Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Edward Kim

Columbia Business School

Former professional pianist, lifelong explorer, people connector. Will never say no to good coffee.”

Hometown: Bel Air, MD

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once trained for and participated in a barrel race (as in racing on rafts made of empty oil barrels) off the coast of Kuwait.

Undergraduate School and Major: Dartmouth College, Anthropology; The Juilliard School, Collaborative piano.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Salzburg State Theater, Pianist with Conducting Duties

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Serving as musical director for two productions. Successfully managing a wide array of needs and personalities while staying true to my own musical vision was a formative experience for me, and heavily influenced my decision to pursue a full time MBA.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Open – despite all of their amazing accomplishments and experiences, they all genuinely want to learn from each other and grow to be their best selves in every way.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Of all the programs I applied to, I felt that Columbia was the one that really saw my unconventional background and the power of diversity as a true asset. Ultimately, I wanted to be at a school that believed in me and what I could bring to the table. Columbia’s location in New York City–the “center of business” was also a huge pull. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the place to be, to learn, and to thrive.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I hope to give back to the culture at CBS by becoming a member of the Hermes Society, which has gone out of its way to make me and my fellow incoming classmates feel right at home.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I felt that this was the time in my career to gather up the many seemingly disparate experiences I have accumulated throughout the course of my professional life and refocus them through a business lens.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I knew that an MBA could give me opportunities and expose me to people I would never have dreamed of otherwise. For me, it was an easy decision.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard, Booth, Stern

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I spoke with several people with an arts background who went on to pursue full time MBAs, and asked about their experiences at business school.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I participated in the first half of a study abroad program in Beirut, Lebanon one summer; the second half was cut short due to the outbreak of the 2006 Lebanon War. It made me begin to understand just how complicated, complex, and simultaneously interconnected our world is.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I hope to go into consulting.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself in New York working to bring people together, in whatever capacity I can.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.