Beyond the achievements written in my CV, I would like you to know more about who I am through three important lessons I have learned. The first lesson I learned from my parents, the second from my soldiers, and the last lesson I learned from my comrades.
From my parents, I learned the importance of dedication to my goals. I am the eldest of five siblings, and until I reached junior high all five of us slept together in the same room. Even with limited financial resources, our parents promoted personal development and insisted we all learn to play an instrument and master at least one sport: I played piano and practiced judo. Music and sports taught us to set our goals and to keep improving in order to achieve them. As a result, I grew up to be very mission-driven: quickly analyzing the main factors involved in reaching a personal goal and aligning them around the objective. With the ability to clearly visualize the goals of my organization or the needs of my community, I am able to take initiative, identify opportunities and drive everyone involved towards achieving them.
As a graduate of an elite technological leadership program in the army, I saw the need for combat officers with technological expertise. Therefore, although most of my program classmates pursued roles as developers or engineers, I elected to fill a demanding role in a field unit, where I could contribute my knowledge and understand first-hand the technological needs of our fighting forces. I saw my opportunity to make an impact as a combat officer in a highly technological and elite operational unit of the Artillery Corps.
From my soldiers in this unit I learned that in order to be an effective leader, I need to listen to my subordinates and constantly work to improve them and myself. Serving as a platoon commander I made it a practice to have weekly personal conversations with each of my subordinate commanders during which each of us would provide candid and constructive feedback to the other. Thus, I was able to achieve great trust through candor and use their feedback to improve as a commander. I believe these conversations created a winning team, in which my subordinates flourished. Most of them were promoted to platoon sergeant.
As a platoon commander, I was concerned that the training we received fell short of meeting operational requirements on the field. When I attributed this in part to inadequate simulator time during officers’ training, I convinced my superiors to assign me to command the officers’ course in order to make sure that future officers would be qualified to face the challenges they were about to encounter. Moreover, my experience in music, where the independent practice was a key to improvement, inspired me to include more independent practice in the training plan, nearly doubling simulator time without overtaxing the instructors. My efforts were acknowledged when I was rewarded the ‘Officers Excellence Award’ by the unit's commander for my contribution as the officers’ course commander.
Finally, I discovered through my military comrades what I want to do with my life and career. As a commander in that unit, I had the privilege of working with many amazing people, but I also saw too many cases where people with tremendous talent were blocked from fulfilling their potential due to socio-economic circumstances. This seems to be a particularly serious problem in Israel, which was ranked as the fourth most unequal society among OECD countries. I met one soldier who served on the base. This really smart young man finished high school without taking his final matriculation exams in math because he had to work to support his family. I helped prepare him for the exams, which he completed with excellent grades, and he helped me to understand the challenges so many Israelis face.
Inspired by these soldiers, I began to volunteer for the Movement for the Quality of Governance, an organization boasting 17,000 members that promote increased moral standards in public service and politics in Israel. Researching market aspects that affect equal opportunities has helped me understand that what Israel needs most is the creation of opportunities.
Israeli startups have seen many successes during the last decade. However, a very large portion of our society is unable to take part in that phenomenon, as many successful startups are sold without creating sustainable jobs in Israel. Thus, Israeli innovation translates into big wealth for the few most talented but has little effect on the lives of the majority of the middle class.
Inspired by the few global companies that were founded – and remained – in Israel, such as CheckPoint and Mobileye, in the long run, I envision myself starting and managing a sustainable, international business in the field of automated transportation based in Israel. I am passionate about extending economic opportunities to populations who need it most, and I expect the field of automated transportation to have a great impact by spreading affordable transportation and creating new job opportunities for workers around the globe and in Israel.
In order to lead in an ever-changing world, my business would have to predict and meet global demands, engage in continuous innovation, and incorporate the finest management practices. I need an HBS MBA to improve my expertise in these three areas. As a post-MBA step towards my goal, I intend to lead the efforts towards self-driving vehicles in a global corporation such as Tesla Motors or General Motors, where I will contribute a multidisciplinary view that merges technological and business knowledge, while I prepare to start my own business in the field.
At HBS I will take advantage of the many opportunities offered such as the ‘FIELD Global Immersion’, where I will be able to study relevant global topics first-hand. I am especially interested in studying the unique transportation and economic needs of emerging markets such as India or Brazil, which would affect the future demand for automated transportation and where automated transportation can serve as a much-needed engine of progress.
Israel’s economy and society need visionary tech and industry leaders with a passion for running sustainable businesses that narrow economic inequality. I have the necessary technical and leadership background to be this kind of leader, and an HBS MBA will bring me one giant step closer to achieving it.