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Starting from Scratch at TAU’s Lowy International School

Tim Kogan

 MBA student Tim Kogan is starting his career anew in Israel after leaving Ukraine

Tim Kogan is a new oleh from the now-war-ravaged town of Donetsk, Ukraine, attending TAU’s Sofaer Global MBA program thanks to University scholarships for Ukrainian students. 

Tim fled Ukraine for Israel with his wife and three daughters just before the war broke out. His background is in investment banking and entrepreneurship, and the MBA is actually his second graduate degree. He has over 15 years of experience in the Ukrainian investment world, but “when the war started my career and professional relationships got sidelined,” says Tim.

However, Tim says the thing he’s proudest of is his family: his daughters bring him great joy and have kept his hope alive. It was his love for them which, in a twist of fate, brought him to Israel.

Premonitions of War

After his youngest was born in 2020, Tim had a gut feeling that he needed to leave Ukraine. He went to a psychologist to try to understand the feeling, and during an therapeutic exercise, he had what could only be called a premonition. “I had a vision of war. I didn’t really know what I was seeing, but I knew it didn’t feel safe for my kids.”

He decided to trust his instincts and made aliyah. Luckily, his parents and sister were already living in Israel, so he had help on arrival. And this meant that, miraculously, his whole immediate family was in Israel by the time of the invasion.

A True Israeli

To Tim’s surprise, he felt at home immediately. He felt he’d always been a part of Israeli culture without even knowing it. “I was always more direct than the people around me, and people thought I was weird. Now I know I just had chutzpah!” He was even making café shachor (Turkish coffee, like Israelis drink it) in Ukraine without knowing it was a real brew method.

And of course, he has kept his eyes open for new career opportunities. When he discovered the Global MBA program at the TAU Coller School of Management, he saw a way to break into the Israeli finance market, build connections, and get some of that Israeli oomph that makes startup founders so prolific in the TAU alumni pool. “I’m taking a big risk,” he says, “but TAU seems like the perfect place to bet on.”

Starting a new program and a new career from scratch could have been a real strain on his family, but thanks to the Sofaer Global MBA Fund and the TAU Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Graduate Students, Tim’s tuition is paid almost entirely by the University.

Although his family was lucky, they’ve still suffered a great amount of loss back in their home country. But Tim is looking to the future—his own and that of his field. He says that as private equity and more responsible approaches to capital raising become more commonplace, investment banking will have to catch up. He hopes to be a leader in that development.

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