by Allison Noel, Cody Becker, RJ Niewoehner and Sapna Hegde
Last week, we traveled to Israel to compete in the semifinals of the Sofaer International Case Competition (SICC), a global business strategy competition hosted by the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University. It was an unforgettable experience and we couldn’t have been prouder to represent the Rady School abroad!
Our journey began last November when we applied to compete in the first round of the SICC. A number of other Rady School teams also applied, so Professor Del Foit organized a three-day case competition to select the team to be officially endorsed by the Rady School. We won that competition, and several days later, we received more good news: Tel Aviv University selected us from a pool of over 30 top MBA programs—we would represent the Rady School and the U.S. in the next round of competition.
Post-presentation team photo!
We arrived in Israel late on Saturday night. Early Sunday morning, we received a business case related to an Israeli startup in the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems industry. That afternoon, we heard a talk from the sponsor company’s COO and began working on the case before leaving for a welcome dinner at a beautiful rooftop garden in Tel Aviv. For the next two days, we analyzed the case and formulated our recommendations. On Wednesday, we delivered a 20-minute pitch to a panel of judges. In what was described as the closest race in the competition’s history, we narrowly missed the top-three list to advance to the finals. Though we were disappointed, we held our heads high, proud of the high-quality analysis and pitch we gave and encouraged by the positive feedback we received from judges.
While the competition itself was a valuable learning experience, the highlights of our trip were networking and touring Israel with students of the competing teams. It was truly an international experience, with students representing MBA programs from Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, China, the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada. We enjoyed breakfasts, happy hours and dinners with our friendly competitors and even spent a day touring Jerusalem together. The photos give a small glimpse of the experience—we had a blast!
Team Rady and friends at historic sites in Jerusalem
Thank you to our supporters
We’re grateful to the Rady School and Tel Aviv communities for supporting us and the SICC. Special thanks goes out to the following parties and individuals:
– The U.S.-Israel Center for Innovation and Economic Sustainability, who paid for our flights, and Tel Aviv University, who covered our food and lodging and put on a fantastic program.
– Professors Ayelet and Uri Gneezy, who’ve cultivated a strong relationship between Rady and Tel Aviv University. Special thanks to Ayelet in particular, who accompanied us to Israel!
– Professor Del Foit, who organized the first round competition.
– Professor Charlie Sprenger, who helped us refine our strategic approaches before we left for Israel.
Fresh-made falafel from a street corner in Tel Aviv
We’re thrilled about the skills we honed, the relationships we built and the culture and hospitality we experienced in Israel. As we close out the final weeks of the school year, we’ll continue to practice what we learned on our trip… especially our all-important and now finely-tuned falafel-finding and eating skills.
Allison Noel, Cody Becker and Sapna Hegde are current MBA students and will graduate this June. RJ Niewoehner is a first-year MBA student focusing on operations.