- Jan 14, 2015
Update: Following successful fundraising, some of Ivey’s HBA students will be heading to Israel in February.
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Headlines out of Israel are rarely focused on the country’s technological advancement, culture of innovation or enviable grasp on research and development. However, a group of Ivey students is setting out to change the conversation about one of the Middle East’s lesser-known technological hotbeds by travelling there this year.
Launched in 2007, the unique business trip gives second-year HBA students the opportunity to go to Israel to meet a number of the country’s top executives, tech innovators, and government leaders during their second semester.
The challenge, however, begins long before the flights are booked, the packing begins and the plane departs: the course is contingent on fundraising.
Why Israel? Why now?
“Israel is known as a ‘start-up nation’ for a reason,” said Assistant Professor Amos Nadler, who is also the Trip Director. “Regardless of what the country is going through, Israel’s economy continues to grow at an astounding rate.”
Having lived in Israel, Nadler is passionate about providing his students with a chance to step outside their comfort zone and discover a considerably different economic landscape.
“Students have an opportunity to meet with high-level innovators and learn about new technologies that are about to hit the market,” he added, pointing out a number of destinations on the trip’s itinerary in industries such as agriculture, medicine, defence, telecommunications and green technology.
“You would never have access to these people outside of this trip,” he said.
Over the next few months, Nadler and student volunteers will be fundraising to help subsidize the impressive seven-day itinerary so that the trip is affordable for students.
HBA student, Josh Greenbaum, is among a small group of students who have taken a lead in the organization and fundraising. The chance to travel and earn a credit on its own is appealing, but the trip is much more than that. His motivation stems from the enormous opportunity to broaden his international business exposure and make connections that will benefit his career.
“Israel is not commonly known as a destination for business development and growth, yet it is a hotspot for new emerging companies,” Greenbaum said. He sees the trip as an opportunity to “open up students’ minds to the booming business aspect of Israel.”
While the trip itself is rich with educational material, for student volunteers like Greenbaum the fundraising aspect adds a whole other element to the overall learning experience. Speaking with potential donors and pitching their case for Israel sounds like a daunting task, but with a life-changing trip on the line, it’s not one these students intend to shy away from.