My Life in Investment Bank

At 08:50, it is another busy morning in Beijing CBD.

The clean ladies have just finished their work while the white collars are pouring into the building. This is just the beginning.

We pay our attention to professionals in investment banking, an attractive but mysterious group of people.  The journalist has interviewed David, who is working in one of the most famous international investment banks. Let´s listen to their heart and get to know what kind of pride and confuse people working in investment banks share.

ImageIn order to interview David, the journalist has to make the phone call at the midnight because the whole team that David works in has been ¨fighting¨ for a new financing project for 10 days. It is very common to work until 3am / 4am every day and in all just sleep for 30 hours per week. David keeps apologizing for postpone the interview but he actually can do nothing about his crazy timetable.

Although everyone talks about how attractive the pay is in investment banks, probably only the people in the industry could understand the bitter of this job. David says, he has been busy every day, every day.  Even he has not been able to just look at the sky for a second. In his view, if you would like to tag an IB (investment banking) people, it should be ¨no weekends, no holidays, work 20 hours per day, endless teleconference, 24hs stand-by on mobile, etc.¨

Compared with other industry, IB is very attractive because it would satisfy you with various luxuries. However, David admits it is true that he enjoyed the feeling for the first month, however, after that he would prefer the bed at home rather than the fancy room in 5-star hotels when travelling. Although he is just joking but he points out the cons of working in IB will come up after the first month. For example, the work sometimes could be very mechanical, especially in physical. For the project, he has to sit in the cubicles and keep checking the data in screen for the whole day, and the maximum he could move is to turn a bit his neck and stretch in the chair.

At 3am, David finally got in the taxi on the way to home. Even it only takes 10 minutes, he still falls into sleep.  He knows every second should be made the best because another busy day will come in only 6 hours (9am).

The power to support him to work in IB is not only the pay, but the desire to success.

He has a outstanding background. He has 3.9 CPA from a premium university of China with GRE verbal 660, TOFEL 116, etc. Because of his well performance in the internship and these outstanding background, he finally stays in the current bank as an analyst.

In fact the real challenge has just started after that. As a financial analyst, actually he notices his position is in the bottom of the whole industrial pyramid. Due to this reason he has to face a heavy workload compared with those in other positions. He also notices that in a team the ratio of associate and analyst is 2 to 1 top, which means half of the analysts would have no chance to be promoted. Besides, in order to be promoted to associate, an analyst has to achieve 2-3 experiences and the other requirement is to have an MBA in the future. In short, the competition is severe.

During the first year, David feels like himself in a competition with everyone at every second. Once David tried to ask for help from another analyst, but he was coldly rejected because they are competing with each other. From then on, David knows clearly; if you want to survive in IB, you have to become stronger.

A few people could finally become bankers in IB while can only be the ¨monkeys¨. After these two years, David has got a chance of promotion to associate. In the future, David would like to apply an MBA, for self-improvement and a time of rest. He considers all the challenges in IB are a must to success. Every time when he feels frustrated, he will remind himself the sentence in Forrest Gump ¨Run! Forrest, Run!¨ — Running is the only status in IB.

Translated by Simeng Zhang


The Team

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Deutsche Bank Interview Questions Database


  1. What do you know about banking industry?
  2.  Why do you apply for investment banking division instead of the others?
  3. Have you seen our website? Which services are offered in our division?
  4. How can a bank make profit?
  5. What kind of products banks offer?
  6. What did you do in the internship with XXX company?
  7. Compare the capital cost of borrowing from banks with injecting capital from parent firm?
  8. Are you comfortable with long working hours?
  9. Have you ever been a leader? What did you do during your leader ship?
  10. What is EBITDA?
  11. Why are you interested with Finance?
  12. If you had difficulties with other team members, what would you do?
  13. Do you have any experiece that i very busy and tiring?
  14. Have you ever felt frustrated with something?
  15. Have you ever got a leader expperience?
  16. If I am your client and I give you 1 million dollar to invest, what will you do? Which industry will you invest in?
  17. How will you introduce our product to the clients?
  18. A bond: book value is $100, 10 years, coupon rate is 3%, real rate is 4%, what is the real value?
  19. What do you think about communication?
  20. What do you see yourself in 5years time?
  21. Strength and weakness
  22. How to calculate free cash flow?
  23. Some question about capital structure and tax shield and tax rate
  24. Question about CAPM ,which one should be chosen as free risk rate
  25. How to do financial statement forecast
  26. How to forecast sales
  27. Which offers have you got yet? If you have to choose between Db and XXX bank, what will you choose? Why?
  28. Why should i hire you
  29. What’s the thing that you don’t like DB most

Help us complete the database!!!


The Team

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¨ is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨  

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The Deutsche Bank Recruiting Process

Deutsche Bank’s recruiting process is designed to identify and hire the very best people available in the fairest manner possible. If you want to work for them, and you have the right capabilities and experience, get prepared now for 2013.

Although the precise timeline, number of steps, and evaluation process varies somewhat across our global organization and many divisions, the common elements for most positions at Deutsche Bank include:

  • Step one: the online application
  • Step two: in-person interview(s)
  • Step three: job offer


1. The Online Application

The first step in Deutsche Bank´s recruiting process is the online application form (available through our website at All applicants to Deutsche Bank must complete the form. When you complete the form, you will be asked to indicate your job and regional preferences. You will also be asked to share information about your background and relevant experiences. This is your opportunity to make the case for why you would be an outstanding employee for Deutsche Bank.

The bank recruiters review every online application that we receive. After that the recruiters will contact you to let you know whether you’ve been selected to proceed to step two of the interview process.

2. The Interview Process
If you successfully pass the initial evaluation based upon your online application, you will be invited to interview with a member of the recruiting team.

Depending on your geographical location and university, the interview will be conducted on campus, in an arranged location (for example, a hotel), or in a Deutsche Bank office. Deutsche Bank targets and recruits for region-specific jobs at a number of key schools in a variety of regions around the world.

The interview process typically consists of one to three rounds of interviews, and can also include quantitative tests, language tests, and case studies. However, the specifics of the process vary depending on the region and the position. For instance, the process for undergraduate candidates for full-time Global Markets Analyst positions in Australia consists of three rounds of interviews and a series of aptitude tests, while the process for full-time Global Corporate Finance Associate positions in the U.K. consists of two face-to-face interviews followed by a series of final-round interviews in London.

3. Decision Processes

The recruiters will contact you after each stage of the process to let you know our decision. If you have not selected to move forward, the contact will be via e-mail. If you are selected to move forward to the next step, they will typically call you. The recruiters call all candidates who reach the final round of interviews to let them know whether they will be receiving a job offer.

The CV of not selected candidates will be left open until all potential opportunities  in order to ensure everyone has maximum opportunity for selection.

It is also possible that a recruiter may pass the application to another division if it appears that you would better fit a different position in Deutsche Bank.

If all programs for that region/division are filled, you will receive an email notification that your application has been closed.

4. When to Apply

The application timetable varies by region and by position.

5. Getting Started

  • What you need to know, where do you begin and how do you focus your job search?

Firstly you’ll want to do a little research on the industry and think about whether a career in an investment bank is right for you.. Take a look at the “how to prepare” article in this section for some research tips. For certain, you shouldn’t go into banking just for the money, the lifestyle is to demanding. To do well and excel in this world, you will need to really enjoy the work itself as well as the rewards.

You begin your job search, and, from what you’ve heard so far, you want to give investment banking a shot. But there’s one small problem: You’re not exactly sure what an investment bank does, so convincing the recruiter you’re perfect for the job is gong to be a challenge.

Investment Banking isn’t one specific service or function. It’s an umbrella term for a range of activities. At Deutsche Bank these activities are grouped into divisions and each division has opportunities for graduates. Research these areas thoroughly before making your decision.

To do this firstly you need to talk to people working in investment banks. You can do this by attending presentations and other events. A listing of the global Deutsche Bank presentations can be found in ‘Events’. When you go to presentations make sure you talk to the business representatives, ask them questions and make an impression.

At university, the best sources of information are people who have spent a summer internship at an investment bank. Your alumni network should also be useful. Read lots of career guides and profiles in the ‘Meet our People’ section is an excellent source of information.

Competition is fierce and you’ll need to be resourceful and persistent. Doing a summer internship in an investment bank is the best possible way of finding the right fit for you, as well as being that all important foot in the door.

And once you’ve have talked to all the people you can and read as much information as possible you’re ready to prepare for the online application.




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¨ is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨

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From Analyst Monkey to King of the Jungle MD: The Food Chain of Investment Banking

¨A bank is exactly like a frat house.¨ Just like a fraternity, there’s hazing, a hierarchy, and certain rituals you must go through to advance. This article will indicate that how much you get paid at each level, how the work differs, the average age range, and the possible exit opportunities.

Margin Call

Footnotes & Starting Assumptions

Let´s assume that you’re in a developed country in a major financial hub like New York, London, or Hong Kong.

At the end you’ll learn how this hierarchy might differ outside banking, outside those cities, and in other countries.

These pay figures are not exact. So there are exceptions and sometimes you see more pay or less pay – these are rough averages.

Let’s dive right in and start with the bottom of the hierarchy: the analyst monkey.


  • Analyst
  • What You Do:

You’re a monkey, and your chief responsibility is to collect bananas for the bigger monkeys higher up in the food chain.

You do most of the Excel and PowerPoint work, take notes, send emails and call people, and even take care of random tasks like fixing printers and picking up dry cleaning.

(Know more about A day in Investment bank — to be continued)

  • How You Get In:

You’re recruited from a top undergraduate or Master’s program, or you have a strong network contact. Once you go beyond a few years of full-time work experience, you won’t get in as an analyst because you’re overqualified (Is it a benefit or a flaw to be overqualified? ).

Yes, some people pull this off anyway but it gets exponentially harder the longer you’ve been working.

  • Age Range:

Most analysts are just out of school, so 22-27; in countries with military service or with 5-year undergraduate programs (Europe) the upper end of the range is more common.

  • Pay:

This varies by region and the state of the economy, but most 1st year analysts make at least $100K USD all-in (base salary + bonus) and that may go up to $150K or more if we’re in a bubble.

In some countries (Australia) the base salary is higher and the bonus is lower, while in Europe and the US base salaries tend to be lower with significantly higher bonuses.

2nd and 3rd year analysts see increased pay, usually closer to $200K in a good year for a 3rd year analyst and maybe $150K or a bit less on the lower end in a bad year.

  • Time to Get Promoted:

Usually it takes 3 years to become an associate.

  • Possible Exit Opps:

See these articles on exit opportunities. Out of all the levels, analysts have the most exit opportunities because they’re young and haven’t had “too much” experience in a certain field yet.


  • Associate
  • What You Do:

If the analyst is the monkey, you’re a bigger and better-groomed monkey who’s much smoother in social situations.

You may still do Excel work if the model is complex, but mostly you are checking the analyst’s work and making sure he doesn’t screw up. You spend most of your time managing the analysts and making sure the VP’s orders get executed.

Much of your time is spent talking to clients and seeing what they need when you’re working on deals; analysts are too busy cranking away to have much client interaction, at least at large banks.

You get to attend more meetings and pitches than the analyst, but you will always have a non-speaking role unless the MD needs a number from you.

  • How You Get In:

You either work as an analyst for 3 years and get promoted, or you get recruited out of a top MBA program after working full-time for 3-5 years in another industry.

  • Age Range:

This one varies more than the analyst age range because associates come from more diverse backgrounds; 25-35 is the safest estimate because some associates are promoted directly from the analyst pool while others get recruited out of business school.

Getting in when you’re under 25 would be virtually impossible unless you graduated college early, and having 10+ years of experience pre-MBA makes you overqualified.

  • Pay:

Again, there’s more variation here than with analyst pay because the bonus takes up the bulk of an associate’s compensation and that’s heavily dependent on the economy.

In a bad year, a 1st year associate might get between $150K and $200K USD all-in, while more senior associates (3rd and 4th years) might get closer to $400K or $500K all-in in a great year.

If your group is just OK and the economy is neither great nor terrible, your pay will be in the middle of that range.

  • Time to Get Promoted:

Usually it takes 3-4 years to reach Vice President, and it’s harder to get that promotion than it is to go from analyst to associate – you need to show more leadership and client management skills.

  • Possible Exit Opps: It’s more limited at this level, and it’s quite difficult to move into something like private equity unless we’re in a bubble economy.

You either stay in banking or move to a normal company and do corporate development there – or get out of the rat race altogether and start an adventure travel company.

It’s possible to get into hedge funds, asset management, and so on but those are all less common at this level. The longer you stay in banking, the harder it is to break out of banking.


  • Vice President
  • What You Do:

Moving up the pyramid once again, you are an even larger and more intimidating monkey, and you’ve got lots of barrels to throw down at the chimps below you climbing up the ladder.

You make sure that deals and pitch books get done – you interpret what the MDs and Directors want, and ensure that whatever pops out of your analyst’s cubicle resembles it.

You get a lot more client interaction, and may call buyers and directly pitch a company that you’re selling.

And as you move up, you have to start shifting over to relationship development and winning clients – which is incredibly tough and one of the most difficult transitions to make.

  • How You Get In:

You get promoted after working as an associate for 3-4 years.

It’s extremely rare to break in as a VP coming from outside banking, and I’ve never seen it happen. To have the skills required to run deals and win clients you need to have been in banking for a long time.

  • Age Range:

Since you must have been an associate first, we could say the age range is 28-40, with the average somewhere in the middle.

  • Pay:

There’s even more variability since the bonus takes up such a high percentage of your compensation; base salaries do not increase that much as you move up (even MDs might see only around $150K-$200K base).

Most VPs will earn between $300K and $1MM USD, with the upper-end of that range for more senior VPs in a good year and the lower end for more junior VPs in a bad year.

  • Time to Get Promoted:

Probably another 3-4 years to reach Director / Principal / SVP, though it varies and you may do it more quickly depending on performance.

  • Possible Exit Opps:

Even more limited than associates – either stay in banking or go to a normal company in corporate development.

Moving into PE from this level would be “challenging” to say the least, and even in other fields of finance you would have too much experience to have a good shot.


  • Director / Senior Vice President / Principal
  • What You Do:

This one is a mix between what VPs and MDs do, and the role differs depending on the bank and group.

Sometimes you focus more on developing relationships and winning clients, and other times you do more execution work and project management like VPs.

But no matter what your role is, you will have to move closer to winning clients if you want to advance to the next level – Managing Director.

  • How You Get In:

You’ve already been an associate and a VP, and you get promoted to this level after a few years of being a VP. I challenge you to find a single example of someone who was not already in investment banking and entered the industry at this level – it doesn’t happen.

  • Age Range:

Sometimes you could get promoted more quickly (2 years rather than 3-4), so we’ll say 30-45. 45 is on the high end and you’d see that only if the person did something else for many years before getting into business school and then investment banking.

  • Pay:

This one’s hard to pinpoint because it’s somewhere in between VP and MD in terms of pay; we’ll say $400K – $1.5MM USD to reflect that range.

As with the other pay numbers here, you should expect the lower end of the range in a bad economy if you haven’t performed well (your closed deal count is low or nonexistent) and the higher end of the range in a good year.

  • Time to Get Promoted:

Similar to the others, a few years to go from here to the next level: Managing Director. We’ll say 2-3 years to get a specific number.

  • Possible Exit Opps:

Imagine a blank screen with no visible life forms. Now imagine seeing this every day after you quit or get fired.

In all seriousness, you could always move over to the corporate side but it would be tough to move into other fields of finance from this position unless you happen to be a serious rainmaker and you have enough contacts to make yourself useful to a PE firm or other buy-side firm.


  • Managing Director
  • What You Do:

You’re King of the Jungle. All the other chimps answer to you, and you move them around much like a chess grandmaster would move around pawns, bishops, and knights.

90% of your time as an MD is spent winning clients, meeting companies, and developing relationships – you fly around to conferences, meet with PE and VC firms, and position yourself to advise CEOs and win deals.

Occasionally if there’s a massive deal and it’s too big to fail, you get involved with the negotiations. Or if you have a special relationship with an investor or buyer, you may pitch a client to them.

But otherwise, you are sitting back and bringing in new business while everyone below you executes.

  • How You Get In:

Most of the time, you’ve been a banker for life (or close to it) and you’ve worked at all levels in IB before – often across many different banks.

Sometimes you do see MDs who get into the industry from other fields (e.g. a Partner at a law firm that focuses on corporate and securities law, or a PE Partner who has lost his sanity and wants to move back to the sell-side).

But those scenarios are rare even at this level and you don’t see them much at large banks.

  • Age Range:

This one is impossible to define precisely because some MDs really do stay in it for life, or at least until retirement age – for most bankers it is the highest they’ll ever go.

We’ll say early 30’s is the minimum age here, but on the upper end of the range there’s no limit – you rarely find MDs who are past their 50’s, though, so maybe that’s the limit.

By that time they are either burned out and retired on a beach somewhere in Thailand, or they’ve advanced further within the bank (see below).

  • Pay:

This is where compensation has the highest “beta” (this is a finance site, so I am allowed to whip out finance jargon when convenient).

In a bad year with no closed deals, an MD might not make much more than his base salary – maybe the $200K – $300K USD range.

In a good year, they might make in the low millions USD ($1MM – $3MM) depending on how the group is set up, how many deals they’ve closed, and how well they’re playing the office politics game.

  • Time to Get Promoted:

Yes, there are levels beyond MD at large banks (Group Head, C-level executives) but there’s no set path to reach them – you could get lucky and get there in a few years, or you might be there for a decade and never see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Unlike other levels of the banking hierarchy, it’s not “up or out” at the MD-level – it’s more like “make lots of money for us or out.”

So as long as you keep producing, your position will remain intact.

  • Possible Exit Opps:

If you’ve been a lifelong banker, it will be very difficult to move into a completely different field – but you do sometimes see financiers at the top moving around to other high-level positions in the industry.

Some MDs may also just retire and do something completely different – business coaching, angel investing, writing, and so on – especially if they are worth tens of millions of dollars and don’t have a pressing need for cash.


Writted by Brian DeChesare


Monkey Business, John Rolfe


The Team

Email Us is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.  

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Don’t Leave Before You Leave — FaceBook COO Sandburg, Women, Work, Will to Lead

All proactive female professionals usually face the dilemma of balancing work and personal life. However, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, reveals that the so-called dilemma of female professionals could be a pseudo-proposition, so that the gender could be an excuse for women to hold back from the fight for a desired career and personal life.


On May 22nd Forbes released the ranking of ¨The World´s Most Powerful Women 2013¨. No surprisingly we have found that women keep transforming the world, not only in a traditional taxonomy of power but also in fresh and exhilarating ways, e.g. in media, philanthropy, high-tech, etc.

Unlike the stereotype role of women who mostly sacrifice either professional or personal life, these ¨superwomen¨ have achieved happy lives while writing their professional legends. The current COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg (ranked No.6) is one of these ¨superwomen¨.

Undoubtedly, she is a very successful female executive. Graduated from Harvard University, Sandberg has got outstanding achievements in McKinsey, United States Secretary and Google. After that, she was invited to Facebook by the co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg as ¨a perfect fit¨ of COO, and now she oversees the firm’s business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications.

However, she has been paid more attention to the public because her leadership in women´s movement, especially her new book ¨Lean In¨. In the new book, she enjoins women to pursue their careers with more rigors, to engage more energetically in the corporate cook-off, to Lean In—as the book is titled—to the opportunities and challenges of becoming a boss.

Earlier in 2010 she gave an electrifying TED Talk Why we have too few women leaders, in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

From Sandburg´s encouragements, we could conclude a truth, that the dilemma we have struggled in for balancing work and life is a pseudo-proposition. Women are set up by themselves into an either / or world because of the lack of courage.

Sandburg has promoted a revolutionary movement deep digging into the world´s mind. She has pointed out that even women themselves turn the gender police, so that they could hold back and compromise because ¨I am a female¨. Due to this negative message women have built up internal barriers to think smaller, hesitate, less desire to success, have no ambition, etc.

Of course, it is not practical to ask for every women follow the pace of Sandburg, however, the essence of her idea is to achieve an active life by improving the efficiency. For example, save time for reading and work-out by avoiding tweeting in the office, or gain more private space by positively communicating with both your business partner and life partner.

As females, women have their own strength, which means there is no need to ask women to fight as men in the war. The abundant sensibility and careful sensitive observation could make less for more in women´s lives. Dave, the colleague from Facebook, always appreciates Sandburg´s attractive character, especially her willing to help others improve, help others be listened and been discovered.

It is the most valuable achievement in everyone´s life to become the person you desire to be. It is worth for your fight, isn’t it?

As Sandburg´s speech at Barnard College,

¨Life is going to bring many twists and turns, and each of us, each of you, have to forge your own path.  I have deep respect for my friends who make different choices than I do, who choose the really hard job of raising children full time, who choose to go part time, or who choose to pursue more nontraditional goals.  These are choices that you may make some day, and these are fine choices. But until that day, do everything you can to make sure that when that day comes, you even have a choice to make.¨

Edited by Simeng Zhang


The World’s Most Powerful Women 2013, ForbesWoman, 22/05/2013

 Lean In, Sheryl Sanburg

Confidence Woman, Times, 07/03/2013

Youtube: Sheryl Sandberg, Barnard College Commencement 2011

The Team

Email Us

¨ is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨

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Pre-weekend Cafe: Are We Happy? — Harvard Popular Course ¨Positive Psychology¨

Surprisingly, last year the most popular elective course in Harvard University was ¨Positive Psychology¨, surpassing ¨The Introduction of Economic¨, the previous winner in all the years before.


During the two classes every week, Ben-Shahar has never filled the students with much sucessful stories; however, he tries to simply guide stuents to  become happier and enrich their lives.

Although there are parents and the press in the classroom, Ben-Shahar still considers himself shy and introvert. He graduated as a doctor from Harvard University but his outstanding academic success has not given him a long-lasting happiness. Therefore he started to pay more attention to the inner and get interested in psychology.

How can you explain the demand for positive psychology at Harvard and on other college campuses?

If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? In the United States, rates of depression are ten times higher today than they were in the 1960s, and the average age for the onset of depression is 14.5, compared to 29.5 in 1960s. Other countries are following in the footsteps of the United States. In 1957, 52% in Britain said that they were very happy, compared to 36% in 2005—despite the fact that the British have tripled their wealth over the last half century.

Ben-Shahar strongly believes that happiness is the only criteria to evaluate one´s life and is destination of all life goals. ¨ We measure the worth of a day or a week according to how productive we were and how much we got done. We are accumulating material wealth, while we are nearing bankruptcy in the currency that truly matters. Just as a business can go bankrupt, so can the emotion of human being. To remain solvent, a business needs to make profi ts; that is, its income has to exceed its expenses. In thinking about our lives, it may be helpful to think of positive experiences as income and negative ones as expenses. When our positive experiences outweigh our negative ones, we have made a profi t in the ultimate currency. Long-term depression may be seen as a sort of emotional bankruptcy—the duration and intensity of negative experiences (losses) overwhelm the positive ones (income). An entire society can face the prospect of bankruptcy—a great depression—if the percentage of individual bankruptcies continuously rises.¨

For everyone, who does not plan on applying to Harvard in the near future, below are 10 Happiness Tips from Harvard’s very-sought-after lecturer Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar:

1. Become conscious of things that make you happy

There is a great little technique to do this. Take a piece of paper and complete the following sentence: “To bring 5% more happiness into my life…

Think of experiences, not things. It is not a million dollars that will make you happy. It is the opportunity to spend more time with your family, to travel around the world, to gain financial stability. But Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, suggest that we start with the smaller blessings.
If you feel that you have run out of ideas, here are some examples.

2. Combine pleasure and meaning

Aristotle had a great concept called “golden mean”. He believed that we should look for a desirable middle between two extremes. This makes a lot of sense, but when it comes to making everyday life choices, we often forget to follow his sage advice.

Let’s take food for example…

We either go for things that bring us instant gratification, but make us feel guilty afterwards (like cheesy fries with ranch dressing, in my case). Or we throw ourselves into another extreme and decide to take on a diet and only eat healthy low-calorie, low-fat and low-satisfaction foods.

What Ben-Shahar suggests is that we do not have to choose one extreme or the other. We can find something that is both tasty (satisfying) and healthy (meaningful) in the long run. He says:

“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness, therefore, is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain: happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”

3. Do not make happiness your ultimate goal

You will not be happy if you do something or have something, because happiness is not the end state. It is something that we continuously have to work towards for as long as we live. Ben- Shahar is convinced that we can be happier each day, instead of putting our happiness in the hands of other people or looking for it in outside events and material things.

4. Create rituals

Is there such thing as a happiness ritual? The Harvard University professor believes there is. For him it is keeping a gratitude journal and listing five things of which he feels grateful before he goes to bed. Your happiness ritual might not require keeping a journal. Maybe you love taking a long stroll after dinner, or singing in the shower, or meditating for 15 minutes.

5. Imagine being 110 years old

Looking back at your life what advice would you give to your younger self? What is the most important lesson of all? What trivial, negative, superficial things are not worth your time and effort? When you look at your everyday life from this perspective many things fall into place.

6. Simplify your life

Commit to decreasing the busy-ness in your life by liberating more time for goals or activities that increase your happiness. Ask yourself, what you can give up or say “no” to? Free your mind from emotional clutter. Simplify your daily routines.

Do not live with an overwhelming sense that you are running out of time. Doing so makes it impossible to enjoy or dedicate yourself fully to any activities that make you happy.

7. Remember about the mind-body connection

Do you notice when you are feeling well and energetic? Most people don’t. They take their health for granted. But when something in our body goes out of order, the thought of not feeling well becomes too persistent to be ignored. We think about it. We talk about it. We feel that it affects our mood, our attitude and our interaction with people.

So if you want to keep your mind positive and your spirits up, start with getting an adequate amount of sleep, paying attention to your diet and getting regular exercise. Take care of your body!

8. Embrace your emotions

Not just positive emotions as joy or enthusiasm, but emotions like anger, fear, anxiety or sadness. Do not try to deny or run from them. Expecting to be happy all the time is unrealistic and ultimately impossible.
Ben-Shahar is also convinced that doing so will only lead to disappointment and greater unhappiness.

9. Start with your attitude

Extreme scenarios aside, our happiness is mostly determined by what we choose to focus on and how we decide to interpret external events. If we focus on something that angers, annoys or frustrates us, we will feed this emotion and subconsciously look for other triggers that will make us even angrier and even more frustrated.

The fastest way to break this negativity cycle is to direct your thoughts somewhere else and make your mind look for a positive lesson in every situation.

10. Make happiness your ultimate currency

It is happiness, not money, connections or social status that should be the currency by which our life ought to be measured. If our days feel meaningless and empty, the question we should ask ourselves is – What are we trading our happiness for? The answer to this holds the key to our life satisfaction and self-development.

Edited by Simeng Zhang


The Team

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¨ is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨ 

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A Factor for Your Next Job: Organizational Democracy?

Are you as disenchanted with your employer as you are with the economy? Tired of working for top-heavy companies with antiquated management principles and an inability to anticipate and respond to a crisis? Consider searching for a job with an employer that embraces democracy in the workplace. 


Traci Fenton, founder of WorldBlu, a company that focuses on democratic business design, describes organizational democracy as “freedom within a business framework.” She says, “We are in an age of participation and cooperation and influence that we’ve never seen before. This requires a new, democratic style of business.”


1. Qualities to Look For

While not every company embraces identical values with regard to organizational democracy, Fenton advises professionals to look for several of the following characteristics:

  • Leadership happens at every level of the organization, not just at the top.
  • Employees are paid for the value they bring to the organization, not their job titles.
  • Everyone knows to whom and for what they’re accountable.
  • Transparency isn’t considered scary.
  • Formality and polices are avoided in favor of informality and principles.
  • Humor and having fun is actually encouraged.
  • Change equals life, not death.
  • Incentives aren’t used to motivate employees — meaningful work is.
  • Failure is seen as a right-of-passage to success.
  • Thinking differently and challenging assumptions is encouraged.


2. Questions to Ask

When interviewing with a company, ask plenty of questions about the organizational philosophies it practices. “Inquire about democracy,” Fenton says. “Ask, ‘Will I have a voice here? Will I have a vote? Will I have a say as to who is on my team? Does accountability go both ways?'”

Look for answers that will indicate decentralized power and a transparent culture in which you’ll have a voice. Have a discussion about the company’s purpose and vision to make certain it is compatible with yours. Believing that the best indicator of a democratic workplace is when a company practices open-book management, she recommends, “You should be able to look at real-time financial information about your organization’s performance anytime you want.”


3. Getting Hired

Before you begin targeting companies, Fenton urges doing a bit of homework. “The most important place to start is with purpose,” she says. “Ask yourself, ‘What is my purpose for my life and how can I express that professionally?’ Then write down what you want to express at work every day. Use your conclusions as a homing device to begin searching for an employer with similar values.”

Putting in the time to identify what matters most to you will pay off: “More enlightened individuals who have a clear sense of purpose and values will get in the door to democratic organizations,” Fenton says.


4. Additional Benefits

Few companies are entirely bulletproof in a recession, but Fenton says if a company is being democratic, there aren’t any surprises. “And if there’s that feeling that you’re all in it together, you’ll figure it out together,” she says. “You’ll innovate and everyone will help come up with ideas for survival.” Conversely, at many organizations, employees can’t see what is coming and, thus, cannot prepare — or contribute.


By Caroline M.L. Potter



The Team

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¨ is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨


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