He talks with us about his Greek heritage, finding his path at UniMelb, and the ambition to start his own business.
Vasilios Berbatakis is a 22 year old Masters of Management (Marketing) student from Melbourne, Australia. He completed his undergraduate degree in business adminstration from RMIT (Melbourne) with distinction.
"I learn from individuals who had nothing but were able to turn their business into global conglomerates"
Q: How has family had an effect on your upbringing?
A: I’ve grown up surrounded by a big, fat, loving and caring Greek family so without my family, I can’t live. They sacrificed a lot so I could gain an education let alone live in the world’s most liveable city, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Q: What’s something people wouldn’t know about where you grew up?
A: Melbourne is a sister city with Thessaloniki in Greece. The Greek population here in Melbourne is the most outside of Greece. There’s a saying, “Athens, Thessaloniki, Melbourne”.
Q: Where do you get inspiration?
A: My inspiration is diverse. It doesn’t matter to me who you are or what nationality you belong to for you to have influence in society. I learn from individuals who had nothing but were able to turn their business into global conglomerates to solve crucial problems that exist.
Q: Describe yourself in three words?
A: Creative, Patriotic, Proactive
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Q: Is there a philosophy that describes your outlook on life?
A: “Big results require big ambitions” – Heraclitus
Don’t limit yourself to something small when you can dream of the unimaginable and work towards the unthinkable
Q: How did you come to that philosophy?
A: Understanding that I came from a family that had nothing when they came to Australia other than opportunity, it would be unwise to just try and get by.
"They showed me that a sense of materialism is not and should not be a solution of someone’s happiness"
Q: What gives you the biggest sense of pride?
A: Knowing that I have the ability to inspire the peers around me is something that I cherish. I get a great sense of pride when I see the advice I gave come into fruition.
Q: What is something constant in your life that helps keep you grounded?
A: The act of being humble comes from not knowing what situation you will be in tomorrow. So why gloat today or tomorrow because you never know when you might need someone’s help.
Q: If you could re-do one thing from your undergraduate degree what would it be?
A: Not to have undermined internship opportunities for further study when you could have being doing both. I prioritised working part time at the cinema when really, I should have been studying and working part time in industry.
If you like this profile on Vasilios, we think you may also like reading about Mirko Ancelotti. Click here to read.
Q: Where is a place you have travelled that changed your perspective?
A: Recently I was able to travel to a village in Greece to see some family. The amount of affection and love they showed is something that words cannot describe. They showed me that a sense of materialism is not and should not be a solution of someone’s happiness. But instead, how strong your family unity is.
Q: Why did you choose Australia for a masters degree?
A: Staying local for me was pretty important. I missed out on BCom at Unimelb by 1 mark so I worked hard to finally get the chance to study a masters degree here. Funnily enough, I attempted a Masters of IT here but I did not last a month. The algorithms were completely out of my league so I came back and challenged myself in marketing.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: By then, I would like to have started my own business that is revolutionising a traditional practice. It would definitely be global so whilst I think it would be headquartered here in Melbourne, locations could change to Silicon Valley if that’s what the investors demand. I’ll only be 27 years old then so I’d like to think I’d be married or at least engaged. If all else fails, a late professional football career doesn’t sound too bad. Liverpool FC all the way!
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