Lester Korn
Scholarship Program

The Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation is delighted to offer
the Lester Korn Scholarship Program.

In honor of Korn Ferry’s late co-founder, Lester Korn, the scholarships are intended to make a lasting impact by assisting the children of Korn Ferry employees worldwide who plan to pursue undergraduate or graduate / postgraduate study in college or university programs.

Please explore this website as it provides an overview of the eligibility and selection process.

Applications for the 2024 award season are now open for submissions! Click here to begin a new application or continue a saved application. The application deadline is April 18, 2024, 3:00 pm Central Time. Scholarship recipients will be notified in June 2024. Please email info@kornferryfoundation.org if you have any questions.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants to the Lester Korn Scholarship Program must be:

  • Children or legal wards of a full-time, part-time, or temporary Korn Ferry employee who has a minimum of one-year of employment with Korn Ferry. Employees must be employed directly by Korn Ferry at the time employment is verified (approximately May 2024)
  • Be one of the following:
    • High school seniors or students in their final year of upper secondary school or CEGEP
    • Graduates of high school, upper secondary school, or CEGEP
    • Current undergraduate or graduate / postgraduate students
  • Enrolled or plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate or graduate / postgraduate course of study at an accredited college, university, or equivalent (length of course of study may vary from two to five years depending on location) for the entire upcoming academic year
  • Pursuing a bachelor’s degree, graduate / postgraduate degree, or equivalent. Awards are for undergraduate and graduate / postgraduate study only and not for vocational-technical / polytechnical study
  • Be an applicant who was not selected to receive a Lester Korn Scholarship Award in 2023

Children or legal wards of the following individuals are ineligible to participate: Korn Ferry’s corporate executive leadership team, line of business leaders, regional and market presidents, country and office leaders; Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation’s directors, members, and officers; and such others as Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation deems appropriate. If you have any questions regarding eligibility requirements, please reach out to info@kornferryfoundation.org.



Up to fifty scholarships will be awarded. The scholarship award is US $10,000.

A scholarship is awarded for one academic year and is not renewable. Recipients may not receive an award in two consecutive years. Students are encouraged to apply each year they are eligible to do so. Only one student per household may be awarded a scholarship per award cycle. Once awarded, a scholarship will not be terminated if the parent's or legal guardian’s employment terminates during the period of the scholarship.

Awards are for undergraduate and graduate / postgraduate study only at an accredited college, university, or equivalent.

Awards may be used for any education-related expenses; most commonly for the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction. Room and board expenses that are a part of education expenses may also be paid from scholarship funds.

Tax treatment will vary by different countries. Scholarship recipients should consult with qualified tax consultants in their jurisdictions to determine what portion of scholarship awards may be excluded from taxable income.

Selection of Recipients

The application and selection process for the Lester Korn Scholarship Program is administered by Scholarship America, an independent third party that manages scholarship, tuition assistance, and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals. Scholarship America does not consult directors, officers, or employees of Korn Ferry or the Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation with respect to its application review and selection process.

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, a statement of career and educational goals and aspirations, unusual personal or family circumstances, financial need, and an outside recommendation letter.

Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin.

All applicants agree to accept the decision as final.

Required Documents

As part of your application, you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  1. A current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Transcripts must display student name, school name, grades and credit hours for each course and term in which each course was taken.
  2. Non-U.S. Applicants must also provide a clear photocopy of secondary school credential / diploma / certificate if earned, and / or results of examinations.

Click here to begin a new application or continue a saved application. Please email lesterkornscholarship@scholarshipamerica.org if you have any questions.

In the Words of
Lester Korn

Korn Ferry International started small. Richard and I started it up in 1969, leaving good positions as young partners in the accounting firm of Peat Marwick for the uncertain future of young entrepreneurs. In 1961, I started as a management consultant for Peat Marwick (now KPMG) and had completed successful executive search work for them. Richard and I made partner and had reached the pinnacle of our careers at a very young age. At the ages of thirty-two and thirty-three, respectively, Richard and I “retired.” At that time, it was unheard of for partners to resign, and there were no provisions for a partner’s resignation because they either retired or died.

In November 1969, Richard and I went out on our own. With my wife, Carolbeth, and Richard’s wife, Maude, by our sides, and with fears that we might starve together, we embarked on our journey to one day become the world’s largest executive recruiting firm.

We were about to call the firm Korn Ferry and Associates, until a friend said it sounded flat and uninteresting; instead, he advised to think big and to call it Korn Ferry International. So, as Korn Ferry International, we opened offices in Los Angeles and New York. We also had, by a fluke, an office in San Marino, a Los Angeles suburb. We had not been sure we could use our own names in the firm because of our contractual obligations to Peat Marwick, so we had purchased a failing San Marino executive management firm with plans to adopt its name, if necessary. In the end, we were able to use our own names, but we were left with the office in San Marino. Everybody assumed that San Marino was in Europe, justifying our international title, even though our “European” office was exactly 14 miles from our Los Angeles headquarters.

From the beginning, Richard and I sought to professionalize the search business, and our Peat Marwick background certainly helped. We transformed search from a “who do you know” club—mostly East Coast and blue blood—into a real business. We engaged marketing research firms to conduct surveys of our clients to find out how Korn Ferry was perceived. And, we measured everything, especially billings. If we lost business to another firm, the consultant on that account heard about it. I prided myself on knowing our clients, and Richard and I did plenty of searches, ourselves.

Our practice was to distribute a weekly list of billings by consultant. Those who were at the top loved it of course, while those at the bottom did not. But it introduced some friendly competition into the ranks. We were up against better-established firms with pedigrees so we needed that entrepreneurial drive. People who did well understood that—from the long days to firmwide meetings that were held only on weekends because we couldn’t afford to be out of the marketplace during the week. But when people did well—and many of them did—I believed in rewarding them for what they achieved.

While I loved building the business, when I was presented with another opportunity, I was honored to serve President Ronald Reagan: From July 1987 to October 1988, I was the U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, with the title of Ambassador. In addition, I also served as the Alternate Delegate to the 42nd and 43rd General Assemblies of the United Nations and, in 1988, I received the Superior Honor Award from the US State Department.

Looking back, I take extraordinary pride in the growth and development of the firm that shares Richard’s and my name on the door. Korn Ferry has made its mark, and I am proud to hold the title of Chairman Emeritus. Proud, yes—but not surprised. At a company event a few years ago, I was asked whether I had ever expected Korn Ferry to become what it is today—now a multi-billion-dollar firm. Without hesitation I said, “Yes…yes, without a doubt.”