Being the Big Fish in the Little Pond of Hi-Tech Start-Ups
American tech stagnation and what you can do to solve it
Life is changing fast. Every day we wake up to new opportunities and new challenges. Nothing stands still. In business this rapidly evolving new paradigm requires greater adaption than ever before. It also requires different skills and a more substantive understanding of the technologies driving innovation in the market.
Moving up the ladder
Unfortunately, large swaths of the American economy have grown stagnant in recent years. American business schools, led by an Ivy League elite of hoary institutions with gilded reputations, are increasingly failing to provide the market place with graduates capable of succeeding in the 21st century. In business, particularly in today’s globalized market, you are either moving up the ladder or falling down it.
America, unfortunately, has been sliding down the ladder in recent years. Today, smaller countries you’d never expect, like Estonia and South Korea, have leapfrogged out ahead of the US in tech innovation. Even in research and development, where the US once reigned supreme, America has slipped to sixth place as Israel moves up to first.
For the individual entrepreneur, this offers some unique obstacles as well as potential advantages. It means that the traditional entry points into business and orthodox education models offer far less than they once did. But that also means that the more creative business students who do attain the keys to success in today’s globalized, tech-driven market will be at a marked advantage over their peers.
The question then remains, how does one those increasingly elusive keys? How can a prospective young entrepreneur fill the void in American tech start-ups and avoid becoming yet another gold-plated mediocrity, another cog in the dinosaur of old American business? The answer isn’t difficult: go where development is increasing rather than stagnating. If America has forgotten how to innovate and is struggling to compete in the Smart Phone Age, its future market leaders must learn from today’s success stories.
Until now, however, finding an English-language top-tier business school program in an emerging tech economy was virtually impossible. Three years ago, however, the Technion - a leading tech and innovation university located in northern Israel - opened its doors to overseas students with an international MBA program given entirely in English.
Israel has earned a reputation as the “Start-Up Nation”, possessing the highest number per capita of start-ups in the world. Its massive tech industry centered in the country’s coastal region has been dubbed the “Silicon Wadi” or the “Silicon Valley of the Middle East”. The Technion’s Start-MBA program places special emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, drawing from the area’s thriving tech industry and the school’s own prestige in R&D. Participants in the program visit start-up success stories and meet with the business leaders who helped build the country’s tech sector.
The MBA offered by the Technion is in some ways a departure from traditional business school programs. While it provides the technical knowledge available at other leading schools, the Start-uP MBA program supplements classroom learning with field work, learning hands on what makes successful business – particularly start-ups – tick and what skills are most important for building and managing new ventures.
For the business-inclined or tech-oriented dreamers with bright new ideas, the Technion’s new model of business education and start-up management might just hold the key to escaping the Silicon Valley “culture of death” where the saying “fail fast, fail often” unfortunately holds true. Otherwise, American entrepreneurs are going to have to face a 90% fail rate for start-ups for the foreseeable future.