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ADA – A real world experience for East Central University business students is being provided at the new Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

Thanks to a generous donation from Kellogg & Sovereign Consulting, LLC, students get a true hands-on experience in the business world with a financial lab/technology classroom in the new Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business, located on the second floor of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center on the ECU campus.

“The student experience with technology in the financial lab classroom is similar to the technology we use in our building,” said Jane Kellogg, president and CEO of Kellogg & Sovereign Consulting. “Students usually don’t have the exposure to cutting edge technology in financial data and research with tools for financial modeling and this room gives them the opportunity to learn in a real-world setting.

“In our offices in Ada we manage millions of dollars in funding for over 350 organizations including schools, libraries, and healthcare providers in 11 states through federal USF programs. We want the employee we hire to have experience taking advantage of high speed internet, multiple monitors and other technology available at each desktop. A classroom like this gives them the credentials we look for in the hiring process.”

When the E-Rate program (Schools and Libraries Program) began in 1998, Kellogg & Sovereign Consulting expanded its services to assist schools in maximizing new funding opportunities for the delivery of advanced telecommunications and internet access services to the classroom. Over the past 17 years, the company has expanded its client base to serving over 350 organizations in 11 states to include schools, libraries and health care providers.

The financial lab consists of an interactive Market Wall, which streams live data from stocks and bond markets with just a 20-minute delay. The board tracks various markets and the Dow and will provide market news as well.

It has been helping business professors, particularly in investment classes, according to Wendell Godwin, Dean of the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.

“The Kellogg & Sovereign Consulting Financial Lab allows our students to be more engaged in the financial market while in the classroom,” Godwin said. “The interactive Market Wall allows our professors to use live market data in the classroom. We offer courses in financial management, money and banking, investment analysis and management and commercial bank management that are more interactive due to this lab. We offer students the opportunity to manage portfolios in the classroom setting and this technology allows our students to see how their investments are doing in relations to the other student investment teams.”

Kellogg says her vision aligned with that of Godwin’s.

“We were looking to make a donation with something to do with technology. I sat down with Wendell and he had pictures of all this innovative technology for financial analysis and research and he said ‘this is what I would like to do.’ I almost said, ‘In your dreams,’ but I didn’t,” Kellogg said. “Because he was so enthusiastic and his passion matched mine. I knew this is what we needed to do.”

Kellogg remembers her first time to see the room, shortly before the grand opening of the business and conference center.

“I’m sure my mouth just dropped when I first saw the room. That’s it. That’s what I wanted, because I want the students to be engaged in learning how to use and leverage the technology.” Kellogg said. “I want the employee that I hire to be comfortable in working with technology, utilizing online research and analysis including projections, reasoning and problem solving, and to do these things on a regular day-to-day basis.”

Debi Sovereign, Vice President of Kellogg and Sovereign Consulting, says the lab places ECU business students in a real-world business environment.

“We brought in our environment to recreate it in the school of business,” Sovereign said. “This puts you in a high-level corporate setting. A lot of your education in finance and accounting is in theory and understanding concepts, which is still extremely critical. However, when you provide students with the opportunity to experience and use technology similar to the business world, they will have a deeper understanding of how to effectively utilize technology when they enter the work force. They will be much more comfortable with today’s business tools and have a better chance to be successful in the work place.”

“The technology in the financial lab provides so much more than the traditional classroom,” explained Sovereign.

“Not only do you get up to the minute information about a stock, but you are also able to access validated research and news reports concerning the company,” said Sovereign. “Everything a student wants to know about the company is at their fingertips, enabling them to assimilate the data and research to develop an understanding of how the company’s earnings will affect the student’s financial portfolio or how the student would advise the company in future planning scenarios.”

Godwin says the technology rivals that offered at larger universities.

“East Central University is very fortunate to have this technology in our financial lab. This technology is comparable to what much larger universities offer business students,” said Godwin. “Jane Kellogg and Debi Sovereign are extremely supportive of our programs and we are truly grateful for their support to make this lab a reality.”

Kellogg and Sovereign are also in the process of establishing a business scholars program with details yet to be unveiled. “We will continue to support the business school. With Dean Godwin and the University’s innovative leadership, we are certain they will continue to attract top students and develop future business leaders.” Kellogg said.   


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