Tsahala David of Israel had done it all. She'd designed a revolutionary technology, raised venture capital to launch a business around it, and grew the business from startup to success in five years. But she thinks she could have done it differently — faster, leaner, and just plain better. Which is why she's spending a year at the MIT Sloan Fellows Program.
“I started Softlib Ltd. with a strong technology background,” David says, “but everything else I had to learn on the fly. The more I was involved in management, the more I realized that if I only had an organized way to learn everything — sales, standards, finance — I'd do a much better job.”
Softlib Ltd. is a sort of Google for programmers, a search engine and a knowledge management system that provides tech professionals with a quick, streamlined process for solving hardware and software problems. Softlib's customers are large banks and other organizations with massive, intricate, critical computer systems.
David says that as Softlib grew, the financial statements became more and more complex and she was understanding less and less about them. But neither she nor her accountants had the time or the resources to bring her up to speed. She quickly realized she needed an MBA.
But in the early days of a startup, David notes, it's impossible to step out of the fray and get management training. As soon as the company was stabilized, however, that's exactly what she did. And she knew where she wanted to go.
“For anyone working in technology, MIT is the number one place in the world,” she says. ”So from that standpoint, it was a pretty simple decision. I knew MIT was where I wanted to be and management was what I needed to learn, so I just showed up at MIT and asked at the admissions office, ‘Do you have a program designed for people like for me?’ ”
By “people like me” she meant an experienced executive with more than a dozen years of experience. “It was important for me to attend an MBA program with people who are at the same stage in life, so the MIT Sloan Fellows Program was the perfect fit.”
And she says she's getting the intensive management training she once craved. “Focusing for an entire year in such an intense environment makes you understand things faster and better. After only three months, I'm miles ahead of where I was when I entered the program.”
One of her favorite aspects of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program is the global teamwork.“Having the chance to leverage the strengths and fortes of each culture is a tremendous benefit of the program.”
David says she's able to work with citizens from all over the world and from countries and regions she'd never have an opportunity to encounter otherwise. “The opportunities are endless.”
David has also had the opportunity to collaborate with Karim Fadel, a Sloan Fellow from Lebanon, on a presentation to the School about the Israel-Lebanon conflict.
“The audience said they learned so much, but so did I. It was an illuminating experience and working with Karim was wonderful!”