Two Harvard Business School women have created a new non-profit, Inside IL, which matches American MBA students with Israeli businesses, start-ups, or multinationals with a strong presence in Israel.
Inside IL also provides all kinds of logistical help, and even grants, for those interested in living and working in the start-up nation, but who find the process of working through all the details daunting.
The official launch of Inside IL was Monday, Feb. 24.
The founders of this program are American business school students who love and value Israel, and who recognized that lots of their business school peers were excited about business opportunities in Israel.
Sara Greenberg, from suburban Philadelphia, is a first year Harvard Business School student. She is in a joint degree program with the Harvard Kennedy School. Greenberg has lived and worked in Israel, as well as in the U.S. and in Hong Kong, China.
Greenberg is also a member of the Israeli LaCrosse Team (the team which forfeited the opportunity to win in the Federation of International LaCrosse 2013 Women’s World Cup, because they refused to play on Shabbat).
Greenberg’s partner, Della Heiman, is a second year Harvard B School student, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. She has lived and worked in many places across the globe, including Israel, Jordan and Ethiopia.
Greenberg spoke with The Jewish Press by telephone Thursday, Feb. 27.
“Della and I have both worked in Israel, and we heard from many business colleagues that they wanted to find any easy way to connect with top-notch American business students,” Greenberg said.
“And now we are both in business school at Harvard, and lots of our peers are interested in and excited by what everyone really thinks of as the ‘start-up nation.’ So we thought, wouldn’t it be great to put these worlds together?”
Together, their vision for Inside IL is to “create opportunities for top-notch MBA students and add value to Israeli businesses.”
How does it work?
Inside IL works with both parties in the project. They help Israeli companies explore and structure meaningful internship opportunities that will be appealing to MBA students.
Inside IL then provides the MBA students with the information about the internship opportunities with companies in Israel, through its website. The students mine the Inside IL database, and apply directly to the companies.
Although the companies make the selection decisions, Inside IL provides assistance to the applicants. It offers grants to MBA interns to subsidize flights, housing and other expenses. It also provides logistical assistance with housing and visa applications.
And once an MBA student secures an internship position in Israel, Inside IL offers additional, optional, programming such as lectures, networking events and excursions in Israel.
In other words, for highly qualified business school students interested in internship opportunities in Israel, but who are stymied by the process of identifying businesses which have internships, or figuring out how to work through the logistics of getting to, and living in Israel, Inside IL is the perfect matchmaker.
Greenberg explained that their premise was that the Israeli companies would be getting high quality applicants. They insisted that the internships are all paid ones. However, because there are many opportunities with businesses which are in start-up mode, the stipends being offered may not be competitive with non-Israeli companies.
In order to deal with this potential stumbling block, Inside IL created a philanthropic foundation to raise funds to provide subsidies to qualified interns. Once a student is offered an internship by one of the businesses, the student can then apply for the subsidy through Inside IL.
There are currently 14 internship opportunities listed on the Inside IL site. They run the gamut from high tech companies, various start-ups, biotech, product development and finance. The companies are seeking interns for positions in Jerusalem, Herzliya, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere in Israel.
The program is starting small, and the pilot is open only to Harvard Business School students. Greenberg said they want to work through the entire process and make sure it runs smoothly. When they are confident any kinks have been worked out, the plan is to open the applicant pool to other top business school students.
Inside IL’s tagline is: “Connecting the best and the brightest with the start-up nation.” Greenberg and Heiman are clearly at the top of the pack of the best and the brightest.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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