Procter & Gamble Business Challenge invites psych Ph.D. student

September 25, 2022 - Shelly DeJong

Names and photos of the 10 participating graduate students.

For 18 years, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has invited organizational psychology graduate students to a weeklong challenge to address problems they face as a business. Michigan State University psychology graduate student, Nathan Baker, will be taking part this year. 

Starting September 26th, Baker and nine other graduate students will meet at Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. They will be given a real business challenge on the first day, and as a team they will investigate the problem, apply their skills and education, and recommend a solution. Potential challenges could address employee selection, employee experience, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, change management, or any other area that Proctor & Gamble’s organizational psychologists face.  

“Over many years, MSU has been fortunate to have a number of students participate in P&G’s Business Challenge,” said organizational psychology professor Ann Marie Ryan. “It provides a great opportunity for Nathan to work in a team to provide a solution to a real-world problem that P&G faces and to showcase the knowledge and skills he has gained in our PhD program.” 

Through this challenge, the graduate students get to experience working in a consulting role within the industry and even within Procter & Gamble itself. It also allows Procter & Gamble to stay connected to cutting-edge research and to scout top talent within the field of Industrial Organizational psychology.  

“I’m excited for the chance to work with organizational psychologists at Procter & Gamble and see what it is like working there,” said Baker. “On one hand, it is an interesting experience for me as a researcher, but it also gives me a chance to see how I like the internal consultant role because that’s a possible career path for me as well.”  

Baker is interested in areas related to hiring and assessment, workers’ well-being and factors that affect their work experiences, and the future of work. In 2022, he was awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship for his proposal on how to study the spread of misinformation in social groups. 

“Organizational psychology was a great fit for me because you get to make a difference in people’s lives and is grounded in the real world,” said Baker. “But you also get this exciting aspect of science where you understand how people work and interact with one another on a fundamental level. I love that both worlds can intersect in org psych.”