Tag: Koch Center for Family Enterprise

Paul, Elke, Roger, and Fran Koch at today

The Koch Center for Family Business has officially changed its name to the Koch Center for Family Enterprise.

In 2019, The Koch Family—Paul A. (BSBA ’61, JD ’64, MBA ’68) and his wife, Elke; Roger L. (BSBA ’64, MBA ’66) and his wife, Fran —provided gifts and commitments of more than $9 million to create the center and its associated directorship and professor of practice.

They made the investment to create a center dedicated to studying the distinctive features of family-owned businesses and serving the family business community with programs and insights for improving business practice.

The family also wanted to raise awareness about the complexities and opportunities in family business, and to engage students in understanding the rich career potential within the family business ecosystem.

Peter Boumgarden

In 2021, Peter Boumgarden was appointed as the center’s director and the Koch Family Professor of Practice. At that time, he refreshed the strategic plan and vision for the center. He widened its scope to include not only family business research and practice, but also family philanthropy and investment activities. The center’s new name intends to reflect the new direction and broader impact of the Koch Center.

Multiple angles

Boumgarden said that to understand the “purpose and performance” of family enterprise, one must look at ownership from multiple angles.

“This means paying attention to family owners looking to continue their legacy to the next generation,” he said. “But it also means exploring family offices and their direct investment portfolios, family philanthropists seeking to impact the world through their acquired wealth, and even students and alumni looking to pursue business building, acquisition and ownership.”

The challenges of strategic ownership are widespread and complex, and the Koch Center for Family Enterprise is well-positioned to explore and disseminate insights with a foundation in academic research and strong links to the family business community.

Variety of programs

The Koch Center for Family Enterprise oversees a variety of programs for both students and the St. Louis business community and is an important part of Olin. Among the programs it oversees are an annual symposium, a student club, a case study-driven course featuring family business practitioners as lecturers, and student practicum projects with owners of family businesses.

Dean Michael Mazzeo

The Koch Center also manages an executive education workshop for owners, student-led academic work across a variety of enterprises and a new program called Philanthropy Forward. Philanthropy Forward works with strategic philanthropists to define and refine their theory of impact and change.

“The Koch family’s vision for a center focused on such a vital segment of our economy, paired with Professor Boumgarden’s strategic commitment to guiding its direction, is emblematic of what drew me to WashU Olin,” said Mike Mazzeo, dean of the school.

“I’m delighted to see that vision and collaboration reflected in the work to accurately express the Koch Center’s mission and scope with this new name.”

Top photo: The Kochs attend the Family Business Symposium in 2018.

The inaugural team of five Koch Center for Family Enterprise scholars worked on a variety of research projects this summer tied to family enterprise.

“While we have discussed having a formal group of scholars supporting research at the center for years, this year was our first full effort in this direction,” said Peter Boumgarden, Koch Family Professor of Practice in Family Enterprise and director of the Koch Center for Family Enterprise.

“And, wow, I am so glad we initiated these partnerships. Every one of these scholars contributed to a major strategic priority of the Koch Center.”

Here are the scholars’ individual accounts of the work they did.

Paige Copenhaver

My summer project was a thrilling mix of qualitative research and quantitative and empirical analysis. While researching the impact of accelerators on startups and specifically delving into Arch Grants, a nonprofit venture capital firm, I learned so much about the structure of startups, trends among team and founder demographics and how the injection of capital into startups can lead to better downstream outcomes.

With the help of Professors Peter Boumgarden and Barton Hamilton, the goal of this study is to determine whether firms that make it to the finalist round of the Arch Grants competition but do not receive an Arch Grant have different outcomes than firms that do receive an Arch Grant. The datasets I created encompass aspects of these firms over time, which will be the key to our analysis. Instead of studying the overall effect of multiple accelerators over a small period, this study examines one accelerator over 10 years.

So far, a simple data analysis has revealed that on average, firms that receive an Arch Grant are more likely to survive longer and raise more capital than Arch Grants finalists. 

I learned so much from this project, but one of my biggest takeaways is a deeper understanding of how venture capital works and the role of accelerators in the venture capital space. 

I am looking forward to continuing to work with the Koch Center and Arch Grants as this research develops!

Copenhaver is in her second year at Haverford College studying mathematical economics and German.

Claire Dempsey, MBA/MSW 2023

This summer, I worked with the Koch Center on building a novel executive education program to equip high-net-worth leaders with cutting-edge strategies for philanthropic giving. Under the direction of Margaret Schnuck Rogers, Susan Fitzpatrick, Peter Boumgarden and Jennifer Wintzer, I developed a structure and curriculum to frame participant learning and recruited facilitators and coaches to guide them in strategy development. I also worked to educate and engage stakeholders from across WashU through meeting facilitation, detailed communication plans and slide decks.

Through this fellowship, I gained in-depth knowledge of the philosophical and pragmatic concerns of philanthropy, as well as the latest trends in the philanthropic sector.

I left curious about the polarization of strategic and trust-based philanthropy and interested in ways to effectively introduce rigor into the evaluation of social sector initiatives, the impacts of which can be notoriously difficult to quantify.

Margaret Schnuck Rogers, MBA 2022, is an initiative director for the Koch Center. Susan Fitzpatrick is a Koch Center Board member and program designer. Jennifer Wintzer is the Koch Center’s program manager.

Vincent Nguyen, MBA 2023

My summer collaboration with Professors Bart Hamilton and Peter Boumgarden in researching the impact of private equity (PE) in healthcare, particularly in the fertility sector, has been profoundly enlightening. As an MD/MBA student with a keen interest in the synergy of medicine and business, this project resonated deeply.

Exploring how diverse ownership models shape healthcare clinics and strategies has uncovered a wealth of insights. PE introduces operational efficiencies, improved services and cost savings, which are crucial for fertility clinics catering to growing demand due to shifting demographics. However, potential downsides include misalignment with long-term quality goals and loss of clinical autonomy.

The focus on fertility clinics has revealed the intricate interplay between corporate ownership and healthcare outcomes. The current literature finds that PE acquisitions impact clinics in nuanced ways, with potential benefits but also mixed implications.

Guided by Professors Hamilton and Boumgarden, this research journey has enriched my understanding of the multifaceted dynamics of PE’s role in healthcare. It underscores the need to recognize benefits while being mindful of potential pitfalls. This experience will significantly influence my exploration of healthcare innovation and management, seamlessly integrating medical and business perspectives.

By studying fertility clinics, we contribute to the discourse on how corporate involvement can enhance patient well-being and healthcare performance. The complexities of healthcare mandate nuanced approaches, and this research has provided invaluable insights into navigating these complexities.

Michael Roytburd, MBA 2024

This summer, I worked on creating an online tool to help family business owners make informed, values-based decisions at key transition points for their businesses. With support from Peter and Mark Hand (UT-Arlington), I used their ongoing research to sketch out a web page where family business owners could learn about various transition options and more closely examine their motivations and values related to their businesses.

I created a survey that owners may use to better understand their motivations and desires for their businesses, grounded in academic taxonomies. This survey will allow users to compare their motivations and values to those of all anonymized survey-takers, and it will also provide users with suggestions for transition options that may fit their needs.

This project allowed me to work closely with brilliant academics, and I was treated as a colleague with valuable ideas. This was a true honor and an amazing experience. It gave me a better understanding of the challenging work that researchers do, particularly when crafting new academic theories and frameworks.

Of course, this experience was doubly valuable because it was grounded in values-based work: helping business owners make better values-based decisions. This aspect of the project was extremely important to me, and I’m grateful to Peter for the opportunity to contribute.

Jessica Timerman, MSW/MBA 2024

This summer, I focused on co-authoring the case “Values and data from the owners’ box: St. Louis City SC and the balance of purpose and performance,” with Professor Peter Boumgarden.

I learned firsthand the value of perspectives that I bring as an MSW/MBA candidate. When working with individuals in the business and social policy spaces respectively, I could see gaps in their thought processes and effectively blended these important viewpoints into the case. I wrestled with ideas around how business development is essential for the success of St. Louis, but making it work for and with marginalized communities is a complex goal along with analyzing how this plays out in practice.

I saw the power of family businesses and closely held enterprises in having the time and resources to make intentional decisions to further goals beyond financial performance, such as representing the culture of St. Louis on a global stage. I am excited to see where St. Louis City Soccer Club takes our region and what competitors present after delving into the case!

Pictured from top left clockwise: Paige Copenhaver, Claire Dempsey, Vincent Nguyen, Michael Roytburd and Jessica Timerman.

Peter Boumgarten contributed this post to the Olin Blog. He is the Koch Family Professor of Practice in Family Enterprise and director of the Koch Center for Family Enterprise.

This summer, Bart Hamilton and I have an opportunity to work with the Koch Center’s inaugural set of Family Enterprise Scholars. The five students and their respective projects are listed below. If you have relevant insight and expertise in any of these areas, do reach out, as we would love to put you in touch with these scholars!

The group is paid to work on research tied to family enterprise. They will learn about a huge swath of the US economy—closely held businesses—and bring some rigor to a space often missed in our research work. We hope that the program creates opportunities to signal expertise generated by working on a big problem in partnership with a faculty member.

Michael Roytburd

Michael Roytburd, MBA 2024, is working with me and Mark Hand (University of Texas, Arlington) on a project to better understand owner motivations at times of transition. This project will ultimately create a community-facing tool to help owners better understand what they are trying to optimize for when facing any kind of succession (management, ownership, or control) and how the options in front of them (family succession, ESOP, sale, etc.) map onto these drivers.

Vincent Nguyen

Vincent Nguyen, MBA 2023, will return to WashU to finish his MD on the other side of Forest Park from Olin. Before he does this, he’s working to help segment different strategies within the private equity space and using this segmentation to discern what does and does not create value in healthcare roll-ups.

Paige Copenhaver

Paige Copenhaver is a rising second year at Haverford College studying mathematical economics and German. She’s working closely with Hamilton and me to understand what leads to a higher likelihood of success for previous start-ups out of St. Louis’ ArchGrants incubator. One factor that comes to mind is ownership of the founding team (e.g., husband and wife, brothers, outside family and friend investors) and how that interacts with the support they receive.

Claire Dempsey

Claire Dempsey, MBA/MSW 2023, is working with me and recent Olin alum Margaret Margaret Schnuck Rogers, MBA 2023, on a new program in partnership with the Chancellor’s office called Philanthropy-forward. She’s working on mapping the different schools of thought in philanthropy as the Koch Center team creates a model to help individual and family philanthropies be more strategic in giving.

Jessica Timerman

Jessica Timerman, MSW/MBA 2024, is working with the center on two projects. She is supporting the development of the Olin-wide case competition called “Values and Data from the Owner’s Box.” The case focuses on the Taylor family and their attempt in an MLS franchise to balance financial and non-financial ownership objectives. This case competition will run later this year and be open to undergrad and grad teams nationwide. She’s also helping develop a survey to better understand the behavior of family offices, a significant and growing part of the financial market.

Pictured from top left clockwise: Paige Copenhaver, Claire Dempsey, Vincent Nguyen, Michael Roytburd and Jessica Timerman.