Koby Cohen

Koby Cohen

Koby Cohen

Nationality: Israeli
Full-time MBA, 2014
Pre-MBA: Major, Israel Defence Forces, Tel Aviv, Israel
Post-MBA: Founder & Managing Director, Omnia Discovery, London, UK
Current industry: Education
Transitions made: Function, Industry, Location

Before joining the Cass Full-time MBA, I was a Major in the Israel Defence Forces’ Engineering Corps, spending nine years in front-line units as a platoon commander and, later, a company commander.

As much as I enjoyed my military service, I wanted to advance my career and increase the options available to me. I was especially keen to develop my leadership and management skills so that I would be able to make an impact in the business world. Most of all, I wanted to build my own business.

The Cass programme was ideally suited to my needs. I was drawn to the one-year intensive course, the London location, and the opportunity to bridge knowledge gaps while gaining a diverse perspective on business and management. As I prepared to embark on a journey towards new professional horizons and heights, my expectations were high.

I was immediately struck by the intensity of the MBA programme. I had heard about this from Cass alumni, but it was only when I started to plan my schedule and prioritise my weekly tasks that I realised how demanding my studies would be. That said, if I had questions or needed advice, the faculty were both engaging and accessible – some of them even kept in touch post-graduation, to follow up with my professional progress.

Thanks to my previous career, I was sure that I didn't have a lot to learn about teamwork. I was wrong. My study group contained a mix of students with diverse industry backgrounds and varying professional experiences. Being surrounded by so many different cultures and nationalities was a new and very enjoyable learning experience.

The core modules in the early part of the programme introduced me to fundamental business concepts and helped me to translate my military experience into business terms. For me, the international electives were the pinnacle of the MBA, and the catalyst for my career transformation. Experiential learning is an integral part of the programme as a whole, and the opportunities we had as students to travel abroad and witness the practical application of many of the business theories and models we were discussing in class proved truly inspirational.

In fact, the international electives sparked the idea for my first business in the UK. Being able to choose electives in countries like China, India and the US can dramatically change the way MBA students – the business leaders of the future – understand and interact with the global community, so why not increase the range of options and experiences available to them?

I devised a business plan to design and deliver intellectually, logistically and culturally challenging international programmes to Israel and Palestine. Four years later, Omnia Discovery operates in 12 countries around the world, bringing to life the most advanced business theories and curriculums through experiential learning, and helping business schools create the most memorable moments for their students.

Not only am I still in touch with many of my classmates, I’m doing business with some of them today. A year after I established Omnia Discovery, I co-founded Norse, an award-winning men's lifestyle brand that was created with a friend I met during my MBA. I also co-founded Tekton International, a real estate development company based in London, with another Cass MBA student. The company is mostly developing new builds and conversions of residential properties.

These businesses started as conversations over coffee, during long nights of studying together for exams or in networking events organised by the School. Without Cass, my ideas would not have become reality.