Jason Bieber, 22
Jason Bieber is a business school student who loves getting outside the classroom. He’s also deeply devoted to Israel.
These two passions came together when he decided to create OFEK, a club at New York University’s Stern School of business that gives Stern students consulting gigs with Israeli firms looking to grow in the United States. The club has over 50 student members and is working with seven Israeli clients. For example, eDealya, a social media advertising company, hired Bieber to establish and oversee a New York sales office. Six other students worked there on commission.
“The idea came from sitting in class and leaning about business cases and not having the opportunity to work on them and do real consulting,” Bieber said. “The idea was to give students the opportunity to interact with the Israeli business world.”
Bieber himself is about to graduate, and is set to begin a job at Accenture, the consulting firm. He isn’t headed straight for the Israeli start-up world because he doesn’t want to work with one specific company; he would rather continue as a consultant, leaning from all the clients he works with.
“This will give me the background I need to work with Israeli start-ups, or whatever I want to do in the future,” he said.
Importantly, OFEK has also enabled other members, like the ones who worked for eDealya, to gain valuable work experience that can lead to other things.
That is no small triumph in today’s economy, which is especially challenging for recent graduates, even those with business degrees. Competition is fierce even for a chance to do unpaid labor for a potential employer.
“If the students are doing good jobs,” Bieber said, “they’ve gotten paid internships.
But Bieber also had Israel in mind when he started the club. He spent a year there after high school, as well as a summer in college as an intern at an accounting firm, and he wanted to show Stern students another side to the Jewish state.
“A lot of people on campus think of all the conflicts going on,” he said. “This enabled us to show everyone how great the tech sector is in Israel, and to interact with it in a different way: to show them, some religious, some not, everything that’s going on in Israel.”
Foodie: The first thing Bieber usually does when he visits the Jewish state is eat, he said. He’s especially enamored of Papagayo, an all-you-can-eat South American steakhouse. TV critic: Bieber checked out the new Showtime sitcom “House of Lies” because it’s about the consulting industry, but came away offended. He wanted to like it, but considers the show an insult the profession.