Career Story: Vitaly Berezka, iQuartal

January 05, 2020

Global Executive MBA alumnus

What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?

In my early teenage years, my parents were sent to work in North Africa, Algeria. I went to school with pupils of different origins, cultural backgrounds, languages and religions. I think these few years changed my entire perception of the world. Starting from that time, I was always looking for a way to become “more international”.

Later in my first job at the consulting company Solev, I had the opportunity to work in an international team with extraordinary people from Germany, Argentina and USA. Furthermore, this experience defined my choice to study abroad in an MBA program.


Did you originally want to pursue a different career?

At my first university, I wanted to follow the scientific path and become a researcher. After graduation, I continued in a post-graduate program and prepared a thesis in the field of project management and optimization methods. As I started to work quite early (around 19) and did it in parallel with my studies, the new and interesting ventures convinced me to sacrifice my scientific career for the business one.


How and why did you come to work for ARDEX GmbH, your former employer?

It was “accidentally” planned. When applying to EMBA program in Vienna University of Economic and Business, I was considering finding business opportunities with an international company in the near future. Right after graduation in USA, I received such an opportunity from my EMBA classmate. Thus, for nearly the last three years, I am a managing director of the Russian subsidiary of the global company.


What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree?

Generally, an MBA program helps you to structure your past professional and business experience and provides the opportunity to test your self-esteem in front of 40 executives, who interact with you for many, many hours. I have gained many good things from my MBA: exceptional academic knowledge, real international business experience, and the nice add-on of global thinking; most importantly, my MBA has formed friendships that will last a lifetime.

Finally, I have been promoted to the executive position in an entirely new industry. Nothing to complain about!


What was your biggest professional/personal success?

For a businessperson, I think an accurate valuation of success is the significant increase in revenue you have been able to achieve with your actions. As for the biggest personal success, I believe that wining the heart of the right life partner is definitely a case.


What are your goals for the coming year?

Our company has recently approved a new business development strategy and big investments in the Russian market. There will be many new opportunities and business goals for me to achieve as managing director.

In regards of career development, I would definitely want to work for a couple years in New York (maybe London or Singapore), where I could get a flavor of playing in the premiere business league. This was actually a comment from our GEMBA professor during our module in NYC: after 1.5 years of working experience in NYC, you are capable of doing almost anything business-wise. My goal in general is to continue the learning process in all forms of activity, roles and experiences.


What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Time. Time to acquire new knowledge or personal skills, like the ability to speak a new language or to manage the new complex vehicle, which you dreamed about. Time to travel and meet with friends and relatives, who live far away and with whom you can exchange positive emotions. These moments are the precious ones in the modern 24/7 “online” world.


What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

“Narziß und Goldmund” of Hermann Hesse was fascinating. “Atlas Shrugged” – I wish I read it at a much earlier age. The “Interstellar” and “Mr. Nobody” movies were definitely worth watching twice.


How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership?

I could characterize it in a quotation “Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé” (“You become responsible forever, for what you have tamed”) of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry from The Little Prince. I believe that recognition and trust between the people you work with or manage (i.e. the ones following you), are the core values of any business venture or people’s union. I respect the leaders, who carefully make business decisions not only based on figures and financial reasons, but also take how it will affect its employee’s future into account.


How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career?

Playing Lego with my daughter makes me forget about everything.


If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Mr. President or Mr. Musk…but I think the second!


Why would you recommend the Global Executive MBA of the WU Executive Academy?

The Global Executive MBA of the WU Executive Academy provides you with a unique possibility to step ahead in your personal growth; it increases your educational level and extremely expands your network. It gives you a very intensive and focused business knowledge from the world’s top faculty in USA and Europe. It immerses you in the environment of a truly executive and global business experience.

Despite the fact that the program requires a lot of your time and attention, you are still able to follow your business duties (part-time). Visiting and experiencing Russia, China, India and USA, at partner universities and Fortune-500 companies as well as having related assignments which must be completed with teamwork – these were the most interesting elements for me.

Also, I cannot fail to mention the location in Vienna, the most beautiful city of Europe, which makes the monthly commuting from Moscow easy. In addition, you study and socialize with smart, outstanding and unique executives from many countries and industries and with different characters; all this creates a synergy effect from the study, improves your personal skills and enriches your emotional intellect.


My mottoes in life:
Best or nothing!
I can laugh about:
Real life funny and curious stories.
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook…
The ones that my family demands.
I would spend my last money on:
Flight ticket.
In 20 years, I will:
Continue to learn from new experiences.

You can read more interesting career stories here.

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