Nir Yahav: Israeli Students to Join the Military to Help Them Land Jobs in Silicon Valley


The Israeli military may provide a great route to a lucrative career in Silicon Valley for Israeli students, according to an interview with a former Israeli navy officer; now a high-flying program manager in Silicon Valley

Published on March 11, 2019

While most students in the United States begin college at the age of eighteen, or shortly after graduating high school, the course for students in Israel varies due to their national obligation to serve in the Israeli military.

For men, the minimum is three years and for women, it’s two years.

To many parents in the US and other western countries, this seems like a harsh reality. In this side of the world, college is traditionally associated with parties, alcohol, and independence from your parents. In Israel, it’s a very different story.

However, in light of a recent interview with Nir Yahav, a Stanford business school graduate and former Israeli naval officer, more parents may find themselves encouraging their children to join the military, if only for the advanced training in the many hot fields that are booming in Silicon Valley.

Nir Yahav was an Israeli naval officer for six and a half years, where he received the Top Admiral Award for best operations and weapons officer. This got him promoted to Deputy Commander after only three months, instead of the standard twelve months that it takes other officers.

Not long after leaving the navy, Yahav began working at Intel, which eventually lead to his position at the Israel Electric Corporation as the Head of Business Development. There, he was part of an award-winning team that collaborated with Cisco and other European companies to build the first-ever fiber optics technology infrastructure across the entire country.

This billion dollar project took years to develop but is expected to bring in over sixty million dollars in annual revenue in less than five years. The success of this massive undertaking earned him and his team the Bonus of Excellence Award from the Government Companies Authority Head, one of the most prestigious and rare awards to be given to an individual.

Yahav now works as the New Growth Program Manager at Applied Materials, a fairly broad position in a very forward-thinking Silicon Valley company.

In a recent interview, he revealed that his military background armed him with a wealth of knowledge and many transferable skills that helped him with his high-flying career.

He cites leadership skills, having a goal-oriented mindset, and being direct as three key factors in this, all of which he learned in the Israeli navy.

Yahav’s story may provide inspiration for other Israeli students seeking to follow in his footsteps and find their own lucrative career path.