The two dual degree programs offered by Reichman University’s Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) – Entrepreneurship and Business Management and Entrepreneurship and Computer Science – are good examples of how this unique institution is committed to innovative academic programming that is rooted in Zionist ideals. Indeed, when Prof. Uriel Reichman founded Reichman University (formerly IDC Herzliya) in 1994, his vision included establishing an International School that would attract young people from all over the world and encourage them to make their homes in Israel – for a few years or permanently.
Today, “Reichman is the largest academic absorption center in Israel,” says Jonathan Davis, Head of the Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) and VP of Reichman University for External Relations. “Half of all the international students in Israel study here. Contemporary Zionism involves strengthening Israel’s economy, and our Entrepreneurship degree contributes to the university’s Zionist mission.”
Combining skills and practice
The three-year English-language Entrepreneurship degrees are part of Reichman’s Adelson School of Entrepreneurship. Dr. Miriam and the late Sheldon G. Adelson recognized the importance of educating Israel’s future social and economic leaders, and the School of Entrepreneurship is one of the Adelsons’ numerous initiatives aimed at nurturing a new generation of entrepreneurs.
“This innovative degree is both academics-based and hands-on. It represents the future of education, since it combines both skills and practice,” explains Dr. Gali Einav, the Head of the International Undergraduate Program in Entrepreneurship. “Our students are immersed in the Start-Up Nation atmosphere,” she adds.
The Entrepreneurship students truly gain a great deal of practical experience during their studies. They engage in projects mentored by prominent industry leaders and, in the process, learn to cope with failure. “We tell our students that during their three years of study they will fail at some projects, and they will learn a lot from these experiences,” says Dr. Einav. Along with the hands-on curriculum, students also gain practical experience by taking part in internships in Israel’s world-renowned innovation ecosystem. “We emphasize networking and encourage our students to build a professional network while they are still students,” Dr. Einav stresses.
In addition to the extensive experience gained during their studies, the fact that most of the graduates speak foreign languages makes them especially desirable candidates for the high-tech sector. Many are asked to remain at their internship positions after graduation and others are offered jobs. Consequently, a large proportion remains in Israel and becomes valuable members of Israel’s innovation hub. “We provide oxygen for high-tech HR departments,” confirms Jonathan Davis, alluding to the huge shortage in qualified workers in Israel’s tech sector. “We offer a special added value,” he asserts.
Can entrepreneurship be taught?
The Entrepreneurship degree programs for international students were launched four years ago, with an initial class of 60. That number has already almost doubled: the current first-year cohort consists of 110 young people from 23 different countries, representing five continents. “They are amazing kids! All of them have an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Gali Einav, adding that, “We are like a family.” Along with administrative lead Sharon Zahavi and the rest of the staff, she makes a point of getting to know all the students and constantly makes sure that they receive all the support they require. “These are young people who are far from home, and they have to adjust to Israel, to the university, to being far from their families. We make sure that they have someone to talk to and that they are in a supportive environment.”
Dr. Einav is unequivocal when it comes to answering the frequently-asked question of whether it is possible to teach entrepreneurship: “Yes! We teach tools and skills that can apply to any discipline in order to face the challenges of the 21st century.” She adds that the Covid-19 crisis proved that these tools are vital for surviving in today’s world.
The courses taught in the Entrepreneurship degree include: Venture Creation, Innovation within Organizations, Data Science for the Internet Age, Product Design for Entrepreneurs, Impact Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing, Product Management, Biotech & Digital Health Entrepreneurship, Cyber & SaaS Entrepreneurship, and more. The program also offers practical workshops such as Presentation Skills, Coping with Failure, Ethics for Entrepreneurs, and Business Writing.
The first-rate faculty is composed of experts in various fields who have strong academic backgrounds as well as impressive careers in industry. “Our faculty is a great blend of academic and practical orientation,” notes Dr. Einav. Many, like her, have PhD degrees and are involved in academic research, and at the same time have close industry affiliations and experience in entrepreneur-oriented work. Moreover, 300 mentors from Israel’s innovation ecosystem are associated with the program, serving as teachers, competition judges, and role models.
The students enrolled in the two dual degrees are entrepreneurial to start with. The application process includes submitting a video where they explain why they are interested in the degree, and they must demonstrate self-efficacy and a willingness to take risks in addition to high motivation. “When they arrive, they are unpolished gems. After three years, they are polished,” says Dr. Einav with a smile, referring to the entrepreneurial education and experience which the Entrepreneurship students acquire at Reichman.
Indeed, the program’s graduates are well prepared to contend with the fast-paced, dynamic work environment of the 21st century, and the experience they gained at Reichman is valuable when navigating both their professional and personal lives.
Students from 90 countries
Reichman University (formerly IDC Herzliya) is Israel’s only private, non-profit university. Founded in 1994 as the brainchild of renowned Israeli Professor Uriel Reichman and modeled after Ivy League universities in the U.S., Reichman University has changed the face of higher education in Israel. The university’s founders sought to create an Israeli institution in which personal achievements go hand in hand with social responsibility, emphasizing initiative and leadership alongside community service.
Reichman University is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education and research, combining academic study with practical, hands-on training and fostering innovative thinking. In addition to giving students the tools they need to become leaders both in Israel and abroad, the university is committed to strengthening Israel’s society and economy.
The Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) at Reichman University is the largest international school of higher education in Israel, with all classes taught in English. Over 2,000 students from 90 different countries are enrolled at RRIS at any given time. They study towards a large selection of degree programs:
- BA degrees in Psychology, Business, Business and Economics, Communications, Government, Government and Sustainability, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship and Business, and Entrepreneurship and Computer Science.
- Master’s degrees in Government, Financial Economics, Organizational Behavior and Development, and Behavioral Economics, as well as a 1-year MBA, MBA in Healthcare Innovation, and a Global MBA.
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