It’s therefore not surprising he continues to upskill to become a complete businessman.
Taufiq already holds a Bachelor of Information Systems and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (majoring in management) from Massey University and plans to complete a Masters in Business Administration focused on marketing and international business.
“The ultimate aim is to be an all-rounder – that person knows every aspect of the business,” he says.
A will to succeed was evident when he joined the technology channel in customer service at Ingram Micro. After a full work day there, he would drive to Massey to attend diploma classes from six to nine in evening. “I was always the last one in class,” he says.
Originally from Fiji, Taufiq came to New Zealand with his family when 14. After attending Manurewa High School in Auckland, he went to Massey University at the Albany campus in 2000, working for Dick Smith Electronics in the central city suburb of Newmarket while studying.
The retailer gave him his first taste of the IT industry.
“I used to see a lot of vendors come in and do shop-floor training and it inspired me to move into the channel.”
His job at Dick Smith also showed him what end-users require, and how to cross-sell and upsell.
Taufiq credits much of his career success to date to a particular mentor – Synnex country manager Richard Harri. It was Harri who hired him at Ingram Micro prior to the merger with Tech Pacific, and again at Synnex in 2005 after a six-month stint with Digital Blue.
“He was national sales manager [at Ingram] at the time and he was quite young as well, so I started benchmarking against him,” says Taufiq.
Ingram Micro’s heavyweight status was also a boost. “Starting with the largest distributor set a standard for me,” he says.
Taufiq says starting from scratch with Synnex was also beneficial as he learned a lot about different departments, but he has since grown along with the company. It has 16 brands and counting and he started as the eighth employee, whereas staff numbers have now doubled.
His role now sees him out visiting resellers and customers most of the time, a change from Ingram Micro, where he worked inhouse.
“I love meeting a range of people, it’s a buzz that I thrive on,” he says. His visits also involve travelling to other North Island centres every six to eight weeks.
Despite the busyness of getting out and about, he’s a firm believer in work-life balance, and makes sure to schedule gym visits after work. He has kept up playing soccer (starting at five years old) and now plays for Eastern Suburbs in an Auckland league.
Taufiq sees a natural progression from sales to distribution to vendor-land. “I’ll be with Synnex as long as I can. I’d like to see it grow but ultimately representing a vendor would be good.”