Author Archives: Goldf11nger

About Goldf11nger

International undergraduate student in New York

$200,000 A Night NYC Nightlife

Models & Bottles

I recently ran into this article on BloomBerg where the reader gets a sneak peek into New York’s “high-end nightlife.” The reader is introduced to a world of Amex Black Card concierge businesses, the clubs and promoters who facilitate it, and the clients who spend their hard earned dollars getting the most exclusive treatment available, if only for the night.

“A tall, angular sell-side banker named Richard orders a Parade, a train of seven sparkler-waving waitresses serving Dom Perignon in a just-for-you ritual. For a charged few minutes, all eyes are on him and his jubilant friends.”

“Nothing special, he’s just a typical Black Card concierge client. Say we do a billion deal. Three percent of that is 30 million dollars. Bottom line, a night out at $100,000 is just not relevant,” says Richard.”

What are your thoughts on this? Are you in fact one of the people spending your money on these services? Or have you witnessed them first hand?

Here’s the article:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/a-fun-night-out-for-under-200-000.html

Investment Banks Lowering Hours – Genuine Change or Media Smoke Screen?

Ease Hours

The workload placed on Junior Analysts at the major Investment Banks (BB’s) has seen alot of attention lately, with banks promising to ease down on the workload and encourage weekends off. I ran into an interesting article today on The New York Times’ “DealBook”, titled Banks Ease Hours for Junior Staff, but Workload Stays Same where current Junior Analysts add their opinions.

“A number of young bankers say that while they can now enjoy a leisurely brunch or a binge of television watching on Saturdays, their overall workload has not changed noticeably. It just gets pushed to a different day.”

“If you have 80 hours of work to do in a week, you’re going to have 80 hours of work to do in a week, regardless of whether you’re working Saturdays or not,” said a junior banker at Deutsche Bank, who, like the others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he risked his job by talking to a reporter. “That work is going to be pushed to Sundays or Friday nights.”

What are you’re thoughts on this? Will the hours for Junior Analysts really change anytime soon?

Find the article here!

So You Think You Work Long Hours?

working hours

So You Think You Work Long Hours?

Greetings! I’ve decided to interrupt my article series for international students in order to provide some content that’s potentially interesting for all the readers here at WSO. I will however return to writing articles for international students in a couple of weeks, but for now I’m broadening my target audience!

When applying for a job in a foreign country it’s crucial to know what’s expected of you in terms of working hours – which might differ a great deal from your native country. I think this is especially relevant in the financial services industry, as hours appear to vary quite a bit depending on where you work, at least that’s the conclusion I draw from comparing hours in my home country in Scandinavia, and hours here in the U.S.

Meanwhile, in this post I would like to focus on how work hours vary across three different regions of the world – U.S., Europe, and Asia – and how the hours vary greatly depending on which region you find yourself in. I will not be focusing on the financial services industry specifically, but rather attempt to provide general statistics through credible and up-to-date sources.

Lastly I would like to be clear about one thing; I dont consider working more hours to equal working harder, it simply means working longer.

The Hardest Working Countries in the World

So you think you work long hours? Maybe you’re under the belief that the U.S. and its citizens surely must work long hours compared to most other people in the world. Well if you are, you’d be wrong.

According to recent statistics published on Business Insider the average full-time U.S. employee works approximately 1,700 hours per year as of 2013. This might indeed sound high to some of you readers, as the European average is distinctly lower. However, 1,700 hours per year doesn’t even come close to the highest average annual hours worked in that of some countries around the world.

Enter the Three Asian Tigers – Hong Kong, Singapore, and South-Korea – each clocking in respectively at 2,350, 2,300 and 2,200 average annual hours worked per worker in 2013, utterly destroying the majority of their competition. This might not come as a surprise for some of you, but I was personally quite astonished when I first heard of the amount of hour’s employees pull in these East-Asian nations, especially as a European native. Another way to grasp these figures is by statistics published by Forbes in 2008 which contends that employees in the Three Asian Tigers will actually spend about 6, 5 hours working, every day of their entire lives.

Most nations doesn’t even come close to matching the Asian Tigers numbers, yet there are some who follow in their footsteps. According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s OECD public statistics from 2012 portray the heavy workload carried by people in developing nations. Mexico, Greece, and Chile clocks in respectively at 2,226, 2,034, and 2,029 average annual hours worked per worker, not too far off our leaders.

What about Europe?

Let’s turn out attention to Europe for a moment, and amongst others, France, with its famously short work weeks and additional vacation time. As a native of Scandinavia myself, I’ve been indoctrinated with the idea of the 40-hour work week, which appeared totally normal and as nothing out of the ordinary during my early life – that is, before I discovered the financial service industry and moved to the U.S.

As it turns out, the French used to work even more than Americans in the 1980s, but since then they have taken a sharp dip down, and now average annual hours worked per worker in France lands at a meager 1,470 hours in 2011, quite far behind even U.S. numbers. The phenomenon of relatively low hours is consistent throughout Western-Europe with hours generally ranging from the 1400s to the 1650s, with the Germans sitting on a comfortable 1,397 hours worked annually according to OECD; even lower than the infamous French.
However, the comfortable hours has not reached Eastern-Europe.

As I previously mentioned, Greeks are the hardest working people in Europe, with their average of 2,034 hours annually. Meanwhile, other developing nations such as Poland, Estonia, and Hungary each respectively lands at 1,929, 1,889, and 1,888 average hours worked annually, putting into question what type of labor intensive work make up the grunt of these hours.

Final Words

I was initially quite amazed at the difference in average annual hours worked throughout the world, as I had grown familiar with the steady 40-hour work weeks that my parents pulled growing up. I think everyone who is considering working in a foreign nation owe him or herself, as well as the potential employer, to research what kind of hours are expected of employees in said nation, and even of the specific employer. Ultimately, being aware of potential culture-shocks such as differences in work hours can help ease a transition to a foreign society, and also avoid awkward office conversations.

Were you all aware of these differences in average workhours? If you weren’t, what do you think of them?

A Foreigner’s Perspective on Getting Adjusted to Living in the US – Funny

Image

I think that anyone from any part of the world can find a place here. You will never feel that as a foreigner that you won’t have access to the same opportunities that Americans do. (Visa issues are a nuisance sometimes, but if you play your cards right, that can be easily sorted). This is truly a country where hard work and smarts pay off. As they usually say here: God bless this great country.

A few pointers:

1. Get used to Fahrenheit, pounds, miles etc. (They don’t make any logical sense and are not based on decimal conversions)

2. Tipping: You are expected to tip here. Tip 15-20% depending on the service you receive. Must at restaurants. You should also tip cabbies, hairdressers…but not as much as you would in restaurants.

3. Depending on where you are in the country, don’t be surprised if random people smile at you or ask you how your day is going. Just smile. Americans are very friendly. None of this will happen if you come to NYC though. From the countries I have visited in Asia/Europe, Americans are the friendliest. This is not Europe – in general, people are warm and nice. Don’t be surprised if people strike up a conversation in public transportation and restaurants.

4. If Americans ask you “How are you?” or “How is your day going?” at the office, no one actually expects you to reply. It’s just a way of greeting people here.

5. Food: everything is so artificial and bad unless you go to a higher end market. Even Coke is made with high fructose corn syrup, not real sugar unlike the rest of the world. The chicken that you get in supermarkets is laden with chemicals, you can literally taste the chemicals. American chocolate (i.e Hersheys) to put it very kindly, is bad. Too much sugar in everything – and that is most probably HFCS.

6. No matter what you have heard about America in popular culture, Americans are very well mannered compared with the rest of the world. Don’t cut lines in this country, seriously! American drivers are also very well mannered and people follow the lanes etc. (Again you might find exceptions in places like NYC, but I feel like NYC isn’t a very good representation of this country) People will hold doors for you, and you are expected to do so as well.

7. Americans like their personal space. When you talk to people, maintain some distance. Same goes with personal issues. Don’t ask people about their personal issues and don’t tell people about your personal issues.

8. The food portions are HUGE here. You might find this shocking – I did too – but Americans take their leftovers home when they eat out in a restaurant. (Yuck!!!). A lot of people are fat and obese.

The full post can be found on the link below, and was originally created by Krypton on the WallStreetOasis forums:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/a-foreigners-perspective-on-getting-adjusted-to-living-in-the-us

International Students – Learn More About The H-1B Visa

American Visa (XL)

The Problem Faced by International Students

For many of us international students here in the U.S., the most dreaded time of our professional career arrives as we are about to graduate with an undergraduate degree, more specifically finding a company what is willing to offer us H-1B sponsorship; also known as the “Person in Specialty Occupation” Visa. Once international students have used up all of the 12 months available through the OPT (which I’ve addressed in earlier posts), international students are basically left with very few choices if they are to remain legally in the U.S., with most students opting to acquire an H-1B visa.

In this article I would like to clarify what an H-1B Visa really is, who’s eligible, who can sponsor it, and offer general guidelines on how, to the best of my knowledge, attain one.

What is the H-1B Visa?

The US H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years.

Applying for a non-immigrant visa is generally quicker than applying for a US Green Card, therefore the H-1B visa is popular for companies wishing to bring in staff for long-term assignment in the US. Individuals are not able to apply for an H1B visa to allow them to work in the US. The employer must petition for entry of the employee.

H1B visas are subject to annual numerical limits. Current immigration law allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year. This number includes 65,000 new H-1B visas issued for overseas workers in professional or specialty occupation positions, and an additional 20,000 visas available for those with an advanced degree from a US academic institution. Once the visa cap has been reached, USCIS will stop accepting H-1B petitions for FY 2013 and will not accept new applications until April 2013.

In 2008, an estimated 130,000 applications was received for the available 85,000 spots.

Restrictions and Limits

The US H1-B visa is designed to be used for staff in specialty occupations. The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  • Have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent.
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to-government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.

For you to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed a US bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university.
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation.
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment.
  • Have education, training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

Duration of H-1B

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows business professionals to work in the United States for a specific amount of time. The purpose of the H-1B visa is to give U.S. employers the opportunity to hire foreign professionals if a U.S. citizen or resident is not available. In order for the H-1B visa to be issued, both the employer and employee must satisfy the specific requirements mentioned above.

The H-1B visa is initially granted for up to three years, but may then be extended to a maximum of six years. Even though the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, it is one of the few US visa categories recognized as dual intent, meaning the H-1B visa holder can apply for and obtain a US Green Card while in the US on an H-1B visa.

If you are still in the US on an H-1B visa and wish to remain in the US for more than six years, you can apply for permanent residency in the US to receive a Green Card. If you do not gain permanent residency prior to the expiration of your H-1B visa, then you must live outside the US for at least one year before reapplying for another H or L visa.

Final Words

The H-1B program is criticized from different perspectives. The wages are kept lower in certain H-1B related industries as foreigners will accept a lower wage for the opportunity to work in the United States. Foreigners cannot easily change job in comparison to a U.S. citizen or resident, which makes an H-1B worker attractive for many employers. Several universities offering higher IT degrees are criticized for bringing in many foreign nationals for the purpose of educating them to H-1B jobs thus discouraging citizens and residents from choosing such degree programs.

List of Companies That Sponsored H-1B Visa’s In The Past

H-1B Company Sponsorship list

Official U.S. Government Information

http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperative-research-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models

 

Finance Resume Template for College Students

Resume

By the good graces of the people behind WallStreetOasis.com confused college students out there has been offered this great finance resume template!

For those of you looking to make sure your CV format is clean and make sure that your finance resume is polished, this is a great sample resume you can now use.). We all know how competitive internship applications and summer analyst positions are nowadays, so I’m hoping this gives you an even bigger edge in recruiting.

The template can be found here:

WSO_Undergrad_Resume_Templatev6-11pt font (2)

International Students (2) – How to get an OPT for summer internships!

girl_with_greencard

International Students (2) – How to get a OPT VISA for summer internships!

As I mentioned in my previous post I’m an international student who is currently a junior majoring in economics, and working two internships in finance during this semester. However, like many of my peers, I’ve had to prepare for the dreaded OPT (Optional Practical Training) certificate in order to get a summer internship.

In this post I intend to discuss limitations on a regular F-1 Visa when it comes to working outside of campus, outside of the regular semester, how to obtain what is call an OPT, and which type of OPT to apply for.

The Different Types of OPT’s

So to start of lets discuss what kind of different OPT’s there are, more specifically the two different kinds.

Pre-Completion OPT:

This is the kind of OPT that most of you international students will be applying for. This particular certificate are for people who are currently pursuing a degree and would like to acquire work authorization to do work in the field related to their study. This work may be part-time during the academic quarters and full-time during vacations.

Post-Completion OPT:

I won’t focus on this type of OPT, as it does not really concern my target audience. But I will say that this is for people who have completed their degree.

Useful Information about the Pre-Completion OPT

As I’ve recently found out, in my efforts to landing a summer internship for the summer of 2014, the application process is quite lengthy and it may actually take up to 12 weeks before the process is complete and you’re allowed to work. However, you are allowed to apply for this OPT without a job offer.

Now, first and foremost there are three requirements to be eligible for this kind of OPT.

  1. You must be a registered student in F-1 status physically in the United States at the time of application
  2. You must have been enrolled in lawful student status on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year
  3. You must not have used twelve months or more of full-time curricular practical training

Furthermore, please notice that obtaining authorization for OPT is a two-step process. Your first step in obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is to receive a recommendation for OPT from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) and then authorization for employment from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The ISSO cannot authorize OPT—only USCIS can do so by issuing you an EAD.

The Actual Application Process

Step 1 – Dealing with your schools international students’ office

The first step is to complete and print the I-765 Form which can be found here (http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-765.pdf). This form basically makes you submit general information such as name, address, date of birth, and what kind of VISA you currently hold – it’s not hard people, just read carefully.

The second step is to complete page 1 of the OPT Recommendation Request Form which should be available through your international students office’s website, and then physically bring the form to said office.

Now, you’ve gathered up the required forms and it’s time to head off to your schools international students office. But wait! There are a few more things you need to bring with you, more specifically:

  1. Your current I-20 and all previously issued I-20’s
  2. Passport
  3. I-94 card (white card usually stapled in passport or printed from the electronic I-94 web site at http:www.cbp.gov/I94 if your most recent entry was on or after May 1, 2013)
  4. I-765 Form
  5. OPT Recommendation Request Form(s)

Once your schools international students office has finished reviewing your application, and making sure you are eligible, they will mail you a new I-20 with a OPT recommendation attached.

Step 2 – Mailing your OPT to the USCIS

You finally have your brand new I-20 with a OPT recommendation, but the pain does not stop here dear sirs. Now it’s time to mail the whole thing to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Below I will provide 5 separate steps for successfully going through this process.

  1. Sign and date the new I-20! (section 11) This sounds obvious but many OPT applicants have had their applications returned for an unsigned I-20 and/or an unsigned check.
  2. Photocopy the entire application before you send it so that you have a complete copy for your records.
  3. Send your application to the USCIS by certified mail, return receipt requested or by a courier service such as FedEx so you have proof that your application was timely in the event that the application is lost.
  4. Send your application quickly as it must be received by the USCIS Service Center within 30 days of the date of the OPT recommendation.

The location you mail your application to differs depending on what state you live in, directions can be found here (http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-765instr.pdf). As I previously mentioned the USCIS can take from 6 to 12 weeks, or more, to process this application, so get it in as fast as possible!

Closing Notes

I hope this article is useful to some, although the audience is somewhat limited, as I found it very frustrating going through this process.

Please give me feedback on my post, share your thoughts, flame away!