Many students face the problem of finding a job when they graduate. Armed with knowledge but oftentimes with little work experience the prospect of how to pry open the door of the professional world can still be elusive for many. The Co-op program of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship was specifically designed to help students find their way in. Dr. Yossi Maaravi, Dean of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship, who manages the Co-op program for the past seven years and developed it to what it is today, says, "one of the program’s key advantages is the close connection between what the students are studying and what is happening in the real world. It is meaningful and memorable. Their skills and knowledge are integrated as they gain professional experience while expanding their network.”
The Co-op program provides all students at Reichman University, regardless of their major, the unique opportunity to work at a start-up while completing their studies. Students have the possibility to do the program at various points throughout the academic year.
The CO-OP Startup Experience Course
Eight years ago, there was one student in the program; today there are over 300 students placed in 100 companies. According to Dar Zellinger, program Director, "the growth and popularity of the program expanded as we are constantly refining and expanding on the program. One of the pivotal changes we made was connecting the student directly with the start-up. By creating an online platform, we made it easy for start-ups to access students' information. Also, students can view the different job opportunities at various startups." In addition, the program holds "speed-dating" events where start-ups meet with students at various stations throughout the Adelson School building.
David Moscati, 25 from Italy, is a Business & Economics student starting his third year at Reichman University. Through the Co-op program David was accepted to work at ThetaRay, a start-up which enables the financial sector to provide secure cross-border and domestic payments. David worked in the business development team that focused on Europe and specifically Italy. For David the program was an essential part of his learning experience at Reichman University. "This program should be compulsory" enthuses David, "it gave me an indescribable edge, from not having any professional experience or network, to learning how to manage in a start-up. The program opened doors for me and laid the pathway for my professional future "
Global Co-op - beyond Israel
This year the Co-op program expanded to include practicums in start-ups abroad. Today there are nine students participating in the Global Co-op; six students in the UAE and three in Berlin. The program is working in collaboration with Wework which enables the students to use the Wework space while abroad.
Eran Bracha, 26 from Ramat Gan is a second-year student in Entrepreneurship and Business Administration, and recently returned from a Co-op experience in Berlin. "The School of Entrepreneurship offered students a unique opportunity to do an internship abroad, it was an opportunity I refused to miss. I was accepted to work in a start-up called Careloop.io based in Berlin, Germany. I flew to Berlin during the summer semester and worked as a company marketing and social media intern. The Global Co-op offered me the opportunity to work in an English-only environment with people with cultural, social and professional differences to mine. I learned new skills and grew professionally and personally."
VC & Accelerator Practicum
The VC and Accelerator Practicum experience is a program offered to Entrepreneurship students in their final year. This popular program offers the unique opportunity for students to work at a VC or Accelerator. Dar says" We designed this program for outstanding final-year students who wish to specialize in the world of venture capital and accelerators. We noticed that after 2 years of studying about the venture creation process, some students in their final year, expressed interest in learning more about the venture capital world - an essential part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We therefore adapted the Co-op program to include VC's and accelerators"
Students apply and then interview with their potential VC. Once placed they are involved with everything from screening deal flow opportunities, due diligence, portfolio growth, producing demo days and more.
"This unique experience will be extra beneficial for those who want to become investors one day, and for those who would pursue the entrepreneur/founder career path as they have gotten the chance to be in the inventor's shoes." says Dar.
Naomi Kolsky, 24 originally from Chicago is a third-year Computer Science and Entrepreneurship student. Through the VC & Accelerator Practicum, she worked as a tech analyst at Starburst Aerospace, a startup accelerator. One of her main tasks was scouting start-ups that would be a good fit for the Starburst Accelerator program. "I met with CEOs and CTOs, learned about different technologies, while gaining an understanding of the market to make my assessments. Working for the accelerator was an incredible learning opportunity as a student. I gained a deeper understanding of both the startup and the accelerator aspects of the industry. The program exceeded my expectations, my assignments were a key part of the process Starburst uses to assess startups and through my work I learned about the different technologies revolutionizing the aerospace and defense industries today." For Naomi, the program was a key factor in bridging the gap from student to professional.
According to Dr. Yossi Maaravi, “the world is changing, and so academia must change as well. The Co-op is one of the best examples for this change - an innovative approach of combining real-world experience with top-notch academic studies”
This article was written in cooperation with Reichman University