“Engineer who believes in empathy, sometimes overanalyzes things, and is addicted to learning new things.”
Hometown: Givatayim, Israel (small city near Tel Aviv)
Fun Fact About Yourself: A few years ago, I decided to try learning to paint. I was super hesitant, since the last time I held a brush in my hand was in 3rd grade. Surprisingly, I fell in love with the simplicity of watercolors and the ability to describe a detailed scene with only a few drops of water and pigments.
Undergraduate School and Major: Tel Aviv University – BSc in Physics, BSc in Electrical Engineering, MSc in Electrical Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Project Manager (Rank – Major) in the Israeli Intelligence Corps.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? First, I felt an instant connection to each Booth student or Booth alumnus I spoke with when I deliberated between programs. They all were super approachable and spoke passionately about their MBA experience at Booth.
Coming from an army background, the flexible curriculum at Booth felt like a welcome respite from the strict environment and an opportunity to steer my academic and professional path whichever way I choose. Being an engineer at heart I was also very taken with the emphasis the program has on data driven study methods.
Having managed projects in a setting of great uncertainty and many unknowns, I witnessed first-hand the impact that quick analytical thinking can have. It is an ability I value and wish to nourish, and I felt there was no better place to do so than at Booth.
What quality best describes your MBA community and why?Everyone is very driven, and each person seems to have a diverse and extraordinary background. Most importantly, the thing which distinguishes the Booth community in my mind is that while everyone is so impressive, they are still also grounded, down-to-earth, and approachable.
The “pay it forward” culture is felt very strongly. For instance, after being accepted, not only did current students contact me and offer help in anything I needed, they also sent me a long document detailing all the things I need to know as I make my move from a different country to the USA. This helped me feel more confident about the big life change and give me the sense of community I thought would take at least a year to cultivate.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? I was part of several major national security projects. however the biggest accomplishment I had, in my mind, is my impact on my subordinates and peers. Seeing soldiers and young engineers learn and grow under my supervision – and knowing that many of them now are creating value to Israel’s defence and influencing the next generation – is more important than any one project.
Specifically, my unit has very few female engineers and officers, a problem not uncommon in a military and technological setting. Knowing that my personal example and support contributed to several young female soldiers becoming commanders and rising in the ranks or seeking influential roles, is my greatest point of pride.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have recently finished my obligation to the army and have a total of seven years of professional experience. I have had the opportunity to lead great projects and to be influenced by amazing people, but I felt that now is the time for me to move into the private sector. Also, I want to explore health-tech opportunities and an MBA will help me learn to navigate this unique market, which I have no prior expertise.
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Booth? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am excited to take many of the interesting courses offered, taught by the renowned faculty at Booth. Also, I cannot wait to get to know more students from my class and participate in Booth’s unique leadership program (LEAD).
I was looking forward to the special social experience for which Booth is famous. Due to COVID19, a lot of the social gatherings and activities, for instance the Random Walk, are cancelled. So, my greatest concern is about the online learning experience and its impact on my ability to network with my fellow Boothies.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am quite a foodie, so I cannot wait to join the Epicurean Club and discover Chicago’s great food scene. Also, I am planning to start an art club with my partner, who is the real artist in our family (and a fellow Boothie).
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard, MIT-LGO, Columbia, Kellogg
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Tell me about an event that made you change your perspective on a certain issue and what was the reason for this change?” This was a great question. Usually, to solve complex problems, one needs to shift the way one looks at the issue, but “changing a perspective” goes deeper and involves a process of self-reflection and humility. Remembering a specific moment and its ‘lessons learned’ and expressing this effectively during an interview can be difficult.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I researched all the schools’ websites, read different rankings, student blogs, and relevant articles in Poets&Quants. I knew I will be applying with my partner, so an important factor for us was that there are two top-tier schools in the vicinity of each other (e.g. Harvard-MIT, Kellogg-Booth) to maximize our chances of studying for an MBA without being too far apart from each other.
After I narrowed down my list, I tried to get in touch with as many current students and alumni as possible to get a wide range of opinions. I mainly tried to understand what made them choose their school and whether the school lived up to their expectations. Specifically, I tried to find people who are either from a similar background to mine or who have transitioned into health-tech as I am interested in doing. I had two main questions – “What makes you happy you chose your MBA program?” and “What, given the chance, would you have done differently?”.
Another important aspect was fellowship options. At Booth, I was fortunate enough to be eligible for the Dennis W. and Jane B. Carlton Fellowship for Promising Israeli Management Leaders and to have a chance to become a part of a truly impressive community.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? When I started my career in the army, I did not see myself as a leader. I was sure that I want to be a hands-on engineer. After a few years, I was offered the position of a team leader. I was hesitant but decided to step out of my comfort zone as an engineer and accept the offer to become a manager/commander. My time as a team leader was not “a defining moment.” Instead, it was more of a journey filled with many moments, big and small, all of which have led to major personal growth and led to me finding my voice as a female leader in tech.
I enjoyed moulding my team’s future goals, including my team in my vision, and collaborating with each team member. In the process, I am able to tailor their skill set toward reaching these goals while making sure that they have ample opportunities for learning and growth along the way. I made a discovery. Although I initially did not see myself as a leader, my supervisors were right – I had “the spark.” By the end of my time as a team leader, it was well and truly ignited.
The upwards trajectory this position put me on in my unit and the value I felt I created as a manager are a big part of why I seek to study management. My failures and my successes at leading my team – and at my last position as a project manager – shaped my unique point of view, which I will be bringing with me to the classroom at Booth.
What is your favourite company and what could business students learn from them? I do not really have a favourite company. If I had to choose it would be Intuitive Surgical. Intuitive is most known for the Da Vinci surgical robot. As an engineer, I cannot help but admire such a complex product. As an MBA candidate, I believe this company is a great example of how to create impact that saves lives, disrupts a field which has many safety measures that may slow down innovation, and at the same time generate revenue.
DON’T MISS: MEET CHICAGO BOOTH’S MBA CLASS OF 2022