Real Humans of MIT Sloan’s MBA Class of 2021
Amir Ben Jonathan, MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Economics and Accounting, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er-Sheva, Israel
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Financial services, 2.5 years, (EY Israel), Healthcare services, Financial Analyst 2 years (J&J Israel), Combat commander, Artillery corps, 3.5 years (IDF).
Why business school? Why now?
I wanted to build a strong network and meet people from all over the world from different backgrounds and experiences that would inspire me in the future. As an accountant, I thought that business school would provide a transformational opportunity, helping me better understand what it takes to run a successful company from other perspectives than finance. Also, I felt like it would hone my leadership skills while also giving me the opportunity to take classes on topics that I’m curious about (marketing, strategy).
Why MIT Sloan? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Innovation has always intrigued me. Although I began my career in finance, first as an analyst at Johnson & Johnson and then in Ernst & Young’s high-tech auditing department, I increasingly found myself drawn to the technology side of the industry. Dealing mainly with Fintech and Blockchain companies in my previous job has cemented my passion for these fields, so I decided to explore it more deeply during my MBA experience. MIT is very tech-oriented and provides you with many valuable resources. Sloan’s unique focus on entrepreneurship and technology and emphasis on experiential learning gives me the opportunity to experience first-hand the field and meet with like-minded students with whom I may someday collaborate.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I have a very good background and understanding of the tech industry in Israel, the startup nation. Working with companies of all stages brought me great knowledge about the needs and obstacles each company may encounter. This knowledge along with my finance background and my network are useful for people looking to work on their own venture.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I’m an amateur author. In my high school years, I worked as a reporter for the most successful teen magazine in Israel.
Post-MBA career interests?
Following my MBA, I plan to join a major bank or a tech player, where I will specialize in large and complex financial transactions, learn best practices for building an effective business strategy and understand the nature of large corporate transactions.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I concentrated on quality rather than quantity of the applications. Also, I explored every school carefully and thought what an added value I can bring to each. Before you apply, talk to alumni and students about their experiences, to make your choices accordingly. You may be surprised and understand the unique DNA that compose each institution.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Start your networking with alumni and current students as soon as possible. These are the best and the most valuable resources you have for your target school. Most of them would be happy to help, but sometimes, due to the time differences and workload, it may be difficult to coordinate.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
My first “no” came pretty early and got me down. I delved too deeply into what I did wrong instead of putting it behind me and moving on. You must always remember that the process is highly competitive and can be discouraging. Also, different schools look for different candidates, so it’s not all about you. Be ready to accept “no,” and, if it happens, encourage yourself and move on with your head up to the next destination.
What is your initial impression of MIT Sloan’s students/culture/community?
Sloan MBA is a relatively small program, that allows you to get to know all the students in the class intimately and make strong connections. Sloanies are the nicest people you will ever meet! They create a welcoming community that celebrates its diversity all the time. There are endless opportunities to bond with your classmates, and learning about their backgrounds. For example, as part of the pre-semester trips (Pre-f(x)), we could choose to travel to one of 20 different destinations worldwide, to better explore other cultures and meet with other Sloanies before the beginning of the academic year. During the C-f(x) events, we are exposed to different groups and cultures on campus on a weekly basis.
One thing you have learned about MIT Sloan that has surprised you?
MIT Sloan greatly encourages integration with the other departments at MIT including meeting with students from the other faculties. For example, as part of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation trek, we visited the various labs on campus and were exposed to the latest breakthroughs made at MIT. The Pitch2Match enables all MIT students give a 60-seconds pitch about their future venture, to encourage other students to join them and support their ideas.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I’m anxious about prioritizing tasks and managing the recruiting process, getting everything I can out of the material and maintaining vivid social life in between. You always feel that you’re missing something since there are too many opportunities and too little time. The core semester is very intensive at Sloan. At the same time, lots of exciting events are happening at once.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Travel across the country and developing closer relationships with my classmates. one of the main reasons I came to business school was to meet other people from different cultures and backgrounds. Also, I’m looking forward to participating in the action learning labs, to collaborate with local startups and companies and gain more insights from this practical experience.