2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: George Kang, Columbia Business School

George Kang

Columbia Business School

Age: 32

“One who exemplifies the utmost humility and fosters community / togetherness.”

Hometown: East Lyme, Connecticut

Family Members: My loving parents Yumin Xi and Ming Kang

Fun fact about yourself: I was the Connecticut state chess champion as a freshman in high school

Undergraduate School and Degree: Cornell University; B.S. in Applied Economics and Management (Concentrations in Finance and Marketing)

Where are you currently working? Senior Associate at BRS & Co., LLC

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Class Community Representative
  • VP of EMBA, Private Equity Club
  • Pro Forma Futures mentor
  • Columbia Business School Private Equity Program

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was being a community representative and spearheading CBS Matters, allowing classmates to learn about each other beyond what is on their “resumes” and organizing social events (Top Golf outing, class hiking trips, Halloween party, etc.) to ensure classmates were able to interact with each other outside of the classroom which was even more critical and impactful as we all navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Making the jump from investment banking over to the buy-side, tirelessly leveraging every resource possible and refusing to take no as an answer despite over 15 final round rejections.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Paul Ingram, who enabled us to think critically and outside-of-the-box through applications of real-life leadership cases and studies. Professor Paul Ingram also personified someone who was always working to perfect his craft. It was extremely motivating and captivating to hear him practice out loud what he was going to convey in class during our breaks to ensure he best delivered the key-takeaways even though he has been teaching for over 20 years. 

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? Columbia Business School’s EMBA program is the largest in the world, which enables you to meet the most diverse set of individuals and similarly have access to the largest alumni base.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Ensure you have a purposeful take-away or call to action every time you speak. During one of my firm’s recent investment committee meetings, this lesson was applied to a tee to the point where my message resonated so much with the investment committee that we submitted an Initial Indication of Interest on a deal I personally found to be very intriguing.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? In late-April of last year, one of my best friends was getting married in Costa Rica while my firm was just days away from closing on a transaction and when I simultaneously had two final exams and a final project due. The only way that I was able to be present at my best friend’s destination wedding was over communicating with my bosses and the team I was working with on the final project. At the end of the day, no matter how much you have going on, communicating the circumstances to all the relevant parties, and presenting realistic timelines is how everything can and will get done.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Regardless of what level you are, whether as the most junior individual at your firm or you are the CEO, be readily open to share your experiences as everyone looks at a situation or problem in a different way. Listening to the perspectives from your classmates’ experiences will shape how you react when you inevitability land in that same situation sparking creativity and nimbleness.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? You do not have anything to contribute to the class because you do not have any experience or knowledge in the specific subject field.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I regret not being even more proactive in reaching out to classmates in other programs such as Columbia’s full-time program, Global program, etc. just to set up a quick coffee chat to expand my network and simply to hear their stories.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Mihir Kurani: a classmate you could always reach out to and count on to take as long as necessary to ensure you fully understood the class material and someone you could always count on to help you organize class events in the spirit of building community.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Being able to continue to progress at my current firm without having to take a pause / hiatus while still having the in-person classroom experience.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To one day become a Managing Director in Private Equity.

What made George such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“George’s dedication to the EMBA-NY Saturday program through his role as Community Representative and his positive, upbeat attitude make him an invaluable part of the Columbia Business School community, especially during the challenges of the pandemic. As Community Representative, George organized countless virtual and in-person networking and social activities to ensure a strong, cohesive cohort, all the while managing ever-changing COVID protocols and pandemic policies. He enthusiastically planned activities that brought together students from multiple programs to foster support and encourage connections. His thoughtfulness, drive, and ability to unite were appreciated by all.

George’s classmates describe him as the spirit of their class, inclusive, motivating, committed to his classmates, and a hard worker. His leadership and contributions to the Columbia Business School community have truly been outstanding and he is more than well-deserving of this award.”

Susan West
Senior Associate Director, Student Affairs
Executive MBA Programs


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