Lewis Han

Lewis Han
Class Year
New York, NY
Areas of Interest
Previous Education
BS in Management, United States Military Academy – West Point

Current Company

Coinbase, Business Development Manager

Post-CBS Goals in Your Organization

Help build the future of finance in the crypto/blockchain ecosystem.

Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?

Prior to starting, I was expecting to be immersed in rigorous academic challenges and opportunities to network with other smart, driven classmates. Much of my expectations were centered around learning new business concepts and material as well as professional networking. However, I never could have imagined the impact that some of our class discussions and new friendships have made in a short period of time for my own personal and career development. Some of the discussions and exercises we dove into immediately upon beginning the program have already made a tangible impact in the way I view my career and business leadership. While I was already expecting a lot from Columbia Business School in expanding my network, I was surprised by the quality of connections and friendships we made so quickly that are already having positive impacts throughout our class.

Why did you choose Columbia Business School?

I’ve always wanted to attend a top MBA program dating back to undergrad and prior to my military career. When transitioning from the military, I seriously considered applying for full-time MBA programs but decided to jump directly into working in technology instead. Columbia’s MBA program was always something that I was interested in and attending Columbia’s Executive MBA information sessions and panel discussions to learn more is one of the best decisions I have made. The ability to continue my career while expanding my horizons and networking with the incredibly talented people in the Columbia community has brought a lot of value to my life. I consider New York home and I plan to continue growing my career here – for me, there was no other option besides Columbia Business School to pursue my MBA.

How have your classmates help you balance work/life/family responsibilities?

The learning teams are an integral part of the Columbia Business School experience. Everyone comes from different industries and has different work/life/family requirements. One thing that is amazing about the Columbia Executive MBA program is the fact that everyone understands the need to prioritize, and shift focus as necessary to balance everything we have going on. The team, as well as the broader class, truly embodies a collaborative unit focused on the goal of enriching our lives holistically. We all understand that there are weeks where one member may need to shift priority to focus intently on a work/life/family event – and the rest of the team/class is there to help. Everyone brings a different strength/expertise to the team and it’s great to see our class’s collaborative culture come through.

Which faculty members(s) influenced you the most, and how?

Professor Paul Ingram’s Leadership & Organizational Change course was incredibly impactful in my own personal and career development. Having attended undergrad at West Point, and subsequently served as an Army officer, I came into the program with a lot of previous academic and real-world experience focused on leadership. With that said, Professor Ingram’s ability to inspire deep, reflective thought that challenged our own perceptions – of how we should think about our careers and ourselves as business leaders – has been incredibly impactful for me. I know that I’ve taken away several vital tools and nuggets of wisdom that I’ll lean on going forward in my career.

What has been your most memorable experience at Columbia Business School so far?

The people – one of the most valuable experiences offered at Columbia Business School is the opportunity to connect, share, and bond with the incredible people that CBS attracts. My classmates come from many different walks of life, industries, and career concentrations. The expertise and insight that my classmates can lend in discussions have been eye-opening. We have come to truly value one another’s perspectives and consistently turn to each other as we encounter challenges both at school and at work. I feel like I’ve been given an entire class full of advisors, mentors, and friends to lean on as I make my way through my career in New York.

Can you describe a time when you learned something in the curriculum and applied it immediately to your work environment?

We had just learned linear regressions in our Managerial Statistics course when one of my co-workers was working through a complex software deal. He was working with product managers and marketers at a client company to put together a business case justification with regards to adopting and implementing our platform vs. their status quo. Our team was not sure how to demonstrate the impact that our software would have in quantitative terms related to the customer’s north star metric. I was able to share concepts we learned in class that got them on the right path in terms of evaluating whether our platform would indeed impact certain metrics that are highly correlated to their top priorities. I’m excited to uncover new insights and skills to lean on through future courses in the program.

Can you describe the EMBA community and why it is special?

The diversity of experience and skillset embodied in the EMBA community makes it stand out among other programs. Since everyone attending the EMBA program is already in the workforce, everyone brings incredibly valuable insight into a variety of industries. The unique nature of the EMBA program comes to life in the insights shared amongst classmates in class discussions – these insights come from practical, real-world experience reinforced by academic theory. This experience makes Columbia’s EMBA program highly differentiated from other EMBA programs and even full-time programs in the fact that your classmates are all in high-powered careers within the NYC ecosystem. The value in connecting with classmates alone is unparalleled – let alone the value in the academic curriculum itself.

What advice would you give to a new student coming into the EMBA program at Columbia Business School?

Find balance and learn how to prioritize. There will be days/weeks where one variable between work/school/life will need to be a top priority over the others. Lean on your classmates and learning team and contribute to the best of your ability where you can. Not everything can be a top priority all the time – and that is okay. Lean into getting to know your classmates and put yourself out there to be involved in activities both in and out of the official Columbia Business School curriculum.

How will you apply your learnings to a post-COVID world?

As NYC heals and moves forward from the pandemic, I plan to take my learnings and insights from Columbia to contribute to leading and building the New York of tomorrow. With the caliber of the people I’ve encountered at Columbia – I have no doubt that we will succeed in that. Specifically, as I move into a career within a nascent and innovative new industry (crypto/blockchain), Columbia Business School is well-positioned to contribute to the development and growth of this exciting new area. As this new field grows, I hope to add value to the crypto/blockchain ecosystem through my experience at Columbia – and also bring valuable insights and connections back from the industry to build competencies and opportunities for the Columbia Business School community.

Have you taken advantage of any of our Centers or Programs?

I have not taken advantage of any Centers or Programs yet; however, I plan to focus more on these experiences in the future – especially after concluding my core courses. I have engaged with resources such as the Career Management Center, which has been very valuable. Discussions with advisors and alumni in various career fields have allowed me to explore career options and reflect on where I want to focus my future endeavors.