Starting out at André, Michael Sebag has since spent more than 19 years as Managing Director of Mekatrade. A staunch advocate of multiculturalism with a passion for stories, he shares with us his experience and vision of the world of trading.
#1/ What is the best moment you can remember in your career?
It’s difficult to say… When you’re trading, the best moment is when you set up a business. You get to know your subject inside out, you buy, sell at a good price and calculate your margins as best you can. In short, it’s the satisfaction of knowing that your business is perfect. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s a real buzz! It’s the feeling of having thought something through in exactly the right way, in a way that has helped you to get ahead… I love doing business, and moments like those are far and away the best you can experience.
#2/ If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
Commodity trading is a great job. When you talk about ‘commodities’, everything starts connecting, from geopolitics to economics, politics, finance and international affairs. Be curious about everything, all of the time! Stay up to date by checking the news every morning. Analyse and connect information – that’s how you set yourself apart!
In my view, it’s vital to challenge and question yourself, too. In this industry, many people make the same mistake: they’ve won the same tender for over two years, they stay in their comfort zone, and they end up losing out to a faster, smarter competitor… But that’s in part what makes trading such a great profession to be in – businesses are open-minded and nothing is set in stone.
#3/ Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
I always tell the young people who work for me that it’s better to hit the same place 50 times than to hit 50 different places once. In other words: be patient and persevere.
#4/ What do you enjoy the most in your day to day job?
Organising people and coordinating the shipping, trading and back office teams. Our role is to ensure that people can work together within an organisation. It’s important that there is interaction, discussion on the trading platform – that’s how managers can add real value, coach their teams and remedy any glitches.
#5/ If you had to do it again would you choose the same career path?
Yes! I would do exactly the same job – nothing else interests me!
I was born to work with people from very different cultures and I love it! I’ve had a ball negotiating with Egyptians for several hours over two dollars.
#6/ Where is your favourite place on earth and why?
There’s nowhere specific. I love beautiful places – ones that make your jaw drop, have a unique atmosphere and lead to interesting conversations and encounters.
#7/ How could you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?
Excellent! Ampersand World is the only company that looks at whether a candidate fits in with a company’s mind-set, its corporate culture and staff, before thinking about whether they are a good fit for the job, so you can recruit great candidates who bring significant added value to the company.