Practical Business Skills



Patrice Boyd

Senior Majoring in Management (HR Concentration)

Hometown: Calumet City, Illinois

Activities: Treasurer and Vice President of Membership for
EIU's Society for Human Resource Management

Sometimes it takes years of exposure to different areas of education before students decide which direction to take with their lives. Then, there are students like Patrice Boyd who figure out their direction at a young age and are able to fine-tune the details while they attend college. Patrice determined that she wanted to go into the business world during her freshman year at Thornridge High School.

It was then that Patrice was exposed to business and management principles. During that time, her mother was pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and since her mother had been out of school for over 20 years, she would frequently ask Patrice to assist her with her assignments. Patrice found that she shared an interest with her mother in business and management principles, and that these concepts were easy for her to understand.

The School of Business helped Patrice to further narrow her focus. Patrice says that EIU's School of Business has helped make her a more well-rounded person. "Education at EIU has brought me out of my shell," she explained, "I've learned how to apply knowledge to the real world. Business is not just reading a book; the School of Business has helped me to think critically. If I had to choose what I enjoy most about the School of Business, I would say the faculty. I love that fact that all of my management classes are taught by excellent professors who not only teach management but also live it. They have real life experiences in the work setting, and through their experiences I have gotten insight on what to expect in the workforce. My professors have really pushed me to 'think outside the box' and to develop analytical skills. Having professors who genuinely have students' best interests at heart and want to help students transition from students to business professionals is rare to find.  EIU does an excellent job in adequately preparing graduates for the workforce."

Patrice is currently the Treasurer and Vice President of Membership for EIU's Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Patrice describes SHRM as a great opportunity for students who might have an interest in HR. SHRM meets nearly every week during the fall and spring semesters.  The organization brings guest speakers who share their expertise and conducts social outings for its members. Patrice explains that the speakers give different insights into not only HR but other facets of management like sales and operations. At the end of each semester there is a bowling event, when members can come together to enjoy one another's company. There are currently around 35 student members of EIU's SHRM chapter. There are both graduate students and undergraduates, and different majors are represented as well.

Participation in SHRM also provided Patrice the opportunity to participate in the two-day Illinois HR Games and Conference in Dekalb, IL, where EIU's team took home first place. The second day of the conference was the competition, which consisted of Jeopardy-style games. EIU's team competed with different SHRM chapters, including those from Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Participation in this event also provided students with the opportunity to network with other students and learn about other chapters. The students who attended were also able to network with professional HR managers from companies like Target and Follett Higher Education Group. Patrice states that it was very beneficial, and she recommends that students interested in HR attend the HR Games conference.  The School of Business provides financial support to student organizations, so that their members can attend professional conferences and events like HR Games.