TAU Hosts Second Annual Sofaer International MBA Case Competition

Global competition cements Sofaer International MBA's place on world map

Shai Zamir, Nikki Avershal, Dan Saguy, Katie West
TAU's case competition team:
Shai Zamir, Nikki Avershal,
Dan Saguy, and Katie West

For the second year, Tel Aviv University's Sofaer International MBA Program at TAU's Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration invited university teams from nine countries and Israel to compete in the program's case competition, held on May 23, 2012.

Designed to strengthen the bonds between academia and the real world of business, the competition embodies a core value of the Sofaer International MBA program, which encourages its students to learn from experiences both in and out of the classroom, and to think globally in an increasingly international business arena.

Brothers Michael and Phillip Sofaer, who created the Sofaer International MBA program, attended the competition to welcome the participants. "My brother and I are thrilled to see how this program has evolved, and we couldn't be happier to see so many universities compete," said Michael Sofaer.

A Babylon problem

Once a competition exclusively for Israeli universities, it was opened to international universities last year through the generosity of the Sofaer family. This year, teams from TAU, Ben Gurion University, the Technion, and Hebrew University competed with teams from from University of Toronto, UCLA, Copenhagen Business School, Fudan University, Hitotsubashi University, Indian Institute of Management–Ahmedabad, London Business School, National University of Singapore, and the Stockholm School of Economics.

Each year, the competing teams are presented with a challenge facing an Israeli company operating in global markets. This year, the students were asked to present a plan for the future growth of Babylon, one of the world's leading providers of translation services, with 45 million online users daily. Teams were asked to address the firm's strategic development into mobile platforms and social networks.

Udi Aharoni, the CEO of the Recanati School's LAHAV Executive Education program and the moderator of the event, noted that presentations would be assessed based on their analysis of the industry and the creativity and innovativeness of their solutions.

Fostering creative teamwork

The competition, and the Sofaer International MBA, have gone a long way towards putting TAU's MBA programming on the map, said TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter in remarks he made at the final round of the competition, calling "brain power" Israel's most valuable and main resource. He encouraged participants to always be creative in their business ventures: "It's out-of-the-box thinking that helps to develop new ideas."

Members of TAU's team said that the high spirit of competition was an inspiring addition to their educational experience. "The intensity of the competition made us work hard and come together as a group. We learned a lot," said Shai Zamir, noting that the team had "amazing" chemistry.

His teammate Nikki Avershal agreed. "Everyone was involved in all aspects of the case," she says, calling the competition an "element that puts Sofaer on the international stage, showcases the students, and gives opportunities for networking around every corner." Katie West and Dan Saguy were also part of the TAU team.

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