An Unconventional Life-experience with Technion

Tiger Xie

IMBA Class of 2017


        Looking back our Technion GNAM Week 2017 in Israel, it was quit a transforming journey and amazing and rewarding experience which had already left a deep mark in our life. It would be definitely strong MUST-visit recommendation for all students. We were welcomed from Technion, the host, and had touches locally with culture, history, innovation, entrepreneurs, and also globally with 50 participants from different regions worldwide. We would keep in touch with each other now and afterwards. It was a short journey but long-lasting impact on our life. It was very touching farewell speech from Prof. Miriam Erez, saying that “…you are all connected and become friend from now on and write us letters with sharing your successful stories.……”. We owed great appreciations to Technion GNAM week and Renmin business school as well.

        We began our quite unconventional experience here.

RBS-Technion team in Tel Aviv Airport

The unconventional pre-security-check
It took almost one hour for our RBS-Technion team to get our Boarding Passes of El-AL Airline in Beijing International Airport, and almost half hour to get our Boarding Passes in Tel Viv Ben Airport. We were crossly questioned by two staffs separately. I really saw that one guy was repeatedly questioned by several guys in perfect English and Chinese as well, because the same Israel staff also questioned me with perfect Chinese. As for me, they focused on my past journey in Turkey and Indonesia and requested me to give detailed explanations, and also to give my wife’s name. Therefore, it would be no surprising that the airport in Tel Viv normally would request traveler to arrive at airport 4 hours before flight.

The unconventional history of Technion
Technion, with “Technikum” as the original German name, was laid with cornerstone on April 11, 1912, which was 36 years before Israel declared independence. Technion was founded for thousands years of dream- pursuit of Jewish homeland with an implausible vision of creating a world-class institute of scientific and technological education, and would grow rapidly, becoming a global pioneer in fields such as biotechnology, stem cells, space, computer science, nanotechnology, and energy. Three Technion professors have won Nobel Prizes. With over hundred years of hard work, Technion City had become a modern miracle - a thriving world center of research and teaching, with 12,850 students and 80 graduate programs trailblazing excellence in research and teaching for the benefit of humanity.

The unconventional courses at Technion
It was an eye-opening and enlightening experience for all of us, RBS-Technion team. We were lectured by several senior professors and entrepreneurs as well.
As founder and chair of the Knowledge Center for Innovation (KCI), Prof.Miriam Erez vividly demonstrated the process of innovation management, or so-called the journey of idea, and also on Culture & Innovation. And it was surprising to find out that power distance in Israel is 13, which is way less than that of others, which would contribute a lot to the start-ups nation.

Prof.Miriam Erez, Founder and Chair of the Knowledge Center for Innovation (KCI)

The lectures by their professors were very inspiring. Dr. Dana Sheffer, manager of the Entrepreneurship Center at Technion, gave us introduction on Bronica Entrepreneurship Center. The 3-day startups programs ran so well and it provided resources and connection to startups. Mr. Rafi Nave, the entrepreneurial leader at the Technion, renewed our mind with Hi-Tech nation instead of Startups nation by beginning with smart phone invention in 2007, and following with lots of data and profound facts. He got good connections with Intel Israel, and really had deep knowledge about IT history. Asssociate Prof. Ella Miron-Spektor taught us on team work by game/competition and it finally worked so well that everybody contributed a lot and enjoyed a lot from it.

Prof. Dovev Lavie, former Vice Dean of the MBA program at the Technion, taught us the ‘Managing alliances in Startup Nation’ by case study, which led us to think about the reason, the driving factors and the path and method on alliance, especially for start-ups. It was quite impressive that he used video tapes of the company founder’s speech instead of Prof.Lavie’s own speech, which was be very convincing.   

Prof. Dovev Lavie, former vice dean of MBA program at the Technion

The unconventional visits and speeches by entrepreneurs
We also visited entrepreneurs and incubators which had good connections with Technion. Dr. Yael Helfman Cohen, CEO of Biomimicry, shares with us that we still could learn a lot from nature with observation and imitation the mechanism behind the nature. We visited the Hi-Center-Haifa Incubator and also Shutterfly. In addition, we had 2 lectures on Sound wave data solution program and Car wise-driving solutions program, which were never heard of before.

We even visited Medtronic company, formerly known as ‘Given Imaging”, which is global leader in medical technology. We were lucky to meet Dr. Elisha Rabinovitz,the company Chief Scientist, and get to know the ecosystem behind its successful story.

Medtronic and their products

We visited Samurai House in Tel Aviv, and Mr. Yony Golan, Head of Operations, shared with us his experience and knowledge in five conclusive aspects, which were business model, creativity, fund, team and timing.

We also participated in a Panel discussion with two startups entrepreneurs moderated by Dr.Barak ben-Avinoam. Ms. Lena levin at PolyTouch Medical and Mr. Jon Rathauser at Keheala really shared many exciting successful moments and stressful times in their processes, which were very inspiring and enlightening .

Dr.Barak ben-Avinoam and Ms. Lena Levin of PolyTouch Medical (right) with Mr. Jon Rathauser of Keheala (left)

Mrs.HIla Goldman Asian, CEO of DiaCardio, shared her startups story with us and she and her team developed life-changing technology, which would contribute greatly to doctors in hospitals. 

Mrs.HIla Goldman Asian, CEO of DiaCardio

The unconventional project competitions by students
We were requested to startup one project with one team of 6 persons after lecture of “Lean Start-up” by Mr. Rami Gazit in first day and reported in the fourth day. Finally the project competitions came. And 8 groups presented their idea. And we got lots of good suggestions from the judges. It were lots of efforts and everybody was so intense and devoted, and got lots of suggestion and insights from judges.

(Left to right) Cai Jingfeng 3rd from right and Wu Tong 2nd from left

(Left to right) Song LiaoChao 3rd from left and Zou Yu from 2nd from right

Myself, 2nd from right

The unconventional culture diving by city tour
We also got a chance to experience the Tel-Aviv city with the introductions of knowledgeable and passionate guides arranged by Technion. Firstly, we gathered in the first street corner, where the Tel-Aviv city were constructed and listened to the pulse beat through the city monuments. Secondly, we moved to camel market. We got to know the culture diversity and fusion through residential zones of descendants of different immigrates and different dishes from different countries(Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen, India, etc.)by descendants, lively and noisy crowd in the morning market, and emotion conflicts. We were also taught several Hebrew names of local dishes. Finally, we walked through the main boulevard and get to know the history behind the historical buildings and the financial center. It was quite amazing to know that it would be not permitted to construct new buildings unless you have had a good arrangement/protection of the old buildings, which showed that Israel really had good respect towards history and good regulation on preservation of old buildings.

The city monument of Tel Aviv

UNESCO certified white city and a typical white house in Tel-Aviv

Great thanks again to Technion GNAM week and Renmin business school as well.

Students in the Technion GNAM Week 2017