Armand Ezerzer, the founder of Mambo Commodities, is a self-made man – one of those company directors who started with nothing. 23 years ago, he founded the company Mambo Commodities, which has its head office in Paris and has recently set up in Geneva. The company now operates in 5 African countries having invested heavily in developing the agro-industrial sector in West Africa. Here, Armand shares his vision of trading with us.
#1/ What is the best moment you can remember in your career?
The day I sell! For me, the best moment is still to come – it’s in the future. We’re growing little by little and over time it’s becoming more beautiful and rewarding. The best is yet to come – I’m sure of it!
#2/ If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
Don’t be consumed by the financial markets – focus instead on the physical side of things. All young people dream of doing big business and selling securities, thinking only of the financial markets. But we shouldn’t forget that these are still only a tool. To build a career in trading, you have to start with the physical and get to grips with the flow of commodities. After that, you can focus on the financial instruments designed to manage and secure these flows…
I would add that it’s important to seize any opportunities to travel abroad and challenge yourself by discovering and opening yourself up to other cultures and people.
#3/ Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
The work of a salesperson begins when their customer says ‘No’. If you ask for a pair of grey trousers in your size and the salesperson is out of stock, then you’ll probably want to leave that shop. A good salesperson will keep you there by offering the same pair in black. In this industry, you need to be able to think beyond the initial request. We have to sell an environment, our capabilities. Too often, we’re just given a gross price, so we have to be imaginative and persuasive, to propose and present other objectives. A good trader is a good salesperson.
#4/ What do you enjoy the most in your day to day job?
Dealing with different cultures and people! Generally speaking, when you operate on every continent, you end up spending a lot of time abroad and you have to adapt to the cultures, mores and history of others. What you gain from this ‘otherness’ can be incredibly rewarding. You learn something every day. I find that if you work in a closed market, in a specific geographic region or on a particular product, you end up going round in circles.
#5/ If you had to do it again would you choose the same career path?
I love my job – it gives me a real buzz. I would even go so far as to say that it’s the only thing I know how to do. I would make exactly the same choices, even though I feel that times have changed. Nowadays, the chances of succeeding without any capital are limited. I come from an older generation that was able to make its own way with no money and had great freedom to grow and develop.
#6/ Where is your favourite place on earth and why?
I have two places, in fact. A tiny village in Italy, where I have special ties. And, from a professional perspective, Bobo Dioulasso. I love this place; I love the people. We set up our first factory there, followed by a second. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but the people are just fantastic – I really feel at home there.
#7/ How could you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?
We have a ‘budding’ relationship, with lots of new developments and great prospects for the future!