SSSB Kicks Off Israeli Business Course

Dec 4, 2003 — Students at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business (SSSB) are getting an insider’s view of the Israeli business world in a new course taught by an Israeli venture capitalist.

Running from October to May, the course covers key areas of the Israeli economy, including tax law, the high tech field, and investing in start-ups. “Overview of Israeli Business Environment” is taught by Samuel Cubac, MBA, vice president of GE Equity in Tel Aviv and a partner at MediTech Advisors, which provides venture capital and consulting to start-ups.

“We envision Sy Syms as a focal point for students interested in experiencing and learning about the Israeli business environment,” said Charles Snow, PhD, SSSB dean. “This is one of the only undergraduate business programs to offer an Israeli focus in the US.”

Finance major Eli Renov, president of the SSSB Student Association, signed up for the course to learn about Israeli business law, he said. “The instructor knew his subject well as he made aliyah from the US and had to acclimate himself to the Israeli economy,” Mr. Renov said.

Mr. Renov took the course after returning from a summer internship at Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv. He was one of four seniors the school placed at Israeli companies under its push to make SSSB “the place of choice for Jewish business students in the US who want to learn about Israeli business and banking operations,” said Dr. Snow. He added that the school is also building a databank of Israeli companies and industries and plans to run more courses, conferences, and seminars on Israeli business issues.

MIS major Talia Zaret worked at Atomica Corporation, a private company that develops a software tool called GuruNet. “My goal was to get a feel for how things work in the Israeli business world,” Ms. Zaret said. Her duties included checking for bugs in Atomica’s software, writing advertisements, and investigating the viability of an Apple Mac-based application.

“The internship allowed me to implement what I learned in class, and taught me that decisions have real financial repercussions in the workplace,” she said. Although she spent only seven weeks at the company, Ms. Zaret contributed significantly, said Jay Bailey, director of marketing and product management at Atomica and a 1992 Yeshiva College alumnus. “Our planning was based on her research. She was instrumental in getting us to marry business and technology,” he said.

Marketing student Jonathan Ackerman helped build a database of biotechnology contacts at Mati Ra’anana, a business consultancy for start-ups and entrepreneurs. It gave him new applications for his skills, he said. “In a sense, I was marketing the person and his business idea to the consultancy, bridging the gap between what the company was looking for and what biotechnology ideas were out there,” Mr. Ackerman said.

For all the interns, the decision to work for an Israeli company reflected a desire to give something back to the country’s economy and learn about its work culture. MIS major Jonathan Atkin, who worked at Melitz, a not-for-profit agency that runs educational programs, said, “Not only was this good for my career, but I got to connect with Israel when it needed my support.”

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