Tel Aviv University, Electrical Engineering, 2009
SanDisk Corporation; Boston Consulting Group; Israel Aerospace Industries; Intelligence Corps, Unit 8200, Israel Defense Forces
“It took me all of my first year to understand what's right for me.”
For Israelis, military service is an important obligation. But for Revital Gabay, MBA 2015, it was also something of a revelation. "I come from Binyamina, a small town of about five thousand people," Revital explains. "Suddenly, at eighteen, I was exposed to so many interesting things, people, and opportunities." She became an officer and served for four and a half years. "I stayed because I liked it. I worked with teams of engineers to solve ‘unsolvable’ technological problems."
If there was a downside to her success in the military, it was Revital's fear that she might not have comparable impact again. "I felt as if I had peaked at twenty," she says. But after completing her engineering degree and accepting a position at Israel Aerospace Industries, she found a new way to assert influence. "I didn't know anyone on my team. I didn't know who I could go to with questions. I was just going to my desk, doing work, going home. But when I started talking to other people, they said they felt it was a problem for them, too. I wanted to do something about it."
Revital broke the ice, and helped build a true team, by organizing activities ranging from informal hikes and dinners to more structured professional events in which colleagues discussed their projects. "We changed the way we related to each other," Revital says with pride.
At HBS, Revital has again built connections—this time, among mothers. With a toddler son, Bar, on campus, Revital recognizes some of the unique challenges parents face in the MBA Program. "We were random people from different sections," she says of her mothers group. They began by sharing tips and support with each other, and are now expanding their network by reaching out to mothers at other local schools, such as M.I.T.
Revital came to HBS "to learn more about how things work in the real world" and to clarify her own sense of mission. "I thought that the minute I came here, my problems would be solved," Revital laughs. "But it's more complicated than that. Trying to find a future in a new country requires a lot of effort and focus. It took me all of my first year to understand what's right for me. Now I think my future is in tech, where I can have an impact on the people I work with, and through the products we create."