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From Investigative Journalist to Israeli Consultant: Meet Aviva Gat

My parents had been pushing me to go to business school since I finished my undergrad in journalism. I come from a family that collects degrees the way other people collect postcards or rocks, and my parents couldn’t quite understand why I had thought that a bachelor’s degree would be enough. I don’t think however that they ever thought I would end up eventually getting that second degree half way around the world.

When I finished my undergrad, I was ready to be a journalist like the ones in the movies, investigating corrupt politicians, breaking shocking news stories and using my skills to shed light on things that were important to me. I quickly found out that jobs like that don’t really exist, at least not for a salary that would allow me to follow my other dream of living in New York City.

I did, however, find a great job as a journalist covering corporate bankruptcy for a magazine on Wall Street. A little less glamorous, but I did get to write about Blockbuster, Kodak, Hostess and even the city of Detroit. (Yes, cities can file for bankruptcy, Google it.)

It sounds dull, but I found bankruptcy more interesting than I thought I would. Writing about it meant reading a lot of financial statements, combing through numbers and writing about corporate strategies and why they failed. I spend half my day talking to lawyers and business men and every day someone asked me: Did you go to business school? Do you have a law degree?

Meanwhile, I was getting tired of living in New York and decided to move to Israel. While I did pursue journalism here and worked at a high-tech reporter, I thought moving to a new country might be a good time to change career paths and start something new.

I chose to study at Tel Aviv University because of the great offering of classes, and the career center, which I knew I would use to help me figure out what I wanted to do while I pivoted from journalism.

The Sofaer International MBA program was interesting and opened my eyes to different things that I hadn’t thought about. It also gave me a new lens to view my experience covering financial bankruptcy, now that I understood a little more about what went into running a business.

The best part of the program was that it helped me find a new career that allowed me to use my skills that I acquired as a journalist and let me practice new abilities that I learned in my MBA.

I started getting interested in consulting during the program and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what consulting means: what do consultants do on a day to day basis? Do they just sit around and think about business things? Do they spend all their time meeting with CEOs and showing fancy presentations?

It turns out they spend a lot of time interviewing people, analyzing data and organizing all of that to tell a story that will help a client achieve some business goal. It seemed more similar to journalism that I had ever thought: a career where my job was changing every day, where I could constantly learn new things and even help people achieve something that they didn’t know how to achieve themselves.

After graduating from the Sofaer International MBA program, I started working as a consultant at Tefen, an Israeli Management Consulting Firm, where I can honestly say I have yet to have a dull day. My job has taken me to a factory in Dimona to a Kibbutz next to the Kinneret and many other places in between. Not only that, but I have been exposed to so many things that I never knew about before, and I am constantly learning about new industries and ideas.

Without the MBA program, I don’t know if I would have discovered this job opportunity, or had the confidence to change my career path.

Written by Aviva Gat, Tel Aviv University Sofaer International MBA Alumna

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