Ryan Gold, ’21, sits at his makeshift home office with his baby blue shirt buttoned up to the top. His eyes bounce back and forth between his two screens as he turns off his brand-new monitor as he finishes up his consulting project. He apologizes for his “bad lighting,” as he’s still figuring out his new work set-up. He straightens his posture and gives a thumbs up.
His eyes wander around his New York City apartment as he looks back at his college years. The Lehigh alum spends his time frantically refreshing his Microsoft Teams, as he works for Ernst & Young as a technology risk consultant. A few months ago, his days were a little different.
He smiles while remembering his old routine. Spending Sundays hunkered down on the sixth floor of Fairchild-Martindale Library. Joking around with the Johnny’s Bagels employees. Food fights at the chapter house.
His list of extracurriculars is far from short. But he said his new normal wouldn’t be a possibility without the TAMID Group. The national, student-run, non-profit organization with a chapter at Lehigh focused on building students’ social and professional networks through hands-on interactions with the Israeli economy. The organization works with Israel because of the country’s reputation as the “Startup Nation.”
While he didn’t shy away from other clubs, Gold credits his post-graduate success to TAMID, yet remains grateful for his Lehigh education. Gold served as the director of consulting for TAMID.
“Now that I am working full-time, I see correlations to the principles developed through teamwork and client communication daily,” Gold said.
Although it is Israeli-based, TAMID accepts members regardless of their religion or culture. The organization consists of members from different colleges, majors, political views and religious beliefs.
Gold can pinpoint the impact of TAMID. He believes that a background in TAMID translates to higher job placement rates and more significant degrees of success in their post-graduate life. Gold said his experience working with real professionals from Israeli start-ups pushed him to succeed in his interviews. As he works for one of the most competitive companies, Gold believes he is where he is now because TAMID forced him out of his comfort zone.
“Trust me — I know the job hunt isn’t easy for anyone,” Gold said. “Unlike my classes, TAMID gave me the confidence to excel in interviews, networking events and even in my every day conversations at my current job.”
Gold offered Israeli start-ups his perspective on what their company needs or how they should proceed in their early stages of growth. He said his new skillset prepared him for his post-graduate journey in the consulting industry.
Gold’s former classmate, Romy Finkel, ‘21, shares the same gratitude. Instead of frequently checking Course Site, Lehigh’s course management system, she taps the refresh button on her Bloomberg Terminal. Finkel’s new life is equally as impressive. She works for Goldman Sachs as a global market analyst.
“My LinkedIn would look a lot different without TAMID,” Finkel said.
Finkel, the former President of TAMID, spent her senior year promoting the organization to the student body since COVID-19 halted campus activities. She said her experience with TAMID goes down as one of the highlights of her college career. As one of her college highlights, Finkel said TAMID offered her an experience outside of her Lehigh curriculum.
“It exposed me to a new group of people and a new perspective on my major that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten at Lehigh,” Finkel said.
Current TAMID president Leeza Khalif, ‘23, joined her freshman year after hearing about the group from other upperclassmen on campus. As a computer science and business major, Khalif gravitated toward learning more about the intersection of business and technology.
“Everyone uses TAMID in their own way because each member leaves with a different experience,” Khalif said.
The membership process starts with a 10-week educational program where new members learn about Israeli businesses and start-ups, investing and consulting. Then students decide between the two tracks offered: consulting and investing, or both.
Students in the consulting track offer pro-bono consulting to Israeli start-ups. The relationship is mutually advantageous as companies receive recommendations from students, while students gain real business experience.
Students on the investing track gain experience in the investment industry. They conduct capital market investment research, prepare stock pitches and manage an investment fund.
Sometimes the students’ ideas come to life.
Khalif and her group shared an incredible moment. Her eyes lit up while she talked about her recent accomplishment. The start-up they worked with used their work a week later when presenting to their investors. Khalif said one of the reasons the shareholders invested was based on their group’s research.
Maytal Balaish, ‘22, the director of outreach and relations, felt the consulting track aligned with her passion. She said the opportunity to work directly with Israeli businesses and start-ups in a team environment seemed like her best fit. During her consulting project, Balaish attended meetings with ProdOps, a consulting agency for IT and software services.
“The project provides us with a unique opportunity to experience the operations behind an Israeli start-up and gain a different perspective of business operations across different cultures,” Balaish said.
Students graduate with an expanded social network consisting of Lehigh students they may never have met. Finkel said she graduated as a more open-minded and business-oriented person because of the hands-on team environment.
Finkel’s fellowship program experience set TAMID apart from other organizations. She was given the opportunity to intern for a financial technology start-up in Tel Aviv for eight weeks during her sophomore year summer. She believes her experience impacted who she is today. She met new people in a new place while learning a new language and immersing herself in a foreign culture. It’s an opportunity she said she’s beyond grateful for because she doesn’t think there’s another organization on campus with the same possibilities.
Balaish said she appreciated the ability to stay connected with Israel, a place she holds close to her heart.
“Israel is a second home to me,” Balaish said. “My connection to Israel is so important to me, and I get to keep that connection because of TAMID.”
As a student-run organization, the impact of TAMID on students is the result of its own work.
While all those involved reap the same benefits, Gold said the most important benefactor is the students. The students kickstart their own professional success while growing the success of the companies they work with in Israel.