Dan Givol is a Global MBA candidate with the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
Originally from Israel, Givol worked for a number of start-up companies in the technology field before entering business school.
Why are you pursuing an MBA?
I grew up in a start-up family. In 1984, my father ran one of the first start-up tech companies for educational technology in Israel. He envisioned that kids would use technology in schools instead of textbooks—and that was 30 years ago. That entrepreneurial spirit instilled in me the belief that if you dream big and work hard, change is possible.
I know it sounds naïve, but I want to change the world. I knew that business is a great vessel for change.
To me, an MBA is a great opportunity to develop one’s leadership skills. It’s about being able to find your passion and the people who will share your passion. Hopefully, when you come out of the program you will know more about yourself.
What brought you to Johns Hopkins?
I first got into technology working at a start-up that was acquired by PayPal. After the acquisition my team was let go and I joined Pangeatools, an education technology startup, during its bootstrap days. I worked for the company for 3 years, until it was acquired. At that point I decided to launch my own start-up. Although it was not as successful as the previous two, it was a great learning opportunity for me. For my next phase in life I wanted to take my game to the next level. I started looking for schools that would allow me to take my value system and the skills that I had and help me to build something bigger than I could do on my own.
In this process I found that the biggest factor in success or failure is the people you share the experience with and the network you are a part of. If you find people that are passionate about the same things you are passionate about, it is much easier to find a project to work on and to create impact.
In my search for the right community, “business with humanity in mind” really clicked for me. I said, OK, this is where I want to be. Carey is a new school, and as a result it allows a unique opportunity for the students to define its legacy. I especially love creating or building new things, so this is a perfect fit for me.
As a student, you can tell that the people who come to work here want to build something big. It’s not just another business school. The point is to build a legacy, and to change the way business is taught and practiced. I believe in this, and I see myself as part of that mission. This school offers an opportunity to build something meaningful. So far, I am really happy with my choice.
What are some of the things you are working on?
My first passion project was a hackathon in cooperation with IBM and the Baltimore City School District to promote STEM education. I recruited 12 amazing students from all over Hopkins to serve as mentors to 50 high-school students, and received great support from Carey with many people volunteering to help achieve this important goal.
I am also involved in Innovation Factory, a movement within Hopkins that attempts to bring students from all across Hopkins together and encourage them to build disruptive solutions and innovative start-ups. Our challenge for this year is to encourage entrepreneurship among people who may not know what that really means. I believe this is the next big thing at Hopkins.
We want people to think “outside of the box” and take a risk. It doesn’t have to result in a business, but if we can bring together the brainpower of Hopkins and come up with cool solutions, then we put ourselves in a very competitive position.
I would love to hear somebody say they came to Hopkins because of Innovation Factory. That has a lot of value to me. If someone says I want to come to Carey because of the people who go there, or I want to come to Johns Hopkins because of Innovation Factory, I’ll know I contributed to the legacy of this school.