To succeed in entrepreneurship and innovation, having a good idea is not enough. In fact, the idea itself has relatively little to do with the success of a startup. There is a wealth of knowledge and practical tools that can be taught in order to take an idea and implement it – and this is exactly what IDC Herzliya’s Global MBA Program’s track in Innovation and Entrepreneurship does.
Taught in English and open to applicants with at least three years of work experience, the GMBA provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to promote their ideas and turn them into reality.
“The Innovation and Entrepreneurship track is one-of-a-kind,” says its academic director, Dr. Oren Zuckerman, the track’s academic director and founder and co-director of IDC’s Media Innovation Lab (miLab). “We challenge the students to dare and push them forward. Students are exposed to things like 3D technology, hands-on prototyping, and accelerators; these are all unique to IDC.”
The most striking feature of the program is its emphasis on learning by doing. “Students experience the startup ecosystem very intensively,” says Michal Olmert-Naishtein, the track’s executive director. “They don’t just sit and listen to lectures, but experience for themselves the development of new products and the realization of their ideas through rapid prototyping.”
Students take on two kinds of practical projects: Venture creation courses, in which the students develop prototypes of new products, and a practicum in early stage startups, investment funds and startup acceleration programs.
Students also embark on study trips. They visit NYC and San Francisco, and meet with leading companies like Facebook, Google and Airbnb, and with young startups, investment firms, and influential business leaders. In addition to exposing the students to current trends and fresh ideas, the study trips also contribute to enriching their global network.
The program’s participants include students from various countries. Some of the students have tech or business backgrounds, while others come from the worlds of design, diplomacy and psychology. They come to the track either because they dream of developing their own initiatives or because they want to advance their organization by creating new products or services.
A number of the track’s alumni have already made successful exits. Ron Levy founded MyRoll, acquired by AVG Technologies. Alum David Kalmanson, the founder and CTO of mobile gaming company InfiApps, sold it for $39.2 million.
“I owe much of my success to the program; I learned how to work in a team, how to think creatively, and how others established their businesses. The guidance we received both from the faculty and from industry experts was amazing. We felt that they really cared about our success,” says Kalmanson.
Both Levy and Kalmanson, as well as other accomplished graduates, serve as mentors to current GMBA students.
A look at two graduates who made a successful career shift while studying at the GMBA
When she immigrated to Israel from Madrid, Rebeca Querub worked as a strategic analyst at Deloitte and did several internships in investment banks. It was during her studies that Rebeca founded, together with a classmate from the track – Orly Yeruham – the startup StoreX.me, which is a kind of an Airbnb platform for physical storage. “StoreX.me is a marketplace that disrupts the self-storage market,” said Querub. “We offer a cheaper and more convenient storage solution by connecting renters to locals who want to rent out their unused space and make a passive income.” After a number of years running the startup, Rebeca decided to continue on to her next adventure, taking on a position as the director of business development at OurCrowd, a leading Israeli crowdfunding platform for investing in global startups.
“The track in Innovation and Entrepreneurship helped me face the challenges in my career with more confidence and greater motivation,” Querub says. “I learned how to follow a methodology and how to think, as well as how to apply my knowledge to make the right choices”.
Salomé Hemmo, another graduate of the program, moved from Paris to Israel in 2013. Prior to her studies she worked at Glide, an Israeli video-messaging startup. During her studies Salomé took part in the track’s practicum program and joined Microsoft Ventures where she helped Yair Snir, former director of M&A and Business Development, in mapping the ag-tech field in the Israeli and US ecosystems. “This practicum at Microsoft Ventures was a game-changer. I had the chance to work with one of the most inspiring business executives in Israel, who mentored me, challenged me to get better and pushed me forward.” Toward the end of the program Salomé joined the startup Yotpo as a senior product analyst. “The advice and support I received from IDC’s MBA staff was a significant factor in my career progression.”