Israeli MBA students compete in Concordia meet
local company whose identity is kept secret until the last minute.
The BGU team was delighted that the company turned out to be Wework, a New York-based company started by an Israeli, Adam Neumann, in 2010. It now provides shared workspaces and services to entrepreneurs in countries around the globe.
Last year, Wework opened in Montreal, and its representatives wanted ideas from the competitors on how to grow the business here.
Memorial University of Newfoundland was the first-place winner of the 2017 competition.
All of the Israeli participants are completing the one-year Mandel Social Leadership MBA Program in BGU’S Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management.
This program is unique in Israel, providing training in the management of non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurship. Students are expected to volunteer in the community while they study.
BGU’S participation has been made possible from the beginning with support from the Canadian Associates of Bengurion University (CABGU).
Diamant, who also holds an MA in linguistics, is the financial director of a program that fosters coexistence among the youth of Israel’s diverse communities through sport. Learning business techniques, he believes, will help him be more effective in bringing about social change.
Anat Cohen, who has a BA in social work from BGU and is working with at-risk Ethiopian youngsters, said she was proud to represent Israel. “We got a lot of questions about us and Israel, and I was glad to talk about it,” she said.
Oded Harel, who has a BA in political science and was until recently employed by the student union, admitted he wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he was chosen to come to Montreal and embark on two months of preparation.
He has no regrets. “It’s incredible what we learned and the people we met. Nowhere else could we find that.”
Roey Yamin, who described the experience as “mind-blowing,” left a marketing job in 2012 to work in the non-profit sector. The self-described “snob from Tel Aviv” is now a leader of a theatre for the hearing and visually impaired.
“We’re dreamers. We all want to make a better world, and we’re not ashamed to say it,” said Keren Lavi, who works for Mifalot, a non-profit organization that promotes peace through soccer.
“The [Mandel program] has given us the business tools to be a lot more professional in our fields,” she said.
The team was coached by Prof. Pierre Kletz, the director and founder in 2010 of the Mandel program. The French native, who holds a doctorate from HEC Paris, said BGU intends to return next year and do even better.
Kletz was assisted by Shachar Liran-hanan who was a member of the 2016 BGU team. She is now CEO of Mytruth, a grassroots non-profit organization comprising reserve soldiers who seek to raise awareness of the high moral standards of the Israel Defence Forces.
“I learned so much last year from the competition,” Liran-hanan said. “It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
CABGU national executive director Mark Mendelson hopes the Montreal community will continue to support BGU’S participation.
“These are the next leaders of Israel. They come to a foreign city, in the winter, not knowing what to expect, and they give it their all.”
Ben-gurion University MBA students and their coaches line up beside the flags representing the countries in the case competition.