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…in Strategic Management
What’s the appointment? Mike DelPrete was appointed as strategy manager for online auction/trading company Trade Me.
What exactly does a strategy manager do? Mike’s job consists mainly of helping the company to grow its business across the country. “I look at external opportunities for Trade Me to either partner with, invest or acquire interesting businesses into the company.”
So what got him interested in the role? “My wife, two kids and I moved down here from the States a couple of months ago, so we pretty much just went looking for a job which is how this position opened itself up to me.” Mike comes from an entrepreneurial background, where he previously started and sold his own company called ‘Agora Games’ in New York. What interested him the most was being able to remain in his entrepreneurial mindset in a large organisation, as well as getting to work with other entrepreneurs and small start up businesses to help them grow.
So he left his company to move over and find work in New Zealand? “Pretty much. I started the company back in 2003 before selling it off in 2009.” Mike spent a few more years at his leisure after selling his company before moving down to New Zealand.
What qualifications has he attained? “Back in the States I picked up an Undergraduate Degree in Electronic Media and Management, and another Graduate Degree in Human Computer Interaction, both at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.”
Does having a distinct online/tech background make the role easier? “It definitely does. The online space is huge and getting bigger every day, so I think to really do a good job at this you’ve really got to live and breathe online.”
What are some of the challenges he faces in the new role? Mike’s old company was involved in the game industry so the change from working in the gaming industry to working with Trade Me has been quite a step. “I think it’s a challenge learning about a new line of business and learning the ins and outs on how the business operates on a daily basis, but every job change is like that.”
What advice would he give to someone entering the management industry? Mike prides himself on working alongside a passion. “Just pick a job you’re passionate about, and that applies not only to management jobs but everywhere in general. Even if its in a totally different industry than what you’re familiar with, as long as you have that passion then everything else will fall into place.”
What is his favourite memory from his time in the industry? “My favourite memory would probably gravitate towards the people and watching the team grow. We started in a small room with a couple of people at my previous company, then moved into a bigger office and by the time we got acquired there were around 40 people involved within the business.”
Where does he see the New Zealand tech/online industry going? “Well here in New Zealand it’s just going to get bigger. You don’t have to look far past the United States to see the direction of where things are gravitating towards.” Mike says that more and more people are using the Internet every day, which will only grow as time passes. “More people are going to be online, purchasing things online, and carrying out their daily activities online such as listening to music or watching online television.” Mike says he sees online activity becoming a more central part to people’s daily lives.