Author: Danielle Brenon
Date: July 2, 2012
Categories: Academics

The Houghton College Business and Economics Department has continued its tradition of providing students with practical and relevant experience through its Houghton Consulting Group and senior capstone projects. Due to the expert faculty instruction and large number of hands-on learning opportunities, Houghton business students have produced exceptional and consistent results, both in and out of the classroom. Both student groups offer research-based studies and recommendations for future strategic planning to businesses looking to improve their internal and external models. In April, 30 senior Houghton business and accounting students traveled to the corporate headquarters of Paychex, a Fortune 1000 company in Rochester, N.Y., to present their research findings after a three-month study of the company and its strategy. Houghton presented a list of strategic recommendations to Paychex's CFO, Efrain Rivera.

Remarkably, Houghton's recommendations aligned with what a world-renowned consulting firm recently recommended to Paychex. Rivera commended the Houghton students for producing results he would expect from graduate-level students.

"We're quite proud of this year's seniors for demonstrating the kind of workethic, problem-solving ability, and passion for service we're coming to expect in Houghton business students," said Ken Bates, associate professor and chair of the business and economics department at Houghton.

On May 1, seven selected students, led by members of the Houghton Consulting Group, presented the result of their three-month study of the current operations of the Jamestown YMCA. This included demographics of the Jamestown area and projections of trends into the future. Their recommendations were very well-received by representatives of the YMCA, who asked for additional consulting in future months. Mark Eckendorf, the CEO of the Jamestown Y, expressed gratitude and surprise at both the grasp the students had on the YMCA's situation and the innovation in the students' recommendations.

The seven students representing Houghton were Kendra Brown '14, James Rhett '12, Devon Kauffeldt '12, Katie Schutte '12, Derek Mastin '12, Zac Smalley '12 and Jaime Donnan '12. The next day, May 2, six different members of the Houghton Consulting Group presented their strategic recommendations to the Fidelis Foundation via Skype to the Fidelis board in Delray Beach, Fla. The Fidelis Foundation was extremely grateful for the work done by the students in proposing a path forward for their 501(c)3 organization. The Houghton students included Amy Dial '13, Andrew Williams '12, Julia Schlosser '13, Andrea Ypma '13, Steven Birdsall '10, and Katie Hodgkins '13. The Houghton Consulting Group is currently looking for submissions for future projects from all varieties of businesses and non-profit foundations, both large and small. Companies with interest should contact Professor Ken Bates at

See a video of our first place award winning HR team at the SHRM conference in Atlanta at the end of June.