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Joon Young Lee, ’24SPS, IKNS, on Leveraging Knowledge Management at Hanwha Asset Management USA

Joon Young Lee was looking for programs to help him broaden his horizons and progress his career when he found Columbia’s M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy program. He is now the Vice President of U.S. Real Estate Investments at Hanwha Asset Management USA.

Lee earned his bachelor’s degree in 2007 from NYU Stern, where he studied Finance and International Business. Upon graduating, Lee had the opportunity to work in real estate, and, finding himself enjoying the field, built a strong career in the industry. In 2018, Lee joined South Korean-based Hanwha Asset Management, where he has been tasked with establishing and growing the organization’s presence in the U.S. market.

“As Hanwha invests on behalf of South Korean institutional investors globally, I am responsible for building relationships with different real estate investors, managers, and potential partners, as well as sourcing real estate investment opportunities,” said Lee. “Part of my responsibilities also includes managing and monitoring our existing investment portfolios on a periodic basis. I also have to work closely with teammates in the Seoul office in assessing and executing the investments.” 

Much of the challenges Lee continues to face stems from the fact that he is based in a satellite office in New York City and must coordinate with colleagues from different cultures and time zones, often fourteen hours ahead. While knowledge-sharing in the real estate industry–as many others–is important, Lee admitted that the geographical and cultural differences make the ability to share knowledge in efficient manners crucial to execute on investment and business plans effectively.

Lee explained that the courses in Columbia’s M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) program have helped him enhance collaboration between teammates, trained him to look at things from a knowledge management perspective, and apply certain tools to lead more effective collaborations.

“Before coming to Columbia, I did not have any expertise in knowledge management and its practical applications,” Lee said. “Now, I’m studying knowledge management as an organizational asset and I find its practical applications to be very helpful. More specifically, the course Leading Collaboration is great. We are learning so much about collaboration, both through a scholarly, academic lense and also from an applied perspective as it relates to knowledge management and our day-to-day challenges.”

The IKNS program stood out for him because it addressed a lot of challenges he has been and still continues to face in his career. He finds the program has a forward-thinking curriculum and was different from any other master’s program he either heard of or came across while researching options.

“I also like the fact that the program is interdisciplinary. This is important for me because I have spent my career in real estate for the past fifteen years. The program allows me a chance to work, learn, and interact with people from different backgrounds and disciplines,” Lee said.

As he just finished his second term with the program, Lee is looking forward to being able to work more closely with different members of his cohort, and learn from other IKNS courses. He is also excited to dive deeper into the subject of knowledge management and how to apply that deeply and effectively into his day to day work and his future career challenges as a leader.


Learn more about Columbia’s M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy.