LMU's Talent Management Center Links Students with Silicon Beach Businesses

Businesses need talented employees; prospective workers need to find employers. The tricky part is finding the right matches.

But that's where the College of Business Administration's Talent Management Center comes in and works both sides of the street – by contacting businesses to uncover their staffing and work needs and finding talented students to fill those spots.

The TMC is actually an umbrella for four initiatives that are making an impact on LMU students and the Silicon Beach business community. Led by Charlie Vance, director and professor of management, the initiatives – LM-UMatch; Crimson Lion Consulting Group; HR Society; and Professional Development Programs – give students an opportunity to network and gain experience in helping organizations meet their talent acquisition and development needs.

Charles Vance
Charles Vance, Director and Professor of Management and The Talent Management Center at LMU

"Although we have been interacting with a number of local organizations in various ways over the years, our Talent Management Center, instigated by Dean Dennis Draper, represents a new integrated effort in which we can partner with companies in a very meaningful way that also engages students," Vance said. "And there is nothing more essential to the lifeblood of these companies than the acquisition and development of their human talent."

The TMC is especially valuable for new Silicon Beach and Playa Vista firms that need help with new hires, temporary work (i.e., interns), and flexible student consulting projects, Vance added.

For LM-UMatch, students contact local businesses to drum up interest in jobs, internships, and short-term work projects by asking what kind of help is needed. Their focus is on partnering with local organizations in the acquisition of talented workers. When a need is expressed, the students then canvass the LMU student body to find and prepare the right person to fill the spot, or a team to complete the project (the latter performed by the Crimson Lion Consulting Group). These students are prepared in their TMC outreach efforts by receiving relevant coursework provided by a professional recruiter and local practicing consultants.

LM-UMatch is yielding a growing alumni group of students who have entered the expanding field of professional recruiting. Undergraduate alum Aubrey Pinkus recently moved to a new position in Denver and reached out to Vance on LinkedIn, writing, "I've truly enjoyed working in corporate recruiting since graduating, and I feel LM-UMatch largely sparked my interest in professional recruiting. I'm now recruiting across the nation for a national home building company and love this new experience."

The Crimson Lion Consulting Group, led by current MBA students, allows MBA and undergraduate students to solve short-term needs in a fashion that is more responsive and flexible for companies than traditional semester-based internships or course-associated projects. "It has been an exciting, rewarding experience to be able to apply that which I have learned in the classroom to helping these local startups achieve their business-related goals," said MBA student Megan Pepi. Projects are generally paid for by the client and supervised by LMU faculty members.

According to Vance, an understanding of the priorities and methods of HR professionals and hiring managers can lead to a more valuable set of skills on either side of the hiring desk. The primary event under the HR Society auspices is a professional mixer each semester organized to gather LMU alumni and HR professionals. Recent psychology major Anjali Chopra, who has decided to pursue graduate study in human resources, recently expressed thanks to Vance and HR Society director and part-time faculty member Gerald Alcantar, "I couldn't have done it without you two and the HR Society." Chopra said. "I've never felt more confident in my decision to pursue a career in the HR world."

Developing broad visibility and maintaining connections within the local business community are also key. Accordingly, the TMC's Professional Development Programs wing provides LMU Business Exchange meetings for local business owners, professionals, and students, on current topics.