Five Northeastern University students recently visited Israel as part of the University’s Global Experience Office pilot program, International New Venture: Israel, The Start Up Nation.
The students, four from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business: Anshi Barmecha, DMSB’20, Catherine Hogan, DMSB’21, Peter Teodorescu, DMSB’19, and Nicholas Reiff, DMSB’18, and one from the College of Engineering, Sandesh Mendis, E’19, experienced Israel for a little over two weeks, visiting the country from May 18 – June 4, 2017. While studying two classes, International Entrepreneurship and International New Venture Abroad, the students traveled around Israel, visiting local venture accelerators, large corporations, and historical sites.
“If you want to learn about innovation the best places to learn are constrained to two areas, Silicon Valley and Israel. It’s an amazing innovation hub,” said Amir Grinstein, D’Amore-McKim School of Business associate professor of marketing and trip leader.
The International New Venture program was held in part by a partnership with Ben Gurion University of the Negev, where Northeastern students met native students and worked together to help local start-ups to address key business issues in order to succeed in their industry. During their time in Israel, students worked remotely with local accelerators to understand their struggles and strengths, ultimately putting together presentations with suggestions on how the start-up could change and succeed.
“The presentation my team worked on was based on our startup’s need to develop a way to bring their idea to the attention of a younger, more tech-savvy generation. They hoped younger people would be able to use their product and find new ways to implement it. We ultimately came up with the idea of a hackathon, which they thought suited their needs perfectly,” said Teodorescu.
Reiff believes his experience with the start-ups, as well as his fellow students’, enhanced their business skills in more ways than one.
“I cannot emphasize how much I noticed my own and the other D’Amore-Mckim student’s confidence rise in these business situations. After our initial briefing, it was a sink or swim situation for all of our groups. We had real problems in front of us, and managers (unlike professors) that did not have the answers. We had to devise our own processes and methods to create a real plan,” he said. “I was so impressed at how all our groups were able to believe in themselves enough to take charge of their situation and come up with solutions. The gravity of our tasks and the confidence that they demanded allowed us to develop other skills (communication, planning, etc.), but it was the boosts in confidence we had, out of necessity, that was the rock to enhance all other areas.”
During the trip, students also had the opportunity to visit well known corporations such as HP and Intel, as well as rising start-ups such as Airobotics.
Outside of business decisions and classroom learning, the students experienced the history of Israel, traveling to different parts of the country where old and new have blended to create the present day.
Students traveled to the Bedouin Villages of Negev, spending a night in the traditional setting with the people of the village to understand how they live. The group also visited nearby Masada, a historic and archaeological site in Israel overlooking The Dead Sea. During their trip to Masada, the group was able to see how innovation was applied during ancient times, when engineering and building skills combined to create a water systems located in the middle of a desert more than 2,000 years ago.
By combining historic and cultural experiences with big business and young start-up visits, students were able to experience Israel as a start-up nation.
“Although Israel is one of the most “up-and-coming” countries in the world, the country itself is still very much in touch with its history… The students I had the pleasure of working with never gave up when an obstacle obstructed their path, and if they could not find a way over it, they would find a way around. Their entrepreneurial spirit and energetic well-being creates a hub for creativity that no other country in the world can replicate,” said Hogan.
The Summer 1 Israel venture will be held May 7, 2018 through June 3, 2018. Learn more about this specific venture or apply for the upcoming 2018 trip now!