Ambitious? Globally focused? Entrepreneurial? Then the Sofaer Global MBA at the Coller School of Management at the University of Tel Aviv should be on your radar. Its Global MBA in Venture, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship takes energetic self-starters from all over the world and plonks them right in the maelstrom of Tel Aviv’s white-hot start-up scene.
The school says that it aims to give participants “the mindset, tools, and insights to collaborate across disciplines, industries, and cultures, to make strategic decisions in a volatile and changing environment, and to take their place at the forefront of the new global venture ecosystem.” What’s not to love?
And it’s not all talk. Sofaer students tap into a rich seam of entrepreneurial success. Over the past decade, 640 students from the university as a whole have started 530 companies and raised almost $8 billion. Many of these students have backgrounds in disciplines such as neuroscience, medicine, and computer science, and want the skills to commercialize their work.
Some already have IP, others are running businesses, while others have already had one successful exit, and are looking to develop their next business. The average age is 28, but candidates can range from their early 20s to their late-30s. In the most recent cohort of 50 students, 36 percent were from North America, 26 percent from Europe, and 19 percent from the Middle East.
This is a practical MBA. “New venture” and “accelerator” classes develop teams around a project and ensure it is supported with sales, finance, engineering, and other relevant skills, including know-how from other parts of the university — which is especially strong in engineering and all kinds of science.
Ventures currently being developed by students include a telemedicine business, a peer-to-peer solar technology concept, two projects based on neuroscientific research, and others around predictive analytics, virtual reality, and 3D printing.
Coller’s MBA also has the usual core courses, study trips, leadership and internship programs at business schools in the UK, US and Hong Kong, among others. A Start-up Immersion Program provides internships in technology, consulting, and venture capital companies in Israel and beyond.
It might not have the shiny buildings of some business schools, but Coller is certainly worth a look for anyone genuinely interested in something vibrant and out-of-the-ordinary.
Leslie Broudo-Mitts, Director of MBA Program
Over 40 percent of our candidates have previously started their own businesses, and what makes them different is that they don’t just want to be founders, they also want to be stewards and leaders. Often, they are running a business at the same time as studying, so they are moving back and forth between the classroom and the practical reality. A lot of our students have PhDs or are medical doctors, and they are attracted by studying in Tel Aviv because we are in a start-up nation. This an MBA for true intellectual and civic leaders who want to get their hands dirty.
Julie Benhammo, MBA 2019
I grew up in France in a North African immigrant family. I was always working in high-school and was good at languages –I spoke French, English, and Mandarin by 11. I did my BA in Beijing and worked in India, Hong Kong, and Singapore, then in fashion and tech in the US. I wanted to invest in myself for the long-term and an MBA was a way to do that. This program is more like an incubator or accelerator for people who already have a business idea. It’s not like an American MBA where you get everything on a platter; it’s for smart, practical, resilient people who are not afraid to hustle.