Youssouf Carius explains why he left a promising career in France to work in Côte d’Ivoire before setting up Pulsar Partners
THERE are times when I reflect back on my life and wonder how, having grown up in one of the poorest parts of Côte d’Ivoire, I somehow managed to work my way up the corporate ladder to become head of an Investment Fund at the age of 30.
While I appreciate that it is difficult to account for all the influences that propel people towards success, I can safely say that the frantic quest for perfection in whatever I do has played a large part in the way I have progressed throughout my professional life.
Undoubtedly too, many people have mentored me along the way and helped me to progress from the time I left Toulouse School of Economics and started working at Business Efficience, as a statistical economist at the age of 21.
Fortunately for me, in 2006 when I started working for Business Efficience, the company had already been in existence for ten years and was a leading player in the heart of European technological innovation, in management consulting.
A year later, I joined IRI (Information Resources Inc.), a global leader in strategic consulting on GMS products for industrialists and distributors. At 23, I was promoted to project manager with responsibility to manage small teams working on projects for some of the world’s biggest players in the industry such as Coca Cola, Nestlé, Unilever, Carrefour and Auchan.
Working at IRI sharpened my confidence and skills to understand how major world class companies operate. I also began to appreciate the importance assigning teams of experts to deal specifically with issues for which they are best qualified. Many a time I saw those experts performing miracles!
My learning curve also involved role plays in which I put myself in the shoes of my bosses. What did they expect of me and what did they anticipate my reaction to be in any given scenarios? These kinds of role plays were incredibly helpful and made me appreciate that my ambition goes beyond my formal responsibilities at work.
My next move up the corporate ladder was when I joined Accenture (one of the world’s greatest consulting firms), where I found myself rubbing shoulders with some of the best experts in the business. I worked on a wide variety of projects and also contributed to the development of Accenture’s strategic vision on Big Data issues.
Although my time at Accenture was relatively short, it was invaluable in terms of widening my knowledge base and career options. Working there also gave me an insight into how a company with 250,000 employees can manage to maintain consistence through adhering to tried and tested management systems, which are however open to new ideas.
For me, Accenture remains the best example of what large corporates can achieve through a well stratified business model. Performance is at the heart of the company’s values and this is reflected at all levels of its organization.
Indeed, the fact that current employees and former employees, refer to themselves as “Accenturians,’’ reflects deep rooted foundation of the company’s corporate culture.
In 2013 I decided to return home to Ivory Coast to join Bloomfield Investment Corporation, the first credit rating agency in Francophone Africa, as Director of the Economic and Market Analysis Department.
Working closely with the company’s founder Stanislas Zézé, I helped to shake up the market by applying timely analysis of the African economies. Bloomfield Investment started widening its scope in size and its growing importance in the African financial markets made it indispensable.
Promotion followed rapidly. I was initially appointed Chief Economist, then Vice-President of the rating agency.
Working alongside Zézé, we revolutionized the culture of the financial information and promoted transparency among the financial market players and governments.
Of course I was proud of the fact that my reputation was rising as I approached the ripe age of 30 and that media coverage of my work was at its highest.
In 2016 I felt that I was ready to part company with Zézé’s agency and to launch an investment fund of my own.
My vision when I launched Pulsar Partners, was of a young management company, with the aim to serve the best companies in the country in the financing of the real estate sector and startups.
Pulsar Partners’s goal is to invest in strong value-added areas in Africa and in other regions of the world. We are building strong portfolios with our partners and are working towards a win-win situation for everyone.
For me personally, Pulsar Partners is the beginning of a new life. You could say the company is a concentrate of everything that I have learnt, absorbed and observed throughout my entire career.
As an entrepreneur, I am deeply committed to changes that add value to people’s lives and safeguard our environment. I believe that progress is fundamentally linked to those who are around us and that collective responsibility benefits all of us at all levels.