HKS Xchange Fellowship

By HKS

With 24 offices around the world and projects across nearly 100 countries, HKS wants to bridge teams, cities and cultures beyond emails and conference calls. The need to understand and work better with our colleagues in a 1,400-person firm is what drives our popular HKS Xchange Fellowship.

Every year, we send 12 full-time employees — architects, interior designers and other professionals — to one of three HKS host offices for a three-month stint.  The Xchange staggers the fellows so that three temporarily relocate per quarter, with the mix of host offices changing annually.

The fellowship allows employees to connect in person with colleagues they might know only electronically or not at all. Fellows carry over responsibilities from their home office but also get to dip into new professional opportunities at the host office, propelling their careers and benefitting HKS.

“You see how other people work, how their teams work. You begin to understand different modes of collaboration and learn to operate under different styles of leadership. You’re experiencing all of that within the same company without having to transfer or change jobs.”

 

— Parker Stewart, hosted by HKS New Delhi

How It Works

Fellows are selected through a competitive application process. The Xchange committee evaluates applicants based on professional contributions, work ethic, their proposals on communicating the program experience and other criteria.

Applicants must have at least 12 months of continuous full-time employment at HKS as of the application due date, usually in October. Candidates can indicate their host office preferences in the application.

Three fellows — one for each of the host offices — cycle in and out of the program per quarter.

  • Quarter 1: January – March
  • Quarter 2: April – June
  • Quarter 3: July – September
  • Quarter 4: October – December

The fellowship makes the transition easy for employees. HKS provides housing close to the host office at no cost to the fellow. The apartment is within walking distance of the office or near public transportation access points. Roundtrip airfare to and from the host city is also covered by the fellowship.

Fellows are responsible for their daily expenses (groceries, for example) and personal travel. Many take advantage of the temporary relocation to sight-see and explore their host city or country.

“Expect some challenges, but also a lot of excitement and exposure to new experiences. This is an opportunity that a lot of firms don’t offer, so it’s something to take advantage of.”

 

— Rebecca Soja, hosted by HKS San Francisco

The 2020-21 Class

Quarter 2

  • Singapore — Roger Phillips (home office: Salt Lake City)
  • Chicago — Cindy Huang (home office: Singapore)
  • Miami — Runddy Ramilo (home office: Singapore)

Quarter 3

  • Singapore — Kyleen Rockwell (home office: Denver)
  • Chicago — Sammy Shams (home office: Atlanta)
  • Miami — Bryan Rincon (home office: Los Angeles)

Quarter 4

  • Singapore — Esther Jeong (home office: Richmond)
  • Chicago — Victoria Andrews (home office: Dallas)
  • Miami — Kevin Vandersall (home office: Dallas)

Quarter 1

  • Singapore — Naomi Willett (home office: San Francisco)
  • Chicago — Julia Rubert (home office: Washington, D.C.)
  • Miami — Haizhen Song (home office: Shanghai)

HKS

HKS is a team of more than 1,400 architects, interior designers, urban designers, scientists, artists, anthropologists and other professionals working together across industries and across the globe to create places that delight, heal and stimulate peak performance. The firm has nurtured a culture of extraordinary people with curious and creative minds who are passionate about delivering elegant solutions. HKS has a dedicated research team that digs deep to discover processes and ideas that improve outcomes for everyone. In everything HKS does, it is mindful of the fragility of all life and of the planet.