Master Program

WHU Tel Aviv Capstone Module 2023: Alena

Intercultural Perspectives and Opening Student’s Minds to New Ways of Thinking in Tel Aviv

Alena Hoeldrich, a WHU double degree student, comes from a less traditional business education background, studying communications and design in London and living and working abroad for many years. When Covid-19 hit the world, her work turned digital, and she took on a managerial position at a start-up based in London; work she truly enjoyed. The end-to-end, do-all environment of start-ups spoke to Alena. Alena knew she needed to gain the educational background to pursue a career in this area.

Joining Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Management in Italy, which offered a dual degree program with WHU’s Master in Entrepreneurship, became a priority for her. She knew the intense start-up scene at WHU would offer her the network and connections she was seeking to advance her career and also offer her a glimpse back into the German culture and way of education, which had become less of a focus to her after living and studying abroad for a long time.

Alena joined the Part-Time Master in Management Capstone Module in Tel Aviv, a city known for its intense start-up scene in the last ten years, as an optional experience. An avid traveler, Alena shares:

“Tel Aviv was a bit under my radar, but I was pleasantly surprised!  The city is very young, with lots of energy.  There are skyscrapers, many languages, an impressive start-up and scaling business scene, and beach life in one town.”

Tel Aviv offered a full schedule for students. Alena visited many businesses, including the University of Tel Aviv, and had cultural-based programs. An impressive talk with Kevin Baxpehler of Remagine Ventures at the top of a skyscraper rounded out the highlights.  Focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Venture Capital, students had stunning city views and first-hand knowledge from a successful business partner in Israel.

As noted by other students, Alena noticed a solid military presence and the intense pressure that Israelis work amongst. Noting open and honest conversations with people of all cultural and religious backgrounds, she was impressed with their pragmatic, upfront nature. “Tel Aviv seemed to be a melting pot of many different cultures, at least on the surface,” Alena notes. 

These conversations added to her understanding of day-to-day life and working in a tense environment, making her aware of the differences in this country from a standard “Western” environment. These observations helped Alena look beyond the traditional Arabic perspectives she had gathered from working in the region previously.

With interests in a future in the Psychology of Leadership, specifically cross-cultural leadership, and most likely, pursuing a non-conventional career, Alena was also impressed with the Career Center at WHU. Her motivating conversations with other passionate leaders at the Career Center were a lasting impression from her time at WHU.

Alena reflects as she writes her second master’s thesis:

“The general international environment WHU offers, from students from countries as unique as India to professors from around the world with varied teaching styles, the experience at WHU has rounded out my education and given me a robust international network with a motivating environment to succeed.”

Alena knows her experiences in Tel Aviv and her time at WHU will carry her forward in what she calls a “boundary-less career,” a career she plans to design on her terms.