The oldest University in Israel is the Technion, located in Haifa and established in 1924. The impetus for its creation was based on the fact that Jewish students, due to academic anti-Semitism, were having a difficult time being able to enroll in Technical Universities in their countries of origin. The founders of Israel also recognized the fact that nation building needed a generation of technically proficient engineers and scientists to accomplish essential tasks. The story of how Technion came to be involves luminaries like Herzl, Chaim Weizman, Martin Buber, Ahad Ha’am and even one Kalonymous Zeev Wissotzky, a wealthy tea merchant for whom that tea that everyone drinks here is named after.

There were of course questions and conflicts. For instance where would this Tech University be located? Jerusalem wanted it bad but ultimately Haifa was chosen for its neutrality and in the hopes that locating the University there would attract more Jews to live in the then sparsely populated North. Another issue revolved around the language of instruction. At one point it was decided that courses would be taught in German. The modern Hebrew language was still in its infancy and not perfectly suited for technical and scientific instruction. But once again, it was understood that the Technion was tasked with the mission of nation-building and what kind of nation doesn’t have it’s own language? Eventually, spurred on by a strike by teachers and students, the decision was made to teach in English and thus the Technion was born.

Today, thanks in no small measure to the Technion, Israel is a thriving, technologically advanced country. Furthermore, it is also a hub for world-class innovation and entrepreneurship. It is no longer the embattled little country hanging on by a thread for dear life, subject to existential dilemmas regarding its survival and evolution. As such the role of the Technion is no longer what it was in 1924.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the institution of two new programs – namely the StartUp MBA and the Masters (ME) Degree in Systems Engineering, both of which are being taught in English. Why? Well, in the early days, Technion’s mission was internal, focused on Israel, Jews and Israelis. Now with the great success of of its Tech and Business sectors, Israel is seeking to export the methodology of this success to others, and now language is no longer a barrier! Make no mistake about it, these programs are world class in both their conception and execution.

The Systems Engineering Degree is being offered and taught by faculty in what is the 25th best Engineering faculty in the world. More importantly, the 15-month course will immerse students in Israeli culture and society, and give them an intimate experience of Israeli resolve and the “can-do” attitude that allows interdisciplinary efforts like System Engineering to thrive! I mean, think about it. What was Israel like in 1948? What is it like now? How was that accomplished in a country with so few resources? The ME in Systems Engineering will expose you to those answers and instill in its students the methodology that fuels the country.

The StartUp MBA is an otherwise conventional MBA program designed specifically for those interested in entrepreneurial pursuits, particularly in the methods and conditions that helped Israel develop into the “StartUp Nation” that it is today. As such the courses, taught entirely in English of course, will take place in a new campus located in the heart of exciting Tel Aviv. Let’s just say that students will not have a lack of things to do in their spare time, and good coffee will be ubiquitously available! The course of study will also bring students in close contact with the major players in Israel’s Startup community as well as the innovators in Technion’s Nobel studded faculty.

These programs are both world-class and uniquely Israeli, and they are accepting applications right now from smart and motivated prospective students. To find out more visit the StartUp MBA web site or The ME in Systems Engineering web site. Apply today or pass this on to someone you know who you think might be interested.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.