Monday, October 12, 2015

At a Glance

 Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” - Napolean Hill
Student life offers many opportunities which gives a chance to learn that contributes to our overall development. This journal is a glimpse of a unique chance I received, explored and experienced as a graduate student at Pace University.
The Entrepreneurship Lab (eLab) received a generous donation from an alumni Mr. Michael Dezer through which 6 students at Pace university would have a chance to directly work with Israeli startups, have a unique exposure to company leadership and strategy; and earn a scholarship worth $5000 to visit Israel; and apprentice with partner companies.
I was one of the 6 students working under this initiative at the eLab and while working as a technical fellow, I received an opportunity of my life. I was selected for the prestigious Dezer Scholarship. I was very happy to have the lucky chance to visit Israel and be an apprentice at one of the partner companies. I was to begin my apprenticeship with MIT Enterprise Forum, Tel Aviv, Israel.
The apprenticeship was of 4 weeks, it commenced on 23rd May 2015 and concluded on 20th June 2015. It was an amazing experience to work in a foreign country, to have an exposure to a different culture, a very fruitful experience all together. At the eLab, Professor. Bachenheimer suggested me to read the book “Start-up Nation” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer to get to know more about Israel. My curiosity was heightened after reading the book and I was very excited about the visit.
 The weather in Tel Aviv was completely different than New York, it was a hot and humid day when I landed. I had rented an apartment in the heart of the city at Frishman and Herman Cohen through Air BnB. I found people in Israel very helpful and warm from the first encounter.  On the very first day I noticed that people in Israel use many alternative mobile apps than the traditional one’s known in USA.  My cab driver was using an app called “Waze” instead of the usual google maps to navigate from airport to my apartment. When I enquired about it, I learnt that “Waze” allows users to input live traffic updates, so it gives accurate traffic estimate and also reports an accident or other issues on road. Another interesting thing I noticed was the app had audio commands in Hebrew which is the native spoken language, the text on the app and audio commands were in Hebrew, and it also has an option to change the language settings to English. It’s a kind of an interactive map app. “Waze” was bought by Google for about 1.3 billion dollars. The team of “Waze” now works with the google maps team.
Israel is an arid country. They take special measures to conserve water and they are very well known for their technology of desalination of water. They have desalination plants where water from the sea is converted to portable drinking water. They are the inventors of drip irrigation which is widely used in agriculture and saves water. Another example is their toilets, they have two flush knobs, a small one and a big one which helps conserve water. I was very impressed with the thoughtful measures taken to conserve water, it is a part of daily life here.  My very first day introduced me to an Israel which was warm, friendly, technology savvy and aware about the environment. I was really looking forward to meet my team and begin working at the MIT Enterprise forum at Tel Aviv University from the next day.

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