Koch Center for Family Business
Engaging the Entire Family Enterprise: Business / Office / Foundation
Based at Washington University’s Olin Business School, the Koch Center for Family Business generates insight on the holistic family enterprise—Family Business (Core Operations), Family Office (Investment) and Family Foundation (Philanthropy). We seek to make these learnings actionable for current and future family business leaders. The center brings this mission to life through multifaceted engagement with enterprise leaders, rigorous scholarship on issues facing these leaders, and support of student development in the classroom and through rich experiential learning.
Four Areas of Focus
The Koch Center focuses on four key areas within the family enterprise, and the ways they play out across the entire family enterprise — family business, family office and the family foundation. Out of these insights, we seek to deliver value for Olin students and the family business community. Our rigorous scholarship, generated by individuals inside WashU and around the globe, is made accessible and actionable for both groups, a practice that facilitates an understanding of best practices and the generation of impact.
Generating Growth and Innovation
Strategies for family businesses to generate and stimulate long-term growth and innovation, both within and outside the core business. We focus on identifying strategies that drive professionalism in the family enterprise and enable long-term sustaining innovation across generations.
Crafting Ownership and Governance
Drivers of effective ownership and governance of an increasingly complex family enterprise (business + office + foundation). We focus on the unique challenges of family leader growth and development, board governance, ownership dynamics in transition, and lessons from ownership alternatives to traditional family enterprise.
Defining Investment and Legacy
Dynamics of family investment and legacy through philanthropic efforts and portfolio deployment. We focus on strategies for managing a diversity of family goals, values and risk tolerance specific to family wealth and its deployment into investment and initiatives of impact.
Balancing Business and Family Purpose
An area that holds the greatest potential for family business is also the space that is most fraught—balancing the purpose of the family with the purpose of business. We focus on understanding how these areas overlap and how their alignment can drive value for multiple constituents in the family enterprise.
History and the Koch Family
From left: Roger and Fran Koch and Paul and Elke Koch at Washington University Founders Day, Nov. 2, 2019. Photo by Jerry Naunheim, courtesy of Washington University.
In April 2016, Olin Business School launched the Koch Center for Family Business, following generous support from the Koch families. This vision built upon preliminary work from a team of MBA students who mapped the market opportunity on a project through Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning.
Specific to the founding donors, Paul A. Koch (BSBA ’61, JD ’64, MBA ’68) and Roger L. Koch (BSBA ’64, MBA ’66) are co-chairmen of the board, and the third generation in leadership at Koch Development Co., a St. Louis-based developer and manager of commercial real estate and owner/operator of select entertainment attractions.
- Peter Boumgarden, Director, Koch Center; Koch Professor of Practice for Family Enterprise, Washington University
- Bart H. Hamilton, Research Director, Koch Center; Robert Brookings Smith Distinguished Professor of Economics, Management & Entrepreneurship, Washington University
- Alex Haimann, MBA (’12), Associate Director, Koch Center