Michael Eisenberg Explains the Benefits of Living and Working in Israel
On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, venture capitalist Michael Eisenberg ’89YUHS, ’93YC, partner in Aleph VC based in Israel, made a pitch to over 60 YU students to start both their careers and their lives in Israel.
Titled “Making Your Career in Israel a Reality” and sponsored by the YU Career Center, Eisenberg made a case for why building a professional career in Israel and making aliyah [living in Israel] was a good proposition for YU students to consider.
Companies in Israel, he stated, are eager to bring workers on board because the talent pool in Israel is not large enough to satisfy the employment needs of major companies like Wix, WalkMe, SimilarWeb and Lightworks. This urgent need offers excellent opportunities for people across a range of vocations, such as computer programming, financial management and sales and promotion.
To strengthen his point, Eisenberg worked through slides that showed each company’s hiring processes, giving the students advice about how to make successful bids to work at each of them.
He also pointed out that there were deep resources, both private and public, to help ease their transition from the United States to Israel, including navigating the visa process and finding living accommodations.
But having all this information and all these resources is not enough for success, he said; what is required is the hard-headed decision to make the choice to go and to stick with it regardless of the challenges it presents. “You have to decide you want to do this,” he exhorted his audience. “People who say I’m going to try it out, fail, because if you don’t mentally cut the bridge, you won’t work through hard problems. Have optimism: I can do this. If I fail and it doesn’t work out: I can fix this, or I can find someone to help me fix this. We only create grit and resilience when we have no alternative.”
He went on to say that “we in Israel have the greatest natural resource that any people can be blessed with, which is a fertile mind. And the more we bring these minds to bear on the big problems of society and the world, we have the chance to fulfill the prophecy of being a light unto the nations by solving a lot of these problems and making the world a better place. This is what we can do as a country. If you’ve got the resolve and the skills, and you’re willing to have the toughness and grit to go do this, this is totally solvable: the jobs are there, and we can walk you through the process.”
After his formal presentation, Eisenberg met one-on-one with seniors and some juniors to discuss individual concerns and questions.
Several students found the chance to interact with Eisenberg exciting, informative and supportive. Lior Brick ’20YC felt that Eisenberg “owned the room from his very first sentence, and I am sure that every one who attended his talk learned something very meaningful about the business world and making aliyah.” Aliza Pahmer ’20S found Eisenberg “inspiring and encouraging” and appreciated how “he gave us real advice and provided detailed facts about Israel.” Avigail Royzenberg ’21S appreciated Eisenberg’s “balance of optimism and inspiration” and found that his “personal guidance made this a memorable event.”
Alan Broder, chair of the department of computer science at Stern College College for Women, had many of his students at the event and praised Eisenberg for his support and practical guidance. “Michael is extremely well-connected in the Israeli startup and tech community, and his willingness to share inside information on connections and opportunities at numerous Israeli firms was invaluable.”
Susan Bauer, executive director of the Career Center, felt that “his personal advice was just as impactful as his detailed information about companies,” and she appreciated his pointing out that “anyone who feels compelled to solve a problem and strategize on a solution, regardless of challenge, has the most important quality of making it as an entrepreneur.” Most important is that “knowing that life is too short to be spent wasting time trying to improve upon your weaknesses is advice that transcends all majors and areas of study.”