1. What was your first job?
My first job was consulting.
2. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
When a seller or a buyer tells me that they did not like something on the site.
3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
Probably my parents, because of the way they raised me. They basically gave me the feeling – and this is going to sound like a cliché – that there is no such thing as impossible. You just need to find a way to make it work.
4. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
Do not take no for an answer.
5. Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?
On the job. One hundred percent on the job – or on a sports squad. If you are playing a team sport, it is a great way to learn about leadership.
6. How do you relax?
I play squash.
7. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?
I usually wake up around 6:00 and do a workout. Then I check my mails around 07:00 for the first time. I go into the office around 08:00, 09:00 because I need some alone time when I am responding to emails from the day before.
8. Your favourite job interview question?
I love asking them about the best and worst customer experience they’ve had.
9. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?
They should not focus on the solution, they should focus on the problem. I feel like there are a lot of people who are trying to solve problems that do not exist. And I think that it is really, really important to validate the problem that you are trying to solve. And the way to do it is going outside and talking to people.
Sefik Bagdadioglu is based in Nigeria and the managing director of Jumia Market, an e-commerce site for buying and selling new and used goods. Jumia Market forms part of the Jumia Group, which has a presence across Africa.