Sadly, the trip is over and I’m back at school now but with the trip still fresh in my mind, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing places we saw and the people we met. While the whole trip was an incredible experience and I could go on and on about the cool startups we went to, etc, my favorite aspect of the trip was experiencing the Israeli culture, something you really can’t understand or grasp without going to the country. This was embedded in the places we went and the people we met and really stood out for me. You could really sense the determination and creativity, something truly unique to Israel.
Besides the culture, I thoroughly enjoyed going to the startups and listening to their ideas. One of my favorites was Wibbitz, which I know many of my classmates really liked as well. Besides the startups but on the same note, I thought that the Zell program was an incredible idea, and while there may be many similar programs elsewhere, the success of this program is outstanding. The whole entrepreneurial spirit and industry we witnessed has really made me consider what I want to do going forward.
It was also the Zell program and the dinner the night before with many of the current Zell students that made me wonder what the best way to go about education is. With all of the students, they went to the army first, and after the army they went off on their own ventures and involved themselves with that they enjoyed, eventually figuring out what they wanted to do in life. So when it came time for school, they knew what they wanted to do and focused on that. It seemed to be very efficient and a stark contrast to the model we have in America, but not at all saying what we do is bad.
Apart from the business aspect of the trip, it was nice again to the see the sites in Jerusalem and the old city. While I have been to Israel once before to see all of the sights - and most of the places we saw on this trip did overlap with my previous trip - I took away a lot more this time and it was a good refresher of what I had forgotten. I thought it was a good mix of business and history, and it helped to remind us of the contrast between the rich history of the country and the thriving business sector, both of which are pushing and pulling at each other and working to define what Israel is.
Overall, the trip was an incredible experience and there were countless things I took away from it. It really piqued my interest in Israel and I can’t wait for the next time I can go there.
Marc – Class of 2016, Olin Business School – NY