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!