At the time I enrolled in the Sofaer International MBA program at Tel Aviv University, I had completed an undergraduate business degree in the US, worked as a management consultant for a major US firm, and was near completion of my military service as a combat medic. I had always enjoyed business and decided that earning an International MBA would valuable for transitioning back to the private sector. I also wanted to leverage my medical and military training to focus on biomedical and healthcare-related business, with an emphasis on commercialization of innovation and startups. I thoroughly researched several international programs and was confident in my decision to choose Tel Aviv University.
By then, the Israeli start-up scene had already developed a global reputation as an innovation leader. Within a few months of me starting the program that perception was further articulated and became a brand with the release of the book, Start-up Nation, which formally explored, documented, and named the phenomenon of the Israeli start-up culture. In the years since, international business delegations, investment, and deals coming to Israel have exploded, particularly from Asia. It has been an amazing trend to witness and be a part of.
Beyond traditional business coursework (taught by leading professors from both Israel and abroad), the MBA program provided a unique opportunity to be exposed to innovation and start-up-focused learning opportunities. These included courses such as Hi-Tech M&A and Innovation in Healthcare, hosting of international business delegations, visits to local start-ups and innovative multinational firms, and participating in an international business case competition (our team won first place in the country!).
I also had the opportunity to work on investment diligence projects for a leading Israeli healthcare venture capital firm evaluating medical investments. The program even provided the opportunity to join a business delegation and pursue a student exchange study abroad program, which I took advantage of.
After witnessing firsthand Asia’s growing hunger for Israeli innovation, I chose Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (“The Gateway to Asia”) for my student exchange. I took regionally relevant courses such as Sun Zi Art of War Applications to Business, Asia Pacific Business Law, and Mandarin Chinese. Joining Nanyang’s water polo and biathlon teams, as well as traveling throughout Asia during that period were unique and valuable personal and professional experiences as well, no less useful to my career than the formal studies.
One of the most cherished aspects of the Sofaer International MBA program was the opportunity to simultaneously explore both the start-up side of a business and how those innovations interface with the multinational corporations and international markets where commercialization happens. This is a crucial “missing link” that many startups and larger corporations alike do not have an understanding of. The results are that frequently, 1) the startups create solutions that lack understanding of their market and end-users, and 2) the larger corporations (and even entire cities and countries) squander tremendous resources attempting to promote “innovation,” without actually understanding how that comes about.
Upon completion of the program, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare systems to understand better which innovations would add the most value. So I accepted a US-based director position with the world’s leading provider of wound care management services.
There, I spent over five years leading and managing multi-million dollar hospital and clinic-based departments specializing in the treatment of advanced wounds. This period was priceless for two reasons: First, it gave me an expertise in the clinical and business aspects of wound care, regenerative medicine, and related medical specialties (vascular, orthopedic, and plastic surgery, infectious disease, etc.). Second, it exposed me to broader trends, challenges, and opportunities in the healthcare sector, regarding both the management and delivery of care and the market for medical devices and other products.
Eventually, wound care and related start-ups began to approach me for insights and assistance on solutions they were developing. At first, they were primarily Israeli startups that heard about me through word-of-mouth, but that quickly expanded to other countries (especially the U.S.).
At the same time, top executives of medical device companies (whose products are used in the wound care units I managed) would perform ride along with their sales teams and product managers, visiting the centers I managed. They would find value in the meetings because we would provide invaluable feedback on their current and planned products and strategy. Several successful advanced wound care products on the market today heavily incorporated our feedback in their designs and business models.
Some of those same executives (and others I would meet at industry conferences and trade shows) would also connect me with their colleagues managing overseas divisions, given my experiences in those markets. On multiple occasions, I would connect them with overseas partners or facilitate deals, especially in Israel and Asia. A Tel-Aviv University MBA colleague from China and I have collaborated on some of these engagements, too.
As my dealings with both startups and multinational corporations intensified, I eventually left my wound care director position to pursue those opportunities full-time.
I am currently based in Washington, DC, but I spend significant time overseas (including Israel and Asia), engaged in both business and advisory, which are equally divided among multinational corporations and startups.
In fact, I am writing this entry from Southeast Asia right now, where I am performing due diligence for a multinational medical device company’s planned product launches here. I am also a part-time co-founder of a US-based chronic care management startup, and actively advise several other startups, including ones working on innovative surgical dressings, wound care diagnostics, and medical laser solutions.
I credit the Sofaer International MBA at Tel Aviv University for providing opportunities and opening doors for me. However, many of my friends in traditional MBAs indeed received more “hand-holding.” So those looking to simply attend class and have a coordinator set them up for internships and job interviews with minimal initiative may want to look to other MBA programs. However, for those who are eager to roll up their sleeves and seize an opportunity to fuse innovation and commercialization (whether to work with startups, larger firms or to bridge both), the Sofaer International MBA from Tel Aviv University is worth serious consideration.
Written by Rafael Mazuz, Sofaer International MBA | Tel Aviv University Alumnus
FROM INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST TO ISRAELI CONSULTANT: MEET AVIVA GAT">FROM INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST TO ISRAELI CONSULTANT: MEET AVIVA GAT
My parents had been pushing me to go to business school since I finished my undergrad in journalism. I come from a family that collects degrees the way other people collect postcards or rocks, and my parents couldn’t quite understand why I had thought that a bachelor’s degree would be enough. I don’t think however that they ever thought I would end up eventually getting that second degree half way around the world.
When I finished my undergrad, I was ready to be a journalist like the ones in the movies, investigating corrupt politicians, breaking shocking news stories and using my skills to shed light on things that were important to me. I quickly found out that jobs like that don’t really exist, at least not for a salary that would allow me to follow my other dream of living in New York City.
I did, however, find a great job as a journalist covering corporate bankruptcy for a magazine on Wall Street. A little less glamorous, but I did get to write about Blockbuster, Kodak, Hostess and even the city of Detroit. (Yes, cities can file for bankruptcy, Google it.)
It sounds dull, but I found bankruptcy more interesting than I thought I would. Writing about it meant reading a lot of financial statements, combing through numbers and writing about corporate strategies and why they failed. I spend half my day talking to lawyers and business men and every day someone asked me: Did you go to business school? Do you have a law degree?
Meanwhile, I was getting tired of living in New York and decided to move to Israel. While I did pursue journalism here and worked at a high-tech reporter, I thought moving to a new country might be a good time to change career paths and start something new.
I chose to study at Tel Aviv University because of the great offering of classes, and the career center, which I knew I would use to help me figure out what I wanted to do while I pivoted from journalism.
The Sofaer International MBA program was interesting and opened my eyes to different things that I hadn’t thought about. It also gave me a new lens to view my experience covering financial bankruptcy, now that I understood a little more about what went into running a business.
The best part of the program was that it helped me find a new career that allowed me to use my skills that I acquired as a journalist and let me practice new abilities that I learned in my MBA.
I started getting interested in consulting during the program and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what consulting means: what do consultants do on a day to day basis? Do they just sit around and think about business things? Do they spend all their time meeting with CEOs and showing fancy presentations?
It turns out they spend a lot of time interviewing people, analyzing data and organizing all of that to tell a story that will help a client achieve some business goal. It seemed more similar to journalism that I had ever thought: a career where my job was changing every day, where I could constantly learn new things and even help people achieve something that they didn’t know how to achieve themselves.
After graduating from the Sofaer International MBA program, I started working as a consultant at Tefen, an Israeli Management Consulting Firm, where I can honestly say I have yet to have a dull day. My job has taken me to a factory in Dimona to a Kibbutz next to the Kinneret and many other places in between. Not only that, but I have been exposed to so many things that I never knew about before, and I am constantly learning about new industries and ideas.
Without the MBA program, I don’t know if I would have discovered this job opportunity, or had the confidence to change my career path.
Written by Aviva Gat, Tel Aviv University Sofaer International MBA Alumna
IDC - One Year MBA in Englishhttp://www.masaisrael.org/sites/default/files/IDC%20One%20Year%20English.jpg
IDC is offering a one year MBA program focusing on management of fast-growth, innovative companies. The program combines MBA content customized for management of high-growth companies, with study in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. The program comprises relevant practical experience, including the options of practicing in start-up firms, internships in different companies, or participation in practical projects with the guidance of lecturers and managers from the industry. Courses will be taught by the best lecturers IDC offers and by leading academics and practitioners in their fields.
The program’s goal is to provide students with managerial tools that will enable integration into the business world in growing companies, development of new opportunities and quick promotion of their professional careers. This MBA is suitable for students who possess a strong academic background and are interested in investing in a particularly intensive degree for a short period of time.
For more information, contact:
Israel & Abroad
RRIS Admissions & Recruitment
+972 9 952 7658
UK and Francophone Europe
Director of Recruiting and Marketing
- Main Subject: Graduate Academic Studies
- Business, Entrepreneurship
- 10, 12 Months
- Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya - The Recanati International School
- Program appears on grant application as:
- IDC - One Year MBA in English
- Not Included
- Not Included
- Program Contact Information:
- Eyal Dagan
- Program Dates:
- November 10,2017 - November 08,2018, HERZELIYYA, $25100 Apply to this program
Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay">Masa Israel alumnae giving back to the world. #InternationalWomensDay
In honor of International Women’s Day, we decided to highlight our fellow Masa Israel alumnae and their amazing accomplishments. Here at Masa we know our participants have the potential to not only make a difference in their own lives, but in the lives of others. Giving back is the focus this month and it’s the perfect time to mention a few alumnae who have done just that.
1. Kayci Merritté, Yahel Social Change Program 2014-2015 Alumna
“After my Masa Israel experience, I returned to my hometown of St. Louis to serve as an AmeriCorps member assisting in refugee resettlement. Once-a-week I pick up new arrivals from all of the world – Congo, Iraq, Cuba, the list goes on – from the airport and bring them to their new homes. Throughout the rest of my week, I help these new residents of my city access the medical care that they need. I’m not sure I would have applied for this position if it were not for my experiences in Ramat Eliyahu.”
2. Jamie Gold, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows 2012-2013 Alumna
“As a result of her Masa Israel Teaching Fellows experience, Jamie chose to pursue a career in Jewish education. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Jamie moved into the Moishe House in West L.A. and enrolled in the DeLeT program at Hebrew Union College. “Masa Israel Teaching Fellows is the only reason I was picked for the HUC program,” Jamie says. She believes it gave her the necessary Israel and teaching experiences to be a top-notch Jewish educator.”
3. Rachel Pope, MSIH 2011 alumna
“Rachel is completing a two year fellowship in Malawi. She is learning how to repair obstetric fistulas and working with the next generation of Malawian residents at the newly created Malawian OB/GYN residency program. Rachel is currently living in Lilongwe, Malawi and working for the government hospital, Kamuzu Central.”
4. Ashleigh Talberth, Pardes Insitute of Jewish Studies 2014-2015 Alumna
“A serial green-tech entrepreneur, Ashleigh has pioneered initiatives for a broad range of leading companies, startups, and institutions for over 12 years. She currently consults for emerging companies primarily in California and Israel, the world's leading green-tech and startup hot spots.” ("Israelcagreentech." Israelcagreentech. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.)
By Yehudit Werchow, Director of Education
Jan Lievens' "The Feast of Esther" (Via Wiki Media Commons)
"וַיֹּאמֶר מָרְדֳּכַי לְהָשִׁיב אֶל אֶסְתֵּר אַל תְּדַמִּי בְנַפְשֵׁךְ לְהִמָּלֵט בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ מִכָּל הַיְּהוּדִים. כִּי אִם הַחֲרֵשׁ תַּחֲרִישִׁי בָּעֵת הַזֹּאת רֶוַח וְהַצָּלָה יַעֲמוֹד לַיְּהוּדִים מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר וְאַתְּ וּבֵית אָבִיךְ תֹּאבֵדוּ וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם לְעֵת כָּזֹא הִגַּעַתְּ לַמַּלְכוּת." (מגלית אסתר פרק ד)
“And Mordechai told the palace messenger: Tell Esther – don’t think about your own wellbeing at a time when the lives of all Jews are in the balance. Because if you are silent now, salvation will surely come to the Jews from another source anyway, and your legacy, and your father’s, will be lost to history. Who knows if this is the entire reason you were made Queen?” (the Scroll of Esther, Chapter 4)
In this excerpt from the Book of Esther, Mordechai, Jewish leader and a relative of the newly-chosen young queen, asks Esther to do something bold: Advocate for her hated People, even as she has kept her nationality to herself until this point.
Edwin Longsden Long's "Esther Haram" (Via Wiki Media Commons)
How many times have we found ourselves struggling, avoiding, or resisting action? At times it could be because we are not sure if we understand the motivation behind the action or its purpose, sometimes it’s because we feel that the call for action is external or that the timing is not ideal.
There are times when our resistance emerges from our fears of change, disapproval, insecurities (are we talented enough, strong enough, safe, resourceful) or from our fear of being successful, from letting our talent be present and seen.
Esther, just like many of us, is, before approaching the King on behalf of her People, which she had kept secret, facing her own moment of inner struggle and transformation. In her case, the call for action is coming from Mordechai. It seems that at first, she struggles with it. Perhaps it’s because of the scope of the act, the circumstances, which are understandably intimidating and obviously threatening.
Aert de Gelder's "Esther and Mordechai writing the second letter of Purim" (Via Wiki Media Commons)
Yet, she embraces the call and acts on it with courage and beauty, giving of herself, using her emotional intelligence for the greater good.
Calls for action don’t necessarily need to come from within, and this doesn’t mean that these are any less legitimate. It feels like Esther connected with her inner truth and motivations to act and these powerful sources empowered and liberated her from the paralyzing fears driving her to act so courageously and resourcefully, to come to a place of giving.
Purim and the Megilla are invitations to reunite our personal and collective deepest values, motivations and strengths. Invitations to give back to our family and friends, to Israel, our own communities and the Jewish people. Let’s embrace these invitations and grow with them.
This Purim, join the Masa Israel community and show the world where you’re living and giving:
Download the sign here, write your city on the map and share your picture using #MasaGives.
Welcome to the Masa Israel family, Meara Razon Ashtivker
Meara joins us from the hi-tech sector, where she served as C.O.O. at Boomset, an innovative event-tech company, managing sales and marketing and spearheading global partnerships. Prior to joining Boomset, Meara held the position of V.P. of community outreach for Jspace.com where she created and executed a marketing plan, as well as planned and produced mass-attended events.
True to our mission, Meara has lived it like a local, having spent significant time living, working and studying in Israel. After receiving her B.A. from the University of Hartford, she was selected to participate in the Otzma program. In the years following, she moved to Miami to work with Young Judaea and returned to Israel to work for the Jewish Agency for Israel. Meara received an M.A. in non-profit management from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem while working for Beit Hatfutsot.
Meara served as the board chair for Dor Chadash and sat on the board of directors of the American Zionist Movement and the Moatza in New York.
In her new position as Masa Israel’s North American COO, where she will be managing the national recruitment and marketing efforts in the US.
She plans on expanding her vast global and local partner network, industry insight and international know-how to continue to bring an increasing number of young Jews to Israel in order to impact the futures of both.
We wish her, and us, much success! Welcome to the Masa Israel family, Meara.
In honor of Presidents' Day, we're challenging you to see how much you know about U.S. and Israeli Presidents:
Valentine's Day may not be a Jewish holiday, but we can't stop ourselves from kvelling over all of these beautiful alumni couples who met in Israel:
Supposedly John Travolta
Moshe turning his staff into a snake
Famous Rabbi 1
Famous Rabbi 2
Women Carrying Fruit
Working the land
So when you are in Jerusalem on Shabbat, take a stroll through the Machane Yehuda Market and see all different pieces of art. If you’re visiting it in the winter, make sure to bundle up!
Blog post and photos by Garrett Davis who is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Beer Sheva and Masa Influencer. Follow Garrett's Journey on his blog: https://g13israel.wordpress.com/