Here’s a talk with Etgar Bonar, MBA candidate at London Business School who is interested in using his passion for science and his skill as a manager to work in the health care/medical devices industry. Thank you Etgar for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate?
Etgar: I was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel and ever since I can remember I was passionate about science, dreaming to be a scientist one day.
I cannot share much about my time in the army, but I can say that after finishing three years of service I got to the conclusion that even though I love science, I would be able to have a much greater impact if I would concentrate my efforts and abilities where science meets business – as a decision maker rather than as a researcher.
In order to reach me new defined goal I studied a double major degree in life sciences and management in Tel-Aviv University (Recanati School of Business). During my studies I worked as a research associate in the university’s biotech and microbiological laboratory and also developed a computerised Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) that calculates cost-effectiveness of pharmaceutical treatments.
After my undergrad I chose to work for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices and Diagnostics (the biggest medical device company in the world) as I wanted a role that would allow me to be business oriented but still further my scientific medical knowledge, and would later help me be admitted to a top business school.
Accepted: Why did you choose London Business School for your MBA studies?
Etgar: I choose London Business School for my MBA because it is the most international top business school in the world. I believe that as the world becomes more global, a truly international business education and network is very important – the world is becoming less American-centric and I believe a strong American network and education is not as good for business going forward as a global network and education.
Accepted: Which other schools did you consider?
Etgar: I haven’t applied to any other business school. I really wanted London Business School and because I applied at the third round I wanted to focus my efforts on getting into the school of my choice rather than spreading risk.
Accepted: If you could change one thing about London Business School, what would it be?
Etgar: The rent! Renting a place in central London is very very very costly. London is a great city to live and study in; there are tons of opportunities around and almost everyone important passes through London a couple of times a year, so great conventions and networking events are abundant. Some say that “NYC is the capital of the USA and London is the capital of the rest of the world…” – but it is very expensive!
Accepted: What is your experience like studying abroad as an international student?
Etgar: I love it! You learn so much about the world each day, working in close collaboration with people from all over the globe at the most international city is invaluable.
From the moment you start your studies the school tries to expose you to as much international stimuli as possible. For example, my first year study group, which is determined by the school and is a microcosm of the school community, consisted of: an American, Brazilian-Australian, British, Indian, Kazakhstani, Portuguese, and me, an Israeli. As each of us came from a different culture, work culture, sector and function, it was truly a challenge in the beginning to make decisions during simulations and assignments, especially when everything was highly time constrained. BUT, you learn quickly how to bridge gaps and to play to the strength of each other and to capitalize on these differences.
I believe that in the future most global companies’ C-suite and boards are going to look like these study groups and I know I will be ready to excel in such a diverse setting.
Accepted: Do you plan on staying in London once you receive your MBA or returning to Israel?
Etgar: I am planning on sticking around in the near future and further develop my global exposure. Eventually I want to go back to Israel and try to help local companies work abroad or help global companies capitalize on Israel’s human capital and innovation.
Accepted: As a second year MBA student, can you offer some advice to students who will be starting b-school in September?
A. In class: First and foremost focus on learning the tools and definitions; getting the business acumen and learning the stories and anecdotes is only secondary.
B. Working in groups: Be conscious that your goals there are to develop your people skills, cultural sensitivity and implement the tools learned in class.
C. Try to experiment and challenge your way of thinking and doing things during this 2 year break for perspective and personal growth.
Accepted: How has your experience in the Israeli Defense Force influenced your decision to pursue an MBA? Have any of the skills gained in service helped you in your studies?
Etgar: The self-discipline and strong values the army gave me have helped me throughout my career and the MBA. But, I don’t think one needs the army to develop such attributes, but rather one needs to aspire to be better and not give-up.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your internship at Johnson & Johnson? What measures (if any) did LBS take to help you secure that position?
Etgar: My internship in Johnson & Johnson took me to the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) headquarters in Brussels. There I was given responsibility to lead and develop the marketing strategy for two product lines of medical devices that via a catheter map, diagnose and treat issues with the conductivity of the heart’s tissue and therefore its pace. During my internship I collaborated with marketing managers, sales personnel and physicians throughout EMEA to understand and forecast the market’s dynamics and to develop a strategy to increase market share and revenues. It was great fun and it was exactly what I wanted to do when I started my MBA journey.
London Business School helped me a lot in securing this internship. First, by working with us on our CVs, cover letters and on being interviewed. Secondly, the school assisted by allowing me to meet the J&J HR personnel in various events run by the school and the school’s healthcare club, in which I am active.
Since then, and during my second year, I also worked for a digital healthcare start-up in London. The flexibility of the second year and being situated in the heart of thriving London allows students to continue explore and gain professional experience during their studies.
For one-on-one guidance on the London Business School application, please see our London Business School application packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for London, see London Business School 2013 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines and Tips.
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