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Friday, April 7, 2017

China-based Business Execs Visit Start-Up Nation

~ CEIBS Global EMBA Israel Module

April 7, 2017 – There’s an old Israeli saying, “Start as fast as you can, then slowly go faster.” This bit of advice, shared during a visit to one of Israel’s incubators for start-ups, is probably one of the reasons for the country’s stellar success in launching entrepreneurial ventures. A group of 50 business executives working and living in China spent the last five days finding out why the Middle Eastern country – which is smaller than the US state of New Jersey and only has a population of roughly 8 million – is always high on the list of foreign countries with the most companies listed on NASDAQ (83 as of April 1). Israel is also second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to the concentration of start-ups. 

Among the group’s sources of insight was a presentation by Yuval Rabin who is the son of late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. His advice was not confined to launching a business but also how to run it successfully. “Leadership is not about servicing the consensus. Real leadership is about rallying diverse people towards a solution,” he told the group. There were also visits to a software company that does R&D for technologies related to the Internet of Things; a Fintech hub incubator; a VC firm that works with young high-tech companies in the medical device field; an incubator whose participants are considered the best from the next generation of Israel’s high-tech industry; and a company that does R&D for advanced 3D printed electronics.

“This five-day visit, the Israel Module of CEIBS Global Executive MBA, was designed to take participants into the heart of the country’s most vibrant industries.  It’s really provided a comprehensive view of the Israeli economy and culture,” said CEIBS Associate Dean and Director of the Global EMBA Programme, Professor Nikos Tsikriktsis. “Now these business executives – a mixture of globally focused Chinese from a wide range of industries plus other nationals who are working in China – have a much better understanding of what it takes to earn the title of ‘start-up nation’. But, more importantly, they now know how they can apply what they have seen here to their own careers.” The group included 45 current students from the Class of 2015 and five who have already completed the Global EMBA. Most are in senior management positions, working in industries ranging from automotive to fashion to oil and gas; 15% are entrepreneurs while 34% are foreigners working in China.

“Sound knowledge of business practices can only get you so far. To really succeed in business you need to understand the people that you are doing business with. Being here in the thick of it in Israel has given me that depth of understanding,” said American Harris Wang, who is Strategic Markets Director for Velodyne LiDAR. “I work between San Francisco and Shenzhen, so coming to Israel gave me a new perspective on innovation. I’m in the autonomous vehicle industry and Israel is one of the leading hubs for this in the world so this trip also has real relevance to my job and will have an impact on my company.”

Chinese national Jessie Lian, who is Vice President of Cordis Corporation, was also impressed by the course. “This is the fourth global module that I have taken part in and this particular module has had huge variety. We have had many visits: to start-up companies, to incubators, to accelerators, and several of these were related to my own industry of medical devices. It was especially interesting to learn first-hand about this culture of Israel as a ‘start-up nation’,” she said.

The elective module also included cultural and historical aspects that are so vital to understanding Israel. In fact it began with a lesson on the Middle East Peace Process at the Rabin Centre. This was followed by a look at the origins and global impact of extremism in the Middle East. The presenter was Dr Eran Lerman, former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at the National Security Council in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.  There was also a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, a lecture on Jewish history and traditions, a swim in the Dead Sea and a Shabbat (Jewish day of rest) farewell dinner. 

The Israel Elective Module is just one of several overseas components of the CEIBS Global EMBA.  The next overseas elective module for the Class of 2015 will be from April 24-28 in Ghana. Those are the same dates that the Class of 2016 will be in Barcelona. The Class of 2015’s Zurich Elective Module will run from May 2-5.

For more information on the CEIBS Global EMBA and how you can enrol please click here.  


Charmaine N. Clarke