Asian Correspondent » Tel Aviv University Asian Correspondent Thu, 28 May 2015 01:43:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Studying at Tel Aviv University as an Exchange Student Sun, 25 Sep 2011 11:59:25 +0000 In addition to a one-year full-time program, Tel Aviv University’s Business School offers the opportunity for international MBA students to study at the University as an exchange student for a 10 days, a quarter, or a semester.

My fellow MBA participants at Nanyang Business School joked a lot that Israel changed me totally.  They love the 1500+ pictures I was posting on Facebook during a stay of 9 weeks.  I was in motion almost everyday, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bethlehem, or somewhere else, while I was quiet in Singapore.

Israeli people were kind to me. My landlord prepared almost everything for my stay so I enjoyed the pleasure as a light traveler. The cake she made by herself is the most delicious one I have ever tasted in my life.  My neighbor’s boyfriend gave me a bike on the third day, perfect for a stranger in Tel Aviv. Whenever I had a problem, I would simply ask any person I encountered and it was ok then. Maybe it is because of my smile all the time, LOL.

Tel Aviv is amazingly beautiful and fashionable, always with bright sunshine. The second Sunday there I biked from 10am to 6pm along the beach: the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea is simply breathtaking. After that I was frequenting the beach and park almost every day, talking to people and taking pictures with many of them. (My friends joked to me that I took so many pictures with beautiful girls because my wife could not access Facebook in China. But the truth is Israeli ladies are simply gorgeous.)

In contrast to the fashionable Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is very much religious and historic. 3 days at the Old City seemed to be too short. The more I explored, the more I wanted to find out since I am a Christian. Spiritually I felt purified after visiting the Via Dolorosa, the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, and the Mount of Olives.   After that, I visited the Church of Nativity at Bethlehem under the jurisdiction of Palestine.

Israel is so different to me in terms of “national energy”. The Nation of Start Ups is full of “national energy”: so many young entrepreneurs are taking on ambitious projects and working relentlessly. I had the pleasure and privilege to meet 10 of them, in Israel Hi-tech Industry Association Conference held at Jerusalem, or at events organized by Tel Aviv University (TAU), or at the entrepreneur’s apartment.  I also participated in a class visit to a top incubator park for entrepreneurs in the medical device industry. The culture and mentality of Israel is simply different from that in China or Singapore.

Exchange at Israel is the best part of my MBA experience, as agreed by Peipei Sam, MBA exchange student to Tel Aviv University one year before me. Beside the exciting social, cultural, and religious part, I encountered one of the most inspiring instructors in my whole MBA study, Prof Meir Karlinsky for pricing policy. In a mere 5 sessions (I missed the 1st session), he illustrated how to price to capture the value from microeconomic perspective. His linking value-based innovation, strategy, sales, and marketing to activity-based costing and operations was eye opening for me, prompting me to integrate what I have learned in each course.

Specially, I want to thank Rafeal Mazuz (Rafi) for this exciting experience. Rafi was the exchange student from Tel Aviv University to Nanyang Business School. We were so impressed by his wit and I had the pleasure to be on the same team for International Business Law class. Quickly we became best friends and talked about entrepreneurship and Israel. Then I got keen in exchange to TAU, since I aspired to do my second start-up after graduation.  Rafi helped me all along the way, from promoting me to TAU to introducing a dozen friends, making me a “celebrity” there even before my arrival! Thanks to all the friends there, Chay and Irit, Sharon, Sivan, Sarah, Prof Shlomo Maital, Olga, Anna Lim, Vered, and all of you!

Israel, I am coming to visit you again soon!

Reynold Dai
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Why Israel should top the list for Asian students Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:01:11 +0000 Six reasons why Israel should top the list of study locations for Asian students

Where can you get a master’s degree at a top university for less money and where the sun shines for most of the year? Clue: it’s not in North America, Europe or Australia.

Israel, the tiny nation in the eastern Mediterranean – home to voicemail, instant messaging technology and the Pentium M microprocessor – is rapidly becoming the hottest new alternative study destination for Asian students seeking a first class education, fantastic networking opportunities, rich cultural experiences, and access to one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative business hubs.

Here are six reasons why Israel should top your list of study options.

1. Starting out in the Start Up Nation
While Israel has traditionally been the haunt of archaeology, political science and religious studies students, Israel’s growing reputation as a world center for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship make the country an ideal place for science, technology and business students to study the unique factors that contribute to this Start Up Nation.

For those of you with an entrepreneurial spirit, take note. Regularly referred to as the Silicon Valley of the eastern Mediterranean, Israel has more companies on the tech-oriented NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the U.S. – more than all of Europe, India, and China combined, say Start Up Nation co-authors, Saul Singer and Dan Senor – and is turning out some of the world’s most exciting ideas and innovative technologies today.

2. Caffeinating your way to success
People in Israel love to offer their advice and proffer their opinions. And the lack of hierarchy in this country of just 7 million people makes Israel one of the easiest places to network with and gain access to leading figures across all sectors of society.

Israel can be defined as a small pond with lots of big fish. At some point all the world’s leaders in business, government and academia make a pilgrimage. English is widely spoken in Israel, and for overseas students who are looking to gain a strong foothold in another culture and the high-level contacts to match, this is a great place to start.

In a country where people are always willing to meet strangers for a cappuccino – or what the locals call hafuch – most people you want to reach are no more than 2 degrees of separation away, and help is always at hand.

3. Top universities and leading research
Israeli universities regularly rank among the world’s top academic institutions, including in the Shanghai Jiaotong University Ranking, and their research is cutting edge. Israel leads the world in medical device patents, produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation in the world, and is a major global player in the development of cleantech, biotech and agritech technologies.

4. Value for money, increasing options
Factor in that the tuition fees at Israeli universities are a fraction of those of their North American, European and Australian counterparts, and this makes Israel a more cost-effective study option.

The choice of English-language programs for international students in Israel is also expanding – ranging from just a few weeks to international master’s programs. While Middle Eastern studies, political science, archaeology and Jewish studies remain core subject offerings at most Israeli universities, students now also have a much wider array of options available to them, including MBA programs, environmental science, agricultural science, conflict resolution, public health, security and diplomacy, migration studies and engineering.

5. Unique leadership opportunities for Asian students
Relations between Israel and Asia are still developing and relatively early stage compared to countries in the West. However, this also means that there are plenty of opportunities to carve out a niche in your field and develop strong bonds.

As Israel-Asia ties continue to grow, Jerusalem-based non-profit organization, the Israel-Asia Center, has introduced a new program for the top Asian students studying in the country. One student from Tel Aviv University’s Sofaer International MBA was selected to participate this year. The Israel-Asia Leaders Fellowship aims at building the next generation of leaders in Israel-Asia relations, providing a select group of Asian students studying at universities in Israel with the high-level access, contacts, support network and skill-set necessary to build long-term, strategic partnerships with Israel through their future careers.

Fellowship activities include seminars at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Israel Export Institute, workshops in leadership skills, creative and innovative thinking and strategy for start-ups led by the country’s top businesspeople, and field trips that provide insights into Israeli history, culture, innovation and technology.

Fellows also receive professional mentors in their field of interest, host-families, assistance in developing projects or ventures in their field that promote Israel-Asia relations, and ongoing professional and networking support and follow-up once they return to Asia.

6. And don’t forget….
Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Israel is also packed full of ancient relics, holy sites and natural wonders.

But if all these incentives aren’t enough to entice you…well, there’s always the sun, sand and famous Israeli food!

Rebecca Zeffert
Founder & Executive Director, Israel-Asia Center

Rebecca Zeffert is Founder and Executive Director of the Israel-Asia Center, an organisation that is dedicated to promoting understanding and furthering cooperation between Israel and Asia.  This fall, the IAC is launching the Israel -Asian Leaders Fellowship that provides Asian students studying in Israel high-level access, contacts, skill-set and support network necessary to build long-term, strategic partnerships with Israel through their professional careers on return to their home countries. One Sofaer student was accepted to participate in IAC’s fellowship for the 2011/12 academic year (learn more).

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Tel Aviv International MBA – Alumni Blog, Terry Wang Tue, 20 Sep 2011 12:54:42 +0000 Alumni Blog

Terry Wang, Class of 2011
Home country: Taiwan
Before Sofaer: Master of Science from National Chung Hsin University; IT Specialist, IBM
After Sofaer: Marketing Manager, Orbotech

For the past several years, my family has lived in various countries throughout the Middle East. Over these years I developed a desire to understand foreign business environments and be exposed to entrepreneurship.

Terry (fourth from left) with fellow classmates in China during Sofaer’s Doing Business in China course. From left to right: Gargi (India), Lara (Palestine), Masha (Russia), Terry (Taiwan), Jeremie (France)

Israel’s reputation as the wonderland of high tech industry and innovation first caught my attention. The prestige of Tel Aviv University’s business school, with its impressive alumni network, further drew me in. The business school’s Sofaer international MBA program – taught entirely in English – sealed the deal. I decided to get my MBA in Israel.

Looking back, I can remember many surprises. During orientation week I was thrilled to meet my colleagues from 18 different countries around the world. We chatted in English and I needed to understand all of their different accents! Starting this week and continuing through the year, we had to work in groups. We were forced to learn from each other. Quickly we understood the value in our cultural diversity. In many ways we represented a miniature Israel: a country whose level of innovation has largely been correlated to its culture of immigration. I am now convinced that the learning in a MBA program does not only come from your lectures, but also from your colleagues.

Another great surprise to me was the diversity of professors that taught in the program. For example, Prof. Ronel Elul from the Wharton Business School taught us finance. He is also an economist in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and shared with us his insights and latest research. Another example was Prof. Danny Warshay, a serial entrepreneur and Harvard Business School graduate who taught Entrepreneurship and New Ventures. This course inspired us how to start a new businesses. Such world-class teachers really pushed us to think and venture into territory that we were not familiar with. Thanks to the intimate class size of the program, we really had the opportunity to engage with our professors on a small-group and one-to-one level.

Terry meeting Israel Makov during Sofaer’s “What’s Next for the Multinational Corporation” event. Israel Makov is the Chairman of Given Imaging, Chairman of Netafim and former President and CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Of course finding a better job or a new direction in my career was my main objective when going for an MBA. Through the whole of the program we were engaged in a special course called Professional Development. This course helped us review our personal and professional strengths while leading us to better understand different business environments and the job search process. Via this course, we were exposed to many international companies, such as, 888 Holding Group, Strauss Group and BetterPlace. These visits allowed us to have direct interactions with CEOs and high level executives to see how they think and how they lead their companies. I was able to utilize this course to build my professional network and to build a new career in Israel.

I am proud to say that I have just signed on with Orbotech – a company that designs, develops, manufactures, markets and services automated optical inspection (AOI) systems – as a Marketing Manager. I am grateful to the Sofaer International MBA for helping me find such an opportunity and setting me off on this new professional course!

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