Wayne Darren Berger – Alumni of the Month – December 2017

Full name:
Wayne Darren Berger

IE program studied and graduation year:
Global MBA 2011

Current position:
Managing Partner of iShack Ventures / Chairman of iShack Innovation Consultancy / Co-Founder of Venture Network South Africa

Proudest achievement:
I feel very grateful for my diverse life experience, so forgive me for not highlighting one proudest achievement but rather a few fond memories that give me the pleasure of achievement, when I think back: From a sporting perspective: I have always been a sport fanatic, with my favorite sport being football/soccer. When I was 20, I played a season as a semi-pro in the reserve team for a South African Premier League team. From a philanthropy perspective: My first business post my investment honours degree was a contemporary investment business that amongst other services, helped charities with their fund-raising activities. We raised over R1million for charity in our first 2 years of operations. This was a significant milestone for me.

From a career perspective: I have been fortunate enough to successfully incubate a few businesses in my professional life as well as launching Venture Network in South Africa in 2014. Many businesses failed and some have succeeded but the learnings from being elbows deep in the subject matter has been priceless. Today I consider myself an expert in technology business bootstrapping and my position, Managing Partner of iShack Ventures (our technology venture builder) makes me proud.

From an educational perspective: My IE MBA. My late Grandfather Morris always told me “ They can take away your house, your car, even a limp, but they can’t take away your education, your knowledge and your experience”. Completing my MBA with IE is the pinnacle of my educational career.
But, most importantly, from a meaning perspective, my marriage to my wife Nicole and my son Jake are my proudest achievements.

Careers Tip:
As axioms, we must understand “Life is difficult and if it was easy, we would be bored“. Secondly, “We are all a work in progress”. So knowing the above:
1) Toughen up and roll with the punches.
2) Focus your energy on getting clarity on what you actually want. (Not what others want for you)
3) Once clear, then, as the late Jim Rohn put it, “make sure that your set of the sail” is pointing directly at what you want.
4) Become resilient. Lastly, when you are faced with a difficult decision, remember, Its win/win. “ If you win, you win and if you lose you learn.

Favorite quote, or your own:
“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.” – Viktor Frankl

Fondest memory from your time at IE:

Our travel session in Shanghai. It was a great chance for myself and my class mates that travelled to spend time together, while learning about and experiencing Chinese culture, missioning around the city and attending lectures at Fudan University.

What are your aspirations for the future?
We live in exponential times and this excites me as the opportunities and possibilities are endless. In iShack Ventures, we are always trying to make a massive positive impact by introducing our skillset and resources to the industries we participate in. However, we prefer not to focus on “disruption”, which is a term widely used but rather sector “enrichment”.
Through our EduTech efforts in EarlyisBest.com, we plan to teach over 1Million children the alphabet and mathematics by 2021 and bridge the gaping hole in African education, where children struggle to advance from (ECD) Early Childhood Development into the basic education main stream.
In addition, through our PropTech Initiative Instant Property (instantproperty.co.za). We plan to be the biggest SaaS provider to the African real-estate industry by 2021.

How did IE make an impact on your life?
When I think of my IE learning experience, two areas illuminate when I consider the positive impact IE has left on me:
The friendships: I was very fortunate to have a great group of down-to-earth, open-minded individuals study with me and I feel that they have enhanced my life by bringing diversity into my network and a place to stay in every country :).
Time management: above all other internal growth attributes from my experience at IE, the ability to manage my time between running my innovation consulting business that I founded in 2008 and the strenuous time requirements relating to our course and group work taught me that we all have a lot more time in the day then we realize. Managing your time effectively is a key factor in being progressive and since concluding the MBA I have been able to fill the vacant MBA times slots with activities that add value to my life and lay dormant prior to my MBA.

What did you like most about Madrid?
I must mention before the MBA, I had not travelled to Madrid and had very low expectations for the city. Now, I think Madrid is a phenomenal city. I really enjoclassmateght time energy on the streets with the bar/tapas culture. I was introduced to this culture on my first day of arriving in Madrid by my French class mate Christophe Le Mao. He had been living in Madrid for some time and he offered to show me the ropes. I gladly accepted and it was the ideal way to spend my first night in Madrid.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced, and how did you tackle it?
Definitely entrepreneurship has been a massive challenge in my life. Starting your own business and investing both your time and capital into the business sounds glamorous and exciting but in reality, after the initial shine fades, the difficulties and risks involved in running your own shop is not for sissies.
I tackle these day-to-day challenges with an attitude of resilience. I remember my “”Monday/Thursday Rule”, which in short; one Monday evening after a horrendous day at work, where anything and everything that could have gone wrong, did. I sat on my patio feeling stressed and uneasy, wondering if it was all worth it. It was a painful moment.
Fast-forward to that same week Thursday evening. I was once again sitting on my patio after work but the mood was different. All the worries I had on Monday had been sorted and I was feeling positive and enthused. I realized at that moment that all Mondays stressing and worrying was futile and if I knew on Monday what I now know on Thursday, I would never had worried so much-

Song which reminds you of your time at IE:
Song Name: There is a song called Cape2Cairo by a South African pop/hip-hop group called koldproduk. My team and I used this song for a video presentation we created during our global MBA induction week in Madrid. The task was to showcase the landmarks and experiences we enjoyed in Madrid. The words of the song “however hard I fall I get right up and thats what keeps me happy persevere and keep me strong no matter what the world throws at me.” felt fitting for our group as we were all working and studying and consequently adjusting to our new intensely demanding lifestyle.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A meaningful life.

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