Upon first telling someone that I’m going to Israel over winter break, the likely reaction is either: “But you’re not Jewish?” or “Wait, are you going on Birthright?” No, I’m not Jewish, which also means that no, I’m not going on Birthright. The actual reason for this trip is to participate in an Olin Business School program called Venture Consulting in Israel. It’s a spring semester class that I’ll be enrolled in, and the program begins with a week-long visit to Israel. Besides a tour of Jerusalem and Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), we’ll spend the majority of our time in Tel Aviv, working on a consulting project for an Israeli startup. Upon returning to WashU in January, our team will continue developing our ideas and solutions remotely.
There are eight students participating in the program this year, including me, and we’ll be split into two teams of four people. Each team will be matched with a client once we arrive. The week’s schedule will be largely self-determined by each team, with the objective being to maximize on the limited in-person time we have with the client. I’ve worked on a consulting project before with the Small Business Initiative through the Center for Experiential Learning at WashU. My client was London’s Wing House, a family-owned restaurant based in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m expecting there to be three main differences between that project and this one: there may be cultural differences between an American team consulting for an Israeli client, this client’s industry will probably be more tech-focused, and our team will be composed of both undergraduate and MBA students.
In addition to being part of the technology and startup scene in Tel Aviv, I’m also looking forward to experiencing the culture and history. I’m excited about this trip because I’ve never been to Israel before, or anywhere in the Middle East. From attending a university such as WashU, where many of my friends and peers have connections to Israel, I’ve become increasingly curious about it and knew that this program would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the country.
I’ll be leaving the U.S. on December 31st and returning on January 13th, so look out for an update in 2018!