Mischa interns at Challenge Partners and is from Vancouver, Canada.
I never seriously considered coming to Israel to work. I mean, I was going to school, getting a professional degree, many of my friends had already secured jobs at prestigious law firms and had already ‘checked-out’ of their last year of real school. But something struck me as not so crazy on a cold, snowy November afternoon – instead of doing what is expected of you, what all your friends are doing, and taking the easy route, why not make an adventure and get some real work experience at the same time? So I sent out an e-mail to test the waters. Within a few hours (gotta love that time difference) Jordana from Career Israel had gotten back to me. When I expressed that I had a few concerns and wasn’t sure if the programme was right for me, she happily introduced me to my personal internship coordinator, Maya, who put to rest any doubts that I had. Everyone I spoke to along the Career Israel supply chain was warm, helpful, and enthusiastic. This attitude was infectious.
A few weeks later I landed in Israel, a little worse for wear after a long flight, but nothing a good night’s sleep wouldn’t fix. We started by taking a trip to Jerusalem and getting to know each other. It was a fun and busy week: we got to know the Shuk (open-air market) in the centre of the city, we toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and we visited the Kotel (Western Wall), where even as we were leaving at midnight, there was still so many people, so much energy, and so much life. Still, I was anxious to get back to Tel Aviv and start work. After all, this is what I left my final year of school for, essentially putting my entire life on hold, and leaving my friends and family in the process. For me, however, the opportunity here was just too good to pass up. Back at home, breaking in to the Venture Capital (VC) industry is tough. Very few people really get a chance to start out in VC. In fact, it’s kind of considered something that only well-established, successful old-men do. In Israel, so I had read, the VC industry was second only to Silicon Valley. The moniker actually travels quite well, or so I found out. Israelis call it Silicon Wadi: a concentration of hi-tech companies in and around Tel Aviv. This dense network of domestic and international, large and growing companies is bolstered in part by a well-developed VC ecosystem. At some stage it’s been responsible for helping to develop everything from Google and Intel, to start-ups you never even heard of but will probably be thing next big thing. And it is in that ecosystem that I work.
My work at Challenge Partners helps the company build a fund that will eventually finance home grown tech companies. This includes research, market analyses, writing reports, and putting together presentations that will impress the socks off of an international group of perspective investors. I like the fact that, if I do my job well, a few deserving entrepreneurs will be able to help the world with their technology.
When I think about what I could be doing now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be, or anything else I’d rather be doing. I’m getting real world skills, taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, working with great people and making wonderful friends from around the world.
Every day is a Challenge. So rise to the occasion.