Dr. Maria Blekher is a Director of YU Innovation Lab and an Academic Program Director for the Master in Marketing. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Digital Strategies, teaching at the Sy Syms School of Business. Upon joining Yeshiva University, Dr. Blekher developed the unique course Business in the Israeli Environment for the Sy Syms School of Business.

Dr. Blekher is also the founder of MadeInIsrael.Info—an online educational platform that connects the American Jewish community to Israel by providing information about Israeli business and brands. Dr. Blekher holds an MBA and a PhD in Marketing from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.


1. What profession did you think you would go into when you were a student?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial, a ‘go-getter’. I also was curious about the interaction between people technology and their environment. So, I knew I wanted to work in a field that combines; business or law.


2. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the interaction with students, who are bright and creative thinkers. I learn from them a lot, and often students are the best teachers. I enjoy working with Israeli startups, helping them to explore the opportunities in the American market and connecting them to the eco system.  This is a natural fit for me, as a marketing expert and Israeli.

Overall, I enjoy the creative part of my work, creating value. I joined YU about 4 years ago to develop a course about the Israeli Business Environment for SySyms School of Business. Since then I’ve been a key founding partner in three innovative initiatives; MS in Marketing (which I’m still leading) and the AS in Management, who’s first cohort will be graduating this May. The YU Innovation Lab is my newest startups inside YU.


3. What are you most excited for in the new YU Innovation Lab?

Seeing the students exploring, thinking, and creating value for startups. I’m excited about the opportunity the lab creates for YU students to gain hands on experience and developing entrepreneurial skills and about the value Israeli startups gain from working with us. When a CEO of a startup says to me that he/she learned something they didn’t know before after working with us, it’s exciting. When students are able to make an impact, that’s also exciting.


4. What are some of the goals you have for what students take out of your classes?

My goal is for students to develop creative thinking and critical mindset. To question, to ask, to think like there is no box. I also believe that one of the best ways to learn is by doing. Having the opportunity to experience the real world as part of the curriculum develops a unique set of skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.


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