-2000s as a way to stay connected with colleagues and former students and quickly saw its benefits.

“I often found myself trying to remember the name of a former student who worked for one company and then moved to another, or needing to get in contact with a colleague who may have gotten married and changed their last name or email address,” Mulvey explains. “Having all that information in one place that is focused on professional networks was extremely helpful.”

Wanting to create a designated spot to stay in touch with Poole HRM students old and new, Mulvey created the LinkedIn group and then scoured his network and sent requests for individuals to join. Additionally, he would tell his current students each semester to consider joining the group as a way to get connected to others in the industry. 

They do. Around 100 new members continue to join the group every year.

While some social media groups get bogged down with direct sales pitches or off-tangent rants, the HRM group is a breath of fresh air. Members use the group board to post topics such as job openings, research opportunities and HR-specific events that fellow group members may find interesting. A recent scroll through the group promotes openings for positions at top companies like Schneider Electric, SAS, PepsiCo, IQVIA, Pendo and PPD among others.

Over time, fellow HR professionals who employ our students and recognize the quality of our HRM program have joined the page and frequently post job openings in hopes of landing one of our graduates.

“I frequently tell my students the importance of forming networks and relationships, especially as they’re beginning to look for internships and jobs, and this group is a great vehicle for that,” Mulvey says. “Over time, fellow HR professionals who employ our students and recognize the quality of our HRM program have joined the page and frequently post job openings in hopes of landing one of our graduates.”

Mulvey is especially proud of the level of engagement shown by HRM alumni.

“I wanted to start a mentor-mentee program for my current students, so I posted in the group on a Friday asking if any former students would be willing to serve as mentors,” Mulvey remembers. “By the end of the weekend, more than 40 alumni had responded saying they’d be happy to help. Our alumni are so willing to give back.”

By the end of the weekend, more than 40 alumni had responded saying they’d be happy to help. Our alumni are so willing to give back.

That willingness to connect and assist their peers is indicative of the types of students who graduate from the program, Mulvey says. He recalls a time not long ago when one of his students was about to interview for an HR position at a leading pharmaceutical firm.

“I remembered I had a former student who worked there and was a part of the LinkedIn group,” Mulvey says. “I connected the two so my former student could provide some insight into the company’s interview process with the current student. And my student ended up getting the job.”

Students are not the only ones who can benefit from the network. Fellow Poole faculty members like Patrick Flynn have used the group to find guest speakers for their classrooms or companies to partner with on research or practicum projects. 

These stories reaffirm to Mulvey the value of the group he created. He encourages other majors and concentrations to try to replicate it or revive a dormant LinkedIn group within their own sphere of influence.

“This is a great and relatively easy way to serve your students,” Mulvey says. “The real classroom is the working world – giving students the opportunity to make those connections is invaluable.”