Koch Associate Program
Charles Koch Institute
During the year-long Koch Associate Program, participants spend one day a
week immersed in a Market-Based Management curriculum that includes
lectures, team-based projects and more.
Rising professionals know their chances for career success improve with additional education, internships and networking. For the approximately 80 men and women with work experience of ten years or less who are accepted into the Koch Associate Program or "KAP," these are only three of the many benefits received from the year-long program.
The program, located in Arlington, Virginia, identifies potential leaders and entrepreneurs who are interested in the ideas of economic freedom. It helps them develop the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for careers that seek to advance those ideas using Market-Based Management® (MBM®). Associates work in the non-profit sector four days a week, then spend Thursdays immersed in professional education learning how to approach work challenges using MBM concepts via models, team-based projects and instructors.
Danika Ciano, manager of educational programs at the Charles Koch Institute and an associate alumna, describes Thursdays as a fusion of hands-on professional education with theoretical learning that is quickly put to the test during the other four days. "Having a network of people who challenged and pushed you to learn more and who exposed you to new ideas made for a richer learning environment," she says. "It was also exciting to have the opportunity to study ideas that I was passionate about while staying on a career path I was interested in. It was a unique opportunity to do both."
"Associates learn how to think through problems and approach them differently using Market-Based Management. Participating in KAP is a unique opportunity to learn the philosophy and begin applying it," says Lea Krohn, one of several instructors with the program. "They learn how to deliberate in an intentional way instead of a reactive way and allocate resources to their most effective use. Thinking about how you spend time at work, for example, and understanding that when you choose one thing, you give up something else."
Mary McPherson, alumna and membership manager for the Institute for Justice, agrees that the tools she learned in the program have been helpful in conversations with her boss and in how she approaches her responsibilities. "I consider the cost/benefit analysis when I'm looking at a project and how to best use my time. Instead of going with my gut or what seems exciting, I think about what's best long-term for the organization."
Reed Watson, alumnus and director of applied programs at the Property and Environment Research Center in Montana, has taken the program's approach to roles, responsibilities and expectations to his workplace. "I don't expect to come in and implement a new management structure," he says. "But, I can make suggestions, and sprinkle in these tools as appropriate."
The Associates' workplaces are not the only environment where concepts of the program are put into practice. As alumnus Brian Brenberg, assistant professor of business and economics at The King's College, says, "The foundation employees who run the Associate Program are constantly asking themselves, ‘How can we make this better?' Nothing is sacred, everything is open for debate, and nobody seems to be afraid of the work required to change. That attitude, I think, promises to keep the program relevant and challenging."
In addition to the Koch Associate Program, the Charles Koch Institute also administers the Koch Internship Program and a new, nationwide program, Liberty@Work™. To find out more about these programs, and to apply, please visit chareleskochinsitute.org.