Israel Discount Bank & MAX accelerate skill development of data scientists

Dutch ambassador visits talent program class and
at the same time opens new office in Tel Aviv


Israel Discount Bank (IDB) and MAX (former Leumi Card) have decided to educate more data scientists and data engineers in the MIacademy AI & Data Talent Program (AIDTP). This decision was made by both leading Israeli companies, just six months after the first Tel Aviv based class finalized the bootcamp part of the AIDTP. A team of the Dutch embassy visited the new class to look at the unique Dutch-Israeli collaboration in building AI capabilities across the world. During his visit the Dutch ambassador also officially opened the new office of MIcompany in Tel Aviv.


Figure 1: The set-up of the three-year Artificial Intelligence & Data Talent Program (AIDTP)


Major change has been realized in developing data science driven use cases

Last month the 24th class – and the second Tel Aviv based class – of the three-year AIDTP kicked-off, starting with a six-week bootcamp (see figure 1 and photo 1). The class consists of data scientists and data engineers from MAX and IDB. Lena Dubilier, Chief Data Officer at MAX: “As MAX we want to grow and keep serving our customer in the best way, by becoming a data-driven company. To develop and implement changes in this complex business, we need to invest in our people, and build their data analytics capabilities.”

Sharon Mintz, Head of the Advanced Analytics department at IDB: “We already see a major change in our team, which has developed their own projects after finalizing the bootcamp phase. Especially in their methodology and approach towards developing use cases, from validating business need and sizing, to data and model development and finally to business application”. Max and IDB also participatie in the previous class of the AIDTP, which kicked-off at the end of 2018.


Photo 1: The international participant group of AIDTP class 24


Participants can obtain up to 38 certified badges in the three year AIDTP

During the three years, the AIDTP covers four competence areas to create sustainable value with AI: (1) impact & opportunities, (2) leadership & change, (3) machine learning & statistics and (4) data & technology. The participants of the program can obtain a total of 37 or 38 certified batches – depending on their specialization for data engineering or data science – divided over the four competence areas. In order to obtain a badge, the participants must pass specific exams. An important component of the bootcamp program is a bi-weekly presentation of case results to the managers of the participating organizations in the program – amongst which a 48-hour case on an actual business problem of a participating client. This month not only the managers but also the Dutch ambassador, Gilles Beschoor-Plug, and his team attended the class’ open presentations moment (see photo 2). Beschoor-Plug after the presentations: “The Dutch way you teach about AI and communication by presentations is unique and inspiring”.


Photo 2: Bi-weekly presentation moment of class 24


Unique Dutch-Israeli collaboration in AIDTP development

In the development of the AIDTP the Israeli strengths, in terms of deep AI knowledge and experience, data tech and pragmatism, are combined with the Dutch strengths, in terms of econometrics (statistics), leading and transforming corporates and education. Typical badges that are developed in Israel are about Complex and Bayesian networks, Image Recognition and Handling unstructured data. Examples of Dutch badges are Use case identification & Use case design, Lifetime duration models and Time series forecasts. Arje Sanders, director of the Tel Aviv office of MIcompany: “We see that the Dutch way of transforming large organizations with AI in and outside of Europe, can be of huge value to Israeli corporates”. Although all the badges are developed in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv, they have been taught in over 25 countries in 2019. The Dutch ambassador, Gilles Beschoor-Plug: “If we combine the knowledge from both countries, we can be of huge value to the world. And I think that is also our responsibility”.


Photo 3. Dutch ambassador Gilles Beschoor-Plug officially opens the new office of MIcompany in Tel Aviv


Photo 4. Beschoor-Plug congratulates founding partner Marnix Bügel with the new office


Ambassador officially opens new MIcompany office in H-building in Tel Aviv

Besides attending the presentation moment of the class, the Dutch ambassador also officially opened the new office of MIcompany in the H-towers on Ha’arba’a street, Tel Aviv (see photo’s 3-4). Marnix Bügel, founding and managing partner of MIcompany: “This new inspiring office allows us to further shape our mission: helping people and organizations prosper through AI. We now have the optimal location to host and train our (international) clients. Furthermore, we are now present in the business centre of Tel Aviv, which makes the collaboration with our Israeli partners and clients much easier”. The H-towers are located in the Sarona-area and were designed by famous Israeli architect Moshe Tzur. The building was recently finalized and hosts leading Israeli Data and Technology companies, such as Playtech, Mellanox, Perimeterx and AEYE and Israeli VC’s, such as Fortissimo Capital, Viola Ventures and Meron Capital.


Figure 2: The portfolio build-up of AI education programs