The Israel Summer Business Academy (ISBA), launched in 2014, is a collaboration between Olin and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. The academy is designed for students of all faiths, beliefs, and academic backgrounds who want to learn about Israeli business firsthand – and immerse themselves in the country’s entrepreneurial environment. Olin Business School sophomore Eli Perlmutter describes his ISBA experience, which he called “the best summer of my life”:
Participating in ISBA was the one of best decisions I have made in regards to my personal, academic, and professional growth. Looking back on it, I believe I took away four major lessons from my time there: how to live on my own, a new knowledge of Israel, knowledge on venture creation, and a new connection to Israel, my religion, and my school.
It was a completely new style of living to me. We were not in a dorm surrounded by other college students, or under an RA’s supervision. We were placed across the city in apartment buildings with no one constantly watching us. I have to admit that this was a little intimidating at first, but as the summer went on, I realized how amazing of an experience I was having by living this way. Living on our own also allowed us to explore Tel Aviv as much as we wanted, which was every hour of the day that we weren’t asleep. We tried our best to learn the ins and outs of every corner in our neighborhood, finding the best coffee joints, hummus, falafel, shawarma, and Chinese food in a 2-mile radius. Being in Israel also helped me find a new connection to my people and religion. I believe this is something that is only possible when spending time there.
An integral part of the Israel Summer Business Academy experience is learning about the country. Through the Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Israel course, living on my own, and partaking in group trips around Israel, I accomplished this. I believe that each experience I had enhanced and built upon every other experience and culminated in a vast knowledge of the country, as well as a new relationship between myself and Israel.
The second course that I took in Israel was about venture creation. This course was taught by Liraz Sharabani, one of the best professors that I have ever had. This course did not give me a million-dollar idea, but more importantly, taught me the process of creating a successful venture. It was a unique class in that groups would present their findings and progress nearly every class. The skills we learned in the venture creation course will not only be applicable to endeavors in entrepreneurship, but every other aspect in business as well. I learned to think on my feet, match demand, find a customer base, and how to determine the most lucrative way to sell a product, among many other important skills.
My trip to Israel also made me realize how amazing of a community Olin creates for its students. I am so happy to have had this experience and can honestly say that it was the best summer of my life.
Guest blogger: Eli Perlmutter, BSBA ’19
The deadline for the Summer 2017 ISBA program is Feb. 15, 2017. Learn more.