Rob Berk ’20 didn’t celebrate his graduation from Hamilton like most other students, though that might not come as a surprise.
Having founded his first company during his sophomore year and co-founded another during his junior year, Berk has regularly demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit. So, for him, launching his book Why Wait?: How I Jump-Started My Entrepreneurial Journey Before Graduating Into a COVID-19 World – And How You Can, Too! seemed like a natural way to cap off his college experience.
Why Wait? details how Berk stepped into and established himself in the business world, all while pursuing a college degree. The book includes the story of how he built and ran his companies, navigated business in addition to his Hamilton education, and began working with the man who introduced him to entrepreneurship, Dave Kerpen, a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, and global keynote speaker.
Hometown: New York City
High school: Hunter College High School
“I wanted to let other college students know that there’s a lot more that we can all do, and that college is a really important time. I want to share with people the experiences that I had and that I did,” Berk said, describing why he wrote Why Wait?
One of those experiences — sharpening his writing skills — is what drew Berk to Hamilton in the first place. “Hamilton, in particular, is really interested in the emphasis on communication and writing. At the time, I didn’t know what field I would go into. I definitely wouldn’t have thought of entrepreneurship or starting two businesses while I was in school, but I knew that those kinds of skills that Hamilton really prides itself on would translate across any field.”
Berk began developing ideas for Why Wait? in the summer of 2018. At first, he only had a few, disparate thoughts on what the book might feature, but by his junior spring abroad in Stockholm, Sweden, he managed to put together a full outline. He then spent the last few months of his time at Hamilton writing most of the book, polishing it off just in time for him to earn his diploma.
Now that he has graduated, Berk plans to dedicate his time to managing his two businesses. Solvit, his first company, provides advertising, consulting, and branding services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Apprentice, which he co-founded with Kerpen, connects college students and recent graduates to entrepreneurs, helping facilitate a relationship like the one between Berk and Kerpen.
In response to COVID-19 and increased food shortages across the country, Berk will donate half of the profits he receives from Why Wait? sales to Feeding America. He emphasized that trying to help others has helped make him a successful entrepreneur.
“I think the best for everyone is when you put other people first,” he said. “I think whatever I do, I want to have other people in mind.”