Tag: Business in Israel

The Tel Aviv stock exchange was not what I expected. I imagined a large room, people yelling everywhere, the epicenter of Jewish chutzpah. Instead it was empty and quiet. No one seemed to work there. This was bizarre.

Guest Blogger: Ryan will be a senior at the University of Southern California and is studying Economics.

I later found out all the orders are now automated. Humans had been taken out of the loop in this regard by their own technology. On one hand, it’s great for both buyers and sellers.  They no longer need to pay as much of a fee to brokers given the new technology.  However, the eerie silence that filled a once lively room frightened me.

Computers, algorithms, the latest program, gadget, etc. are all making our lives better in one aspect, only the thought of people no longer being needed really made me think.

Accountants are finding themselves out of jobs due to programs like Turbo Tax.  Translators/ interpreters should enjoy their jobs while they can because Google Translate and others are soon going to make them expendable. Computers can recognize faces, drive cars, and now, we are trusting them to handle billions of dollars in investments.

Knowing the trend of hi tech, the train never stops. Innovation doesn’t go backwards, only forward. So I’m not sure if I am now looking forward to watching technology continue to advance or scared to death. The costs now seem existential yet the benefits are just too tempting. I just know that after the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange I felt like I was in a science fiction movie that captured my imagination, only the morale of the movie was be careful what you wish for.


Getting to Tel Aviv and Israel for the first time is a culture shock. You step off the plane and, instantly, you’re placed into an environment that is entirely foreign to almost everyone outside of Israel. This is the only country with Hebrew as the national language and Judaism as the national religion.

Guest blogger: Leah, a BSBA sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis

So, lets begin with the new language. Not only a new language that you very well might not understand, but also a new alphabet, which creates entirely new obstacles. We may not think too much about it, but the alphabet is very, very important. When in France, or Spain, or other European countries, there are plenty of cognates so that we can somewhat comprehend the signs we see on the streets or a menu of some sorts. Here that all changes.

Being Christian in a Jewish state isn’t so much of an obstacle here, but a reality check. Back in the States, we are surrounded by a Christian society that hangs lights during the Christmas months, some shops close down on Sundays for religious reasons, and many other nuances that seem to be just a part of life for us. But in Tel Aviv, there is a stark difference in the way that things are done. For religious reasons, there is no working allowed on Friday from sundown to Saturday around the same time.

From seeing all of these differences in societal occurrences, I’ve come to ask questions to further understand why some things are done the way they are here, and I’ve found myself becoming more curious about other ways of life than my own. This program isn’t only helping us learn about business in Israel, but also to learn about the culture and to appreciate it.

Bryan, Jared, Leah, Adam, and Marni at a start-up in Tel Aviv.

Bryan, Jared, Leah, Adam, and Marni at a start-up in Tel Aviv.

While there are so many cultural differences here, there are ways to adapt and adjust. For the most part, you can always find someone in the vicinity who speaks at least a little bit of English to help you out, and they are more than happy to do so. Israelis want everyone to understand their culture too, so there are never judgments passed. One specific asset that we have in this program is a peer mentor from the IDC campus. Having a personal connection with someone close to our age who can help us get around and see Tel Aviv the way that they see it as a local is an amazing experience that not many visitors enjoy.


The 2015 Israel Summer Business Academy begins June 4! In Tel Aviv, Israel, 35 undergraduate students are are coming together from six universities around the world for the next six weeks.

They’ll be studying venture creation, business, innovation, and entrepreneurship at IDC in Herzliya. In addition to time in the classroom, they’ll also embark on cultural and academic excursions to visit Jerusalem, Negev Desert, Golan Heights, and the Sea of Galilee.

For more information on ISBA and what to look forward to from this summer’s academy, visit the website and read last year’s blogs here. And be sure to follow the blog for updates on their adventures and follow them on Twitter: @ISBA_Olin and #OlinISBA.


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

March 15th, 2013

Friday was an extraordinary part of our trip to Israel. It marked a departure from the majority of the trip, which was spent meeting with business leaders and government executives. Instead, we spent the day exploring the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem. Seeing the historic sites was incredible as many of these locations are the places you learned about in Hebrew School that have been around for thousands of years and have historical significance. One thing that stood out to me was that we were able to see the tomb and statue of King David. I was surprised to learn that King David was the only person with a statue in Jerusalem.

This trip through the old city was also an example of how this class doubled as a history course. I learned about the war of Independence and how the Jordanians at one point controlled all of East Jerusalem. This was knowledge I did not previously have.

Learning more about the history of Jews and of this country had been important to me and it was great I finally had the opportunity to learn about it. This also allows me to better understand the current context of Israel’s disputes with its neighbors. The other thing it was interesting to observe was the level of security in the city.
That night was one of the most exciting parts of the trip for me. We spent Shabbat at the Western Wall. This experience was eye opening for a number of reasons. First, it was amazing to see so many Jews praying outdoors in this single place that wasn’t a temple. Second, I had anticipated the mood at the wall to be very formal, with people focused on their individual prayer. Instead, there was a great deal of chanting and dancing. I found joining in to be a lot of fun and felt that I established a bond with the people there, even those who I didn’t speak to. This communal part of Judaism is something that I find greatly appealing. The one thing that bothered me was that even in our modern times the men’s section of the wall is significantly larger than the women’s and considered more holy.

On the whole, Friday was an extraordinary day that taught me a lot about my religion and allowed me to visit historical sites from thousands of years ago.

Class of 2016
Olin Business School
hometown: New York