Completing a Masters at IDC – A Reflection

South African, Jason Halfon, talks about his experience.


As of early January 2021, I have completed my master's degree in financial economics through the Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) at IDC Herzliya. Such occasions are always an opportune time to reflect on the experience.

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, went through the Herzliya school system and completed my Bachelor of Business Science specializing in finance with accounting at the University of Cape Town – before making Aliyah in July of 2019.

The late President Shimon Peres once said, “We are too small to be an average nation, we must be an excellent nation, and IDC is about excellence”.

With those words in mind, lets get down to business and talk about IDC.

My professors were, career wise, in a league of their own and they were brilliant teachers – something which you could easily up until this point have thought was a mutually exclusive concept. To any subscriber to the saying “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” – buckle up for a reality check.

Few can say they were taught advanced macroeconomics by the former deputy governor of the Bank of Israel or international finance by the chief economist of one of the two biggest banks in Israel. I could go on ad nauseum with such examples for every single course I did. You would be hard pressed to find such a high concentration of blended academic and practical excellence at any institution across the world.

It is not unheard of to still be in touch with many of your professors long after their time teaching you has ended. I am quite looking forward to the post COVID-19 world for the various lunches, socials and dinners several have reached out to invite me to.

To those who want to gain work experience and have proven their capabilities – you are not simply a number. A couple of months ago, the head of my programme emailed me to ask if I’d be interested in an internship opportunity with Israel’s largest investment house – fast forward and I am currently completing my internship as a Global Equities Investment Analyst for the Provident and Pension Funds Division at Psagot Investment House.

Networking is not overlooked at IDC either – in fact the night prior to writing this, as a recent example, the Tiomkin School of Economics and Arison School of Business at IDC hosted the governor of the Bank of Israel and main players in the fintech space for the first financial economics forum of 2021 – endearingly dedicated to my graduating class of the masters degree.

There’s also the beautiful, modern and ever-expanding campus (which was sorely missed once COVID-19 begun) - not to mention the leading digital infrastructure, that IDC leverage at every given opportunity. Whilst one can hope the events of 2020 may never repeat themselves, the ability for IDC to adapt was seamless and should not be discounted in a post COVID-19 landscape. You can have the best facilities, teachers, programmes and students but poor management and support can render it meaningless.

I struggled to think on how to close this off, to summarize and more importantly express how I felt about my studies at IDC – my concluding remark is as follows, and I sincerely hope it captures my point succinctly.

My younger brother is currently busy with his undergraduate at IDC – as such I am inconceivably envious of him.

Written by: Jason Halfon, MA in Financial Economics class of 2021

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