Saturday, January 30, 2010

The First Israel Trek

Israel is the first in Nobel awards per capita, the first in R&D investment per capita, and the third in patents per capita in the world. These are some of the reasons that brought together the first Israel Trek at Georgetown university today with participants from the business schools of Georgetown, George Washington, Meryland, and Virginia.

The venue was the new and beautiful building named after former priminister of Lebanon-Rafik Hariri.

According to Professor Gal Raz from Darden, after attending presentations with some of the Israeli Defence industry presentations showing tanks and missiles, this is a sign that peace is definitely on the way.

We were honored by an opening by Georgetown MSB's dean- Dr. George Daly followed by Ralph Robbins - the Executive Director of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board from the office of the governor and Asher Kotz - Manager, International Business Development of Fairfax County Economic Development, all of which were impressive in the strategic position they were holding Israeli companies in and especially surprising was the number of Israeli companies and startup as a whole (around 6000) in the area. It would seem that Virginia is seeking to be the Silicone Valley of the east and doing a pretty good job at it. It was great to see the people involved and the school's recognition of the importance in embracing and nurturing relationships with some of those companies that included Rafael, NICE systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit, Babylon and more.

I found it ironic that the Elbit representative was so keen on speaking to Americans, yet not so enthusiastic in the Israelis, even those with an American citizenship.

All in all it made for a very interesting day. We left with a broader network, a few new friends and a mesage from Asaf Vitman - Ministrer for Economic Affairs, Embassy of Israel - who has asked us not to forget to bring all that we've learned back home someday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lessons Learned

"it's actually possible to get to know 300 people" is a part of the answer I used to give to the why Darden question. The same answer I got a year before. Today in class we've had a Darden grad from the 80's. After hearing how he made millions and analyzing some of his business decisions we've had the chance to get some advice from him. As it turns out, he got all of his jobs from his fellow classmates. He then told us to take a look around because these are the people who will be our network for life. These are the ones we'll reach out for advice, support and business opportunities.
It's easy to forget this sometimes and stay in that close circle of friends padding your comfort zone. I hope that I will not look back one day and feel I could have done better on this front.

I almost forgot, there was another alumnus from '95 that had mentioned that nothing matters in the long run, but LO* and Marketing. I've heard this so much that I'm actually starting to beleive it. Good thing I am taking every marketing class at Darden.

* LO - Leading Organizations formerly known as Organizational Behavior (OB)
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