Knowledge Exchange

Unleashing Global Business Beyond Classroom - A Journey through Israel's Startup Ecosystem

Daryl Wong (Class of 2024)

The International Field Trips offered by the HKU MBA programme provide students with a global business education by venturing beyond the classroom. These trips expose students to diverse cultures, industries, and business practices, fostering a deep understanding of global markets and enhancing their ability to navigate the complexities of the international business arena.

In this interview, we have the privilege of speaking with Daryl Wong, a current HKU Part-time MBA student from the Class of 2024, who recently embarked on an international field trip to Israel. Daryl shares his reflections, lessons, and insights from this unique journey, shedding light on the transformative impact of these international experiences on his MBA education and personal growth.


  1. What motivated you to join the international field trip to Israel?

I knew that Tel Aviv was a technology hub, and I wanted the opportunity to witness it firsthand and learn about the intricacies that came to define the startup ecosystem of another country, especially because I work in the tech industry myself. I also wanted the chance to expose myself to a variety of new experiences, cultures, and perspectives beyond the typical classroom environment.


  1. Can you describe a specific company or organisation that you visited that made a strong impression on you?

Rather than a specific company or organisation, it was actually Tel Aviv’s unique startup ecosystem that left the strongest impression on me. What surprised me most was how close-knit the tech community was and how supportive they were of each other’s endeavors. I was told that “everyone knows someone who’s made it” and that fellow entrepreneurs treated each other as peers instead of rivals, unlike the startup culture in other parts of the world. If given the opportunity, an Israeli start up founder would not hesitate to help a fellow entrepreneur, and I found this to be a rather refreshing mentality for an industry that tends to be rather cutthroat at times.


  1. What did you enjoy the most during the trip and why?

I found interacting and engaging with local entrepreneurs and business professionals to be the most rewarding part of the trip. The people of Israel have a unique entrepreneurial spirit. They grind, hustle, and work harder than anyone, yet they manage to stay grounded and true to themselves in the process. Israelis are blunt but warm-hearted, playful but challenging, and I had an amazing time learning their history and culture and how it has come to define them and the distinctive startup community they’ve built.


  1. What were the most significant lessons or experiences that you gained from the trip?

The go-to-market sprint was particularly impactful because it gave us the opportunity to solve an actual business problem for a real growing startup. Additionally, it was a very valuable experience learning to collaborate with fellow students whom we had only recently met to produce a coherent business plan under high pressure, timeboxed constraints. On a personal note, this exercise also gave me the chance to present to an audience of venture capitalists and startup founders, a departure from my usual audience of colleagues or classmates, which proved to be a nerve-wracking but ultimately rewarding experience.


  1. What advice would you offer to future MBA students who are planning to participate in a field trip to get the most out of the experience?

Actively engage as much as you can with HKU TLV Innovation Hub staff and any local entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and businesspeople you may come across. The working sessions, seminars, and go-to-market sprint are all valuable but the true benefits of this programme will be derived from immersing yourself in the local startup culture and experiencing what makes Israel such a unique incubator for innovation.