Choosing happiness ultimately leads to making the right decisions in life and in business.
Carmudi, which is Nigeria’s leading online vehicle marketplaces, is currently run by one of Nigeria’s most fascinating Managing Directors, Amy Muoneke. Amy has decided to share her story, detailing what makes her tick, how she got into the start-up business and what she believes will keep her going.
The rise in new business opportunities has brought along more chances for brilliant individuals to shine. Gone are the days where CEOs are middle-aged men stuffed into their suits and ties. Young entrepreneurs and CEOs are creeping out of every corner, creating very competitive, fun and innovative environments to work in.
If we take a look at the booming e-commerce sphere in Nigeria where the African Internet Group (AIG) operates a number of ventures including Jumia, Lamudi, Kaymu, Jovago, Hello Food, Easy Taxi and Carmudi; AIG requires young and innovative individuals to head their ventures all over Africa. AIG companies are present in over 25 countries, and have over 150 individuals who serve as the country representatives for each of these ventures.
Energetic and confident; Amy does not give off the appearance of the head honcho of the fastest growing online premium vehicle marketplace in Nigeria. Her sense of style strikes one as a hipster with an eccentric African touch. Her reason is clear, “I like breaking the rules, changing lifestyles and mind-sets”, while eating her pack of chips.
So, how did Amy Muoneke assume the role of MD of Carmudi Nigeria?
She started off on a science track at her secondary school in Nigeria. As most Nigerians know, sciences are usually biased towards those students who have shown a certain level of IQ. Everyone thought she would grow up to be a medical doctor but she never quite bought into the idea of medicine and instead started her college education with plans to eventually go into Pharmacy. She signed up for a major in Biology but as soon as she got involved in Student Government her mind began to sway.
At Student Government, Amy was responsible for the affairs of international students at the university level. Her responsibilities quickly expanded to the State level where she represented over 400,000 students on the Health Advisory Board for Universities in the California State University System. There, she was one of the youngest representatives.
During her time at College, she also served as the Vice President of Finance for Student Government- a position which came with huge responsibilities. The Student Government’s budget ran well over a million dollars to fund programs such as educational events and research.
To make the most of this opportunity, Amy and her team at the Student Government championed investing a percentage of the budget funds into small services that students could access at discounted rates. They made a handsome return and were able to fund more student activities and programs. It was during this period that Amy decided to take on Economics as a minor.
With these experiences, Amy went ahead to get a Masters degree in Business Finance in London, and once this was completed came back to Nigeria to continue her career.
One of the driving forces behind her decision to grow her career in Nigeria was her recognition of the huge amount of demand for services in the country. “If you build a 100 hospitals in Nigeria, you would need a 1000 more because the demand is so high”, she says.
Amy’s mentality is one of humility and hard work and this has helped her achieve whatever milestones she sets for herself. She said, “I get what I want, and I believe if everybody tries to get what they want and not settle for less, the world would be a better and happier place”.
When asked her opinion on women Managing Directors and entrepreneurs in general, Amy observed that women in positions of power faced similar challenges, and should take those challenges as opportunities. In her words, “The purported limitation of being a woman in a sphere dominated by men is a very strong advantage for me”. “There is an Igbo saying that roughly translates to ‘the person who is most hungry is the one whose hand is on the plate first’.”
Staying hungry and determined is very important if you want to be successful in the world, and these are some of the things that have formulated her ideology in business. Alongside this, Amy also suggests that contentment and happiness are very important. “I may not be as successful as I ought to be, but I am very satisfied with what I have been able to achieve at this time. When bigger opportunities present themselves, I’ll become even hungrier for them and take on the challenges they come with.”
To conclude, Amy advises women to choose happiness, because once you are happy, you are in a better mood and position to make the right decisions. Also, she advises women and people in general to go for what they want. “If I want a job at a company, I will dress up and stand at their gate every day. After one week, a superior officer will notice me and ask me what I want”.
Your approach to what you want will give you your desired results in life.
Written by Kingsley Ampaw, a contributor to Carmudi, a tech start-up that is backed by one of the largest Internet Incubators, Africa Internet Group.