Some of the students of the TU Darmstadt course have been writing to me to comment that they are not in fact ONLY concerned about grades and that some of them work while in school…its always tricky and unfair to generalize. Certainly on the flip side, there are Israeli students that don’t work and many that are VERY concerned about their grades (though I try not to accept those…). So in a sense, the comparison is not only based on gross generalizations but also between two incomparable groups. The one was a master’s program 5-day required course and the other a very selective year long program, that involves about six months of application process.
For this year’s class, that six month application process is coming to a head in the beginning of August when we start our Summer Induction Program (SIP) of Zell. The ten day program involves lectures, workshops and interactive activities meant to give candidates an opportunity to get to know the program in terms of content, pace, culture…and a chance to get to know prospective team mates. Its rather a brutal process, but has its moments. Many of the candidates wonder what we are looking for as we try to narrow the pool of 33 candidates to about 20. While there are many different criteria we consider, and it would be hard to pinpoint one, I would have to say that we are looking for people who would able to make the best use of the amazing opportunity the program affords…and it really comes to leadership. Not necessarily the loudest or most dominant, not the one that seemingly takes charge…leadership in its essence; someone who takes initiative, ownership, and responsibility, sees the bigger picture and can stir people around her or him.
There is a distinct relationship between entrepreneurship and leadership in academic research. The donor to the program, Sam Zell agrees. In fact, Zell believes that the crux of the program is about building the future business leadership of Israel.
But what happens when you get twenty leaders into a group. One of our alumni, Aviv Garten (Zell 5) put it nicely when he said the program was about “leading leaders.” Always a challenge! and on that note, nice article about the program and IDCjust published in Leaders Magazine. (And on a different note, young entrepreneur, Ben Lang, who I am hoping will eventually find himself at Zell after his army service, made a nice mention of us as well in the context of entrepreneurship education).
In any event the Leadership Challenge is on…As we head into SIP2012, ventures proposals submitted, faculty and alumni on hand to help in the process, very excited and nervous candidates on their mark, we are looking for the next group of leaders for Zell 12 (2012-13). Stay tuned!