Work at FerroMac International
Alex Amorgaste – third generation trainee
“I always wanted to become a diplomat growing up. It just never occurred to me working in trading might suit me just fine. Now I’m being diplomatic every day: negotiating between different cultures, getting in touch with different clients and suppliers. It’s so much more than just your average buying and selling experience.” Alex Amorgaste, after successfully finishing the FerroMac traineeship, has found his passion while learning on the job.
Never a dull moment
“Life goes fast when working. Mornings are for negotiations with contacts in China, India, Turkey. All over the world really. In the afternoon, Latin American markets open and right away you are contacted by your next big opportunity. You learn so much on your first year. And even now still, day to day, international steel business just keeps on surprising you. How big it actually is. How volatile. How important geopolitical factors are: political rebellions, hyperinflation, skyrocket freight prices. Every factor is equally important and could potentially influence the current market position.”
“As a sales person you need to be sympathetic. Being aware of what your client, supplier, banks and insurers really need. Even if this is just a quick conversation and being genuinely helpful. Order and structure is equally important, as well. Being on top of internal processes inside the company is also a must. You need to know what is possible in regards to financing, logistics, steel grades, etc., and what could potentially cause bumps on the road, or sea, for that matter. And oh, you should learn Spanish! This will help you tremendously in the steel trading business.”
Tips for milestones
“I was so proud to finally being able to negotiate my first order. Persistence is key, even when something sounds hard or you have to give it your all just to get that one small piece of information that will get you one step further in the process. The road might look long, but I assure you, it just gets more interesting and challenging. I just keep on progressing and I’m now looking very much forward to leaving for the Dominican Republic to visit clients!”
Eduard Van Ham – third generation trainee
“Insightful thinking, the structure of society and how to negotiate combined with finance, economics and some supply chain. ” Eduard Van Ham reflects on how going to law school combined with a 7 month Shanghai stay during his master in China-Europe Business was the perfect mix to start the FerroMac traineeship.
Common sense and bullet trains
“The days at FerroMac are flying by at the speed of a bullet train. A week is gone in the snap of a finger. It is such a big difference compared to the student life. Theory and practice go side by side. I’m really surprised by what I accomplished in such a short time, keeping in mind the challenges are much bigger. You will need a lot of persistence and perseverance while trying to get your first order on a brand new market. Just give it your all and use your common sense, as they say in my hometown.”
Winning the war
“I was insanely proud I closed my first order. It really felt like winning a war. We have a bell in the middle of our trade floor that we ring to celebrate every new order. I finally got the chance to use it and celebrate the first victory. I worked hard to get where I am now, but I also need to thank my great colleagues to help me get here and for patiently answering the million different questions every day. I really value the personal contact we have inside our company and with its partners, suppliers and clients. Sales is more than only selling goods. It is also investing in good personal relationships every day. This is just way more effective for business in the long run.”
“Don’t be scared to work hard, absorb all the knowledge, be exact and accurate. You will receive all the trust and business trips in return. Following up the loading of a big bulk vessel is incredibly fascinating, but can also be hard at times. You really have to keep your head and heart in place while you are connecting with different people from different cultures all over the world. A big chunk of stress resistance in the constantly changing business environment is indispensable, at least until they invent a crystal ball. It might sound like a cliché, but if you want a job that is both unique and not average at all, the steel trading world is the perfect match for you!”
Maarten Hawinkel – second generation trainee
“I followed my brother’s footsteps when I spent a year with a Bolivian family after high school. As soon as I get the chance to travel to Latin America for business, I’ll be sure to pay them a visit.” Maarten Hawinkel, trader trainee at Ferromac might just be doing that this Spring.
I love market dynamics
“Coronavirus. Trump’s love-war with China. Everything has an impact on our business. Understanding that impact and knowing how to deal with it, is what drives me most. That and learning from doing and from experienced colleagues is awesome. And you also know you’ll be traveling too. This is not a telephone or email business. It’s all about connecting in person. Persuasiveness.”
The I in Impact
“I didn’t make a single dime for the company just yet. But I know that I’ll be having an impact real soon. A lot more than any other person my age at Coca-Cola might have. You learn about geopolitical dynamics, negotiating, structuring your day, setting priorities, making decisions, working fast. And having fun while you’re at it. We all share the same drive and passion. Yet we’re all different.”
All the boxes
“Why did I join Ferromac? The job description really checked all the boxes. It’s as simple as that. I wasn’t really interested in the steel niche at first. But then I read an email from this friend of mine that triggered me. I called them and they said they didn’t do summer jobs. Months later, they contacted me to tell me about this traineeship. I was sold.”
Zoë De Schutter – first generation trainee
“The steel business might be a man’s world generally speaking. But at Ferromac, it’s different. You’re one of the team. Man or woman, it makes no difference.” Zoë De Schutter, now a junior steel trader for the African market, started her Ferromac career as a trader trainee in 2018.
Not love at first sight
“Steel trading wasn’t quite what I had in mind to build a career in. It didn’t have instant sex appeal. A friend of mine had written her thesis on the topic so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. And the fact is, once you get to know it, you love it. It has very interesting dynamics. Events like the coronavirus can have an instant impact on what you’re doing. Fascinating for a master in economics like me.”
The I in International
“One thing we all have in common at Ferromac is our love for international business. I always loved traveling. In my master years I spent six months in Hong Kong with Erasmus. And now with Ferromac you really get to go places and explore. You’re not just sending emails to Beijing or making phone calls to Lagos.”
A taste of Africa
“I remember my first trip to Western Africa very well. Me and my senior trader, first stop: Burkina Faso. Not quite your palm beach island. It was exciting and stressful at the same time. Especially for a young inexperienced girl in a country and culture you never met before. It was such a cool experience! And a threshold you have to cross.”
“This is no environment for shy people. It takes guts to get the job done. You’re facing deadlines all the time and need to make decisions fast. You also need to be able to be on your own. When you’re traveling for instance. That comes with a team who really look after you. We even have a dark room for power naps. And you can take up to three off-days a year. This is not your average environment, no.”