It’s a cornerstone of the American dream: starting a business, growing it, then passing it down to new generations. Now, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis will have a new tool to help family business leaders learn how best to build and preserve their legacies into the future.
Mahendra R. Gupta, dean and the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management at Olin, announced a four-year, $1.09-million gift from Roger and Fran Koch and Paul and Elke Koch that will launch the Olin Family Business Program. The program will position Olin as a leader in the field as it helps prepare its students to enter and lead their family businesses. Gupta’s announcement came during a half-day Family Business Symposium held April 22 at Olin.
“Olin Business School has long been a leader in preparing our students to enter and lead their businesses,” Gupta said. “This generous gift from the Koch Family will allow us to build on the resources and courses Olin already has in place to further strengthen the skill set of these students, and also address specific needs of family businesses. We are indebted to the Kochs — Roger and Fran, and Paul and Elke — for funding this very important initiative.”
In addition to attracting the next generation of family business leaders and connecting them to programs and resources needed to succeed, the Olin Family Business Program will also include an internship program for students seeking careers with family businesses, and Family Business Practicums, in collaboration with Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning.
These projects will pair faculty-led student teams with family businesses who seek effective solutions for the unique challenges they face. At the end of the practicum, the teams will deliver a report to the client company outlining their recommendations.
With their gift, the Kochs are also establishing the Koch Family Business Scholarship Fund, which will offer financial support to attract candidates with connections to family business to Olin’s full-time MBA program.
About the Kochs
Paul A. Koch (BSBA ’61, JD ’64 and MBA ’68) and Roger L. Koch (BSBA ’64 and MBA ’66) are co-chairman of the board at Koch Development Co. They are third generation family business owners in the real estate investment and development business. Both Roger and Paul have been recognized as Distinguished Alumni of the Olin Business School, and have been advisers to, and generous benefactors of, the university for many years.
The program will launch in Fall 2016.
Image: (From left:) Mahendra Gupta; Christopher Hoffmann, MBA ’16, vice president of Olin Family Business Club; Roger Koch; Elke Koch; Paul Koch; Emmy Caton, MBA ’17, incoming club president; and Ryan Plotkin, MBA ’16, president. Not pictured: Fran Koch. (Photo: Whitney Curtis/Washington University)
News release originally published on WashU’s The Source, by Erika Ebsworth-Goold