and WHU students team up for an extraordinary learning experience
of the Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration
at Tel Aviv University in Israel and WHU-Otto Beisheim
Graduate School of Management revel in a joint learning
opportunity in Israel.
Anette Samsioe, Arnd Krusche, Ina Spiess, Ari Gottesmann,
Eli Gabay, Yochai Zeid
the Kellogg School promised an International Executive MBA
program, it delivered. There now are world-class programs
in Canada, China, Germany and Israel. Who else besides Kellogg
offers students such diverse culture and an environment in
which to develop relationships that evolve into lasting friendships?
summer, students at all of the Kellogg School's programs had
the chance to meet at Live-In Week on the Evanston campus.
had questions about Israel's politics, culture and everyday
life. Then several students came up with an idea: "What if
we were to take this international experience a step further
and meet our new friends in Tel Aviv during January '04?"
abounded. Would it be safe? Many questions were raised, and
weighted probability functions were analyzed on Excel. The
decision to pursue this international meeting in Israel was
spurred by the excellent interaction between the Palestinian
and Israeli members of the Kellogg Recanati program, who have
lived through "The Conflict" their entire lives. So in January,
12 students from the WHU-Otto Beisheim Graduate School of
Management --- the Kellogg joint degree program in Germany
--- arrived in Tel Aviv as part of an elective program to
study behavioral finance. The class was taught by Professor
Thomas Lys from Kellogg and Professor Margaret A. Neale from
Stanford University. It was an experience we would not forget.
finance course was taught by both professors simultaneously.
The result was a lively and interesting lecture that provided
a steady flow of deep financial and psychological enlightenment
through the professors' compelling interaction. Who would
have guessed that a finance class could be so entertaining?
the Kellogg tradition, the Recanati branch threw a huge New
Year's party in honor of their WHU guests, complete with food,
drinks, DJ and an excellent show. After the "official" Kellogg-Recanati
party, the locals used their negotiating skills to persuade
the "hard-core party gang" from WHU to sample Tel Aviv nightlife.
They were so successful that the partying continued, skipping
from tavern to bar to dance club each night. The WHU crew
was amazed that a small city in the Middle East would have
so much to offer until the wee hours of the morning. Tel Aviv
is truly a city that never sleeps. (Watch out, New York.)
commented that one of the week's nicest experiences was the
"warmth and openness" of their hosts. If it wasn't for the
tight airport security, they said, they would have thought
that they were in London or Chicago.
hosts stretched the days to include far more than what is
commonly considered possible in 24 hours. WHU students got
to see such varied sights as beautiful residential areas in
Tel Aviv, partially crumbling buildings undergoing urban renewal,
upscale boutiques, Arab fruit stands and flea markets. One
moment the students felt like they were on a typical Mediterranean
holiday, while the next they faced the reality of military
checkpoints. They went from rational accounting to psychological
biases, and from hard work to partying. They encountered natives
with a laidback lifestyle and those devoted to religious fundamentalism.
Palestinians as well as Israelis are enrolled in the Recanati
EMBA program, this was a good opportunity for the German students
to acquire first-hand information about both sides' political
views and the region's conflict. The WHU-Kellogg students
came away understanding that both sides are tired of the conflict
and share a deep desire for peace.
end of the program, the Recanati students gave their guests
a guided tour through the Judean Desert, West Bank, Dead Sea
and Jerusalem, organized and guided by Recanati student Ari
began in Tel Aviv, where students piled into the Jeeps of
"Remy the Ranger," "Tzvi the Joker," "Yochai the Flying Barron,"
"Shuki the Giant," "Irit the Brave" and "Ari the Wildman."
On the way, we passed the legendary Green Line and saw "The
"Fence," which triggered mixed emotions for the Germans, whose
own nation had previously been divided. Their Israeli and
Palestinian counterparts expressed what it means for them
to live in a divided country today.
minutes we made it past the rolling hills of Jerusalem to
the West Bank and into the magnificent Judean Desert. We slowly
climbed to the top of the strategic Har Montar, the highest
mountain in the Judean desert, overlooking most of the access
routes between the deep canyons leading from the Dead Sea
and Jordan to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah.
Har Montar we descended into the Kidron Valley, passing Bedouins
raising sheep in the desert as they have done for the last
3,000 years. The Bedouins use hand-dug wells to gather water
as it runs off the surrounding mountains during the winter
floods. This water has to last the Bedouins and their flocks
until the next rainy season. We agreed that the Bedouins could
probably offer an interesting course at Kellogg about capital
resource preservation and utilization.
wandering camels watched from a distance as our caravan bumped
along in the barren desert, passing scrapped tanks that rested
in piles of windblown sand.
scrambled over a remote hill when a yawning canyon suddenly
appeared and the light of the copper domes of the isolated
and majestic Mar Saba Greek Orthodox monastery shimmered in
the sunlight. St. Saba and his followers built the immense
structure more than 1,500 years ago as a bastion for some
500 Christian monks. Talk about a logistics nightmare! Next
time Kellogg needs an operations case study they should look
at this as an example of how to provide food and water for
500 people living in the middle of nowhere.
the monastery, we snaked down to the Dead Sea — at 400
meters below sea level, the lowest point on earth. We watched
as the sunset bathed the mountains of Jordan in a pinkish-purple
light. Finally, the Jeeps roared into a parking lot on the
Dead Sea's shore. The WHU students piled out and raced for
its cool waters, with their Recanati hosts just behind screaming
warnings about not getting the salty water in their eyes.
We all jumped into the water — and floated! It was impossible
to dive or sink. Some of us opened newspapers and read while
floating serenely on the water. The Israeli students discovered
that their German counterparts were experts in a variety of
different "beach disciplines," such as mud wrestling, water
ballet and body painting.
finishing our mud pack and mud wrap beauty treatments, we
headed to Jerusalem. The Jeeps rumbled up Mount Scopus, where
we caught a breathtaking panoramic nighttime view of the entire
city. The 600-year-old walls of the Old City and the Dome
of the Rock, the third holiest shrine to Islam, glistened
as the cool night air descended.
drove to the Mount of Olives, where the WHU guests had the
opportunity to see where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the
Mount. Within minutes our convoy arrived outside the Jaffa
Gate at the entrance to the Old City. The Germans were surprised
to hear that the current entrance was built in honor of Kaiser
William II, who visited Jerusalem in the early 1900s.
tour of the Old City began with a visit to the Arab shouk
(bazaar), located between the Christian and Jewish quarters.
The WHU students, assisted by their Recanati friends, began
to test their negotiation techniques learned at the Kellogg
School. We established BATNAs as the bargaining heated up
for everything from flavored tobacco for water pipes to Christian
relics. The local merchants had never seen anything like it!
With our spoils inhand, we joyfully marched on to visit the
Via Dolorosa, the church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Muslim,
Christian and Jewish quarters.
strode past the 2,000-year-old Roman cardo (market) and down
to the Western Wall, Judaism's most renowned holy site, we
were all afforded a breathtaking view of the Dome of the Rock
and the site where Mohammad ascended to heaven. The WHU visitors
learned that the Dome of the Rock sits on the site of the
former Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans more than 2,000
took time at the Western Wall to pray for world peace, wealth
and good grades before reluctantly heading out of the Old
City for dinner. At the restaurant, the Arab waiters greeted
us with warm smiles and spectacular service. Our table was
decked out with dozens of Middle Eastern salads, which we
washed down with local wine. Next came the lamb, veal and
steak that rivaled the best restaurants in Chicago.
such a great week it was hard for the WHU and Recanati students
to part. But we chose to view it not as "goodbye" but rather
"see you in Hong Kong," as we made plans to meet for another
joint-study week in May.
agreed that it is imperative these exchanges continue and
be expanded for the benefit of Kellogg School students around
the world. Plans are already in motion for Israeli and Hong
Kong students to meet their counterparts in Germany next year.
The next step is to give American students the opportunity
to travel and study with their peers around the world. As
one Israeli student said, "Our doors are open." We look forward
to this exchange becoming a Kellogg tradition and a fixed
part of the Kellogg curriculum, community and experience.
Thank you, Kellogg, for everything. We hope to see you all