May 2022 – Renata Primmer C’22 chose Drew University because she wanted a school where she could explore her passion for business management while playing collegiate softball.
She chose right.
“Attending Drew was a transformative experience for me,” said Primmer, a business major and economics minor. “I always took my studies seriously but Drew really opened my eyes to the endless opportunities for study. All of the professors that I’ve had at Drew pushed me immensely to perform my best in the classroom with their passion for academics and constant mentorship.”
Case in point: working with Rachelle Belinga, assistant professor of business, on an honors thesis.
Primmer and Belinga met several times over the summer between Primmer’s junior and senior years to determine the goal of Primmer’s study.
“During my time in Prof. Belinga’s classes, I learned an immense amount about management and employee development and it really sparked my interest in doing a thesis paper on the subject of human capital,” said Primmer.
With a topic squared away, Primmer decided to do a qualitative case study on a ready-made network: Drew alums.
Primmer interviewed 24 Drew alums working for large corporations, cataloguing their experiences of corporate investment in human capital—the education and training of employees.
“I was able to take the concept of human capital and combine it with employee development within the study of human resource management,” explained Primmer.
Throughout the process, Primmer relied on Belinga for guidance on interviewing, researching, writing, and the defense process.
“I was impressed how comfortable she was with a very inductive–and by definition uncertain– research process,” said Belinga. “She also kept reading the literature both in economics (on human capital) and in management (on employee development) to compare her findings with current academic theories.”
“I’m extremely grateful to have her in my corner,” said Primmer.
Both student and professor were pleased with the outcome—a thought-provoking thesis successfully defended.
“Renata’s results provide stimulating perspectives on recent trends in employee development that have favored low-cost online and employee-driven internal training,” said Belinga. “She shows that employees actually value personalized and informal relationships to guide them through their own training needs and career goals. Human resource managers who wish to design employee development programs would learn from her thesis how to reconnect formal training to mentorship and informal, personalized learning opportunities.”
In addition to writing and defending an honors thesis soon to be published by the Drew Library, Primmer came away with another key outcome.
“While talking to Drew alums throughout the honors thesis process and hearing about their experiences, it really solidified my decision to go and advance my education and pursue an MBA,” she said.
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