Facts About Architects

Architects are qualified professionals capable of designing new buildings, and remodeling of old buildings. Architects use their creation and drawing tools to design attractive, functional, and secure buildings. Construction of a building consistently needs architects to adapt the design considering budget, clients’ requirements, and environmental factors. Architects have to work with the entire construction staff and other professionals, including civil engineers, electrical engineers, and public health engineers, interior designers, and even landscape designers.

Architects can also play multiple roles, providing interior design, decoration, landscape designing, and even construction on turnkey basis.

Qualification of Architects

5 to 7 years of academic studies in architecture is required. The architecture includes different subjects, like a design, drafting, graphics, materials and construction, history of architecture, environmental studies, mechanics, structure, landscape, and interior design.

After graduation, the architect has to get registered with the concerned department to get the license for practicing architecture as a professional. However, every country has its own laws different from another country.

After graduating, an architect can further get specialization in any subject to get the degree in Masters, MPhil or Ph.D. Higher degrees can help architects get high salary jobs in universities, colleges, and research centers.

Essential Skills for Architects

• Written and oral skills in communication

• Excellent imagination and ability to bring imagination to paper through creative work

• An ability to begin and end a project in a professional way

• Ability to meet challenges during construction

• Having great skills in making drawings, both manually and using CAD

• An ability to understand project details

• Ability to manage the entire project

• Ability to lead a team of professionals and labor

• Well versed in latest software programs

• Ability to complete a project within the contract time, and within budget

Duties of an Architect

• Designing of buildings, and converting the design to paper through drawings, manually and using AutoCAD, (drawing software).

• Liaising with engineers, quantity surveyors, and construction staff

• Buildings’ planning according to local bylaws and getting approval of design from concerned authorities

• Making documents like presentation reports, proposal writing and contracts

• Making BOQs or bill of quantity with specifications

• Making changes in their design according to construction needs

• Leading a team, including cad operators, junior architects, interior designers, contractors, and construction managers

• Ensure high-quality construction. Frequent meetings with the clients at clients place.

Work Hours

Though different architecture firms follow 9 am to 5 pm timings from Monday to Friday, but architects often work late evenings and even nights due to urgent projects or limited deadlines. Architects have to pay overtime to their staff in case of longer working hours.

Salaries of Architects

Salary of an architect varies depending on the architecture firm. But, in general, salary structure depends on architect’s experience and his skills. Like, a salary of a junior architect is less than the senior architect.

Industries that Hire Architects

• Small or large private firms

• Public sectors

• Government sectors

• Large construction firms

• Engineering firms

• Landscape firms

• Interior design firms

• Teaching institutes and universities

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Did You Goof Or What?

Did you ever get ready to purchase some items and you realized you didn’t have your wallet?

Have you tripped and/or fallen down in front of people?

Did you ever go somewhere and realize you had on two different shoes, two different earrings, or your shirt inside out? Or how about this? A sock hanging out the neck of your shirt, held there by static cling. People do this all the time, and, if you haven’t done any of it yet, you may soon.

Maybe you’ve dreamed about it? Or would the appropriate phrase be you had a nightmare about it?

And although this may not seem like a catastrophe to you, there are those who consider it a nightmare. For those people, I recommend this:

Sit down and relax. Get ready to visualize, because that’s what we’re going to do. If you aren’t good at visualizing, pretend that you are, then see yourself pretending to have the nightmare.

Here are two action steps you can take.

Action #1:

Take your worst experience and make it into a picture in your mind.

Now, explode it!

Now, bring it back, and explode it again!

Bring it back, and explode it again!

Do it until you can see yourself doing that nightmarish thing and it doesn’t bother you. It just happened is all, and you go about your business.

Action #2:

Release the thought that the situation is embarrassing. Have the thought. Release it. Have the thought, release it. Have the thought, release it. Keep doing it until you can look around and be oblivious to what “used” to be a problem.

It may be hard to get past the thought that you are the center of everyone’s Universe — meaning everyone is watching and judging you — but it’s not Impossible.

Remember this forever and DO IT. You made a mistake. Let it go. You made a mistake. Let it go. You made a mistake. Let it go.

Another thing you can say to yourself, “No one will remember this in a couple of years’ time, so what difference does it make? It’s not the end of the world. I’ll move on and get better.”

Live life to the fullest. You can’t if you let little things bother you. Figure out what is important in life. Then, live it.

Thanks for reading,

Jan

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Accounting Outsourcing – Good Or Bad?

Lately, job outsourcing has started to affect everything from information technology to customer service to accounting. In fact, anyone whose job does not require frequent face to face interaction is a possible target of this growing epidemic. Jobs involving low-skilled workers are not the only ones being affected anymore. Now, even high-skilled jobs such as those related to medical and engineering fields are being affected (High-skilled jobs in finance). It is expected that 200,000 more jobs will be outsourced every year for the next decade (Outsourcing’s long-term effects). What does this mean for the future of accounting?

Every company needs some type of accounting aid to help prepare their financial records. Since companies cannot entirely eliminate their accounting operations, many have opted to outsource their accounting divisions to offshore countries, mostly India (High-skilled jobs in finance). These outsourcing companies have the ability to perform quarterly and annual accounting and bookkeeping tasks, all which could be done here, for less money (Finance and Accounting Outsourcing). All areas that are involved in accounting are currently being outsourced including financial statement preparation, internal auditing, and account reconciliations (Finance and Accounting Outsourcing). In some cases, only parts of a company’s accounting sector are outsourced. In such cases, outsourcing is being used to aid a company’s current staff (Finance and Accounting Outsourcing). Every company needs to know the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing before they make a decision.

The main reason companies are deciding to outsource is that it saves them a ton of money in training and recruiting costs (Finance and Accounting Outsourcing). The people performing these accounting jobs overseas are getting paid far less than those doing the same job here in America, and working longer hours as well. Outsourcing is also beneficial because it saves companies the process of setting up and maintaining a separate accounting department (Offshoring Finance Jobs). This helps to save overhead costs for such companies. Since accounting and tax laws are being changed so frequently here in the US, it is much easier for CPA firms to outsource their accounting services to other countries (The Benefits of Outsourcing). This saves companies the hassle and cost of retraining their employees every time the laws are changed (The Benefits of Outsourcing).

Despite the benefits outsourcing accounting services bring, it does have its disadvantages. The main problem involved is confidentially issues (The Benefits of Outsourcing). Certain accounting information is supposed to be confidential, so sending it to overseas places like India poses a big threat. You can never really tell who is across the world looking at your financial statements, and what type of security is being used to screen such issues (The Benefits of Outsourcing). Other things stopping companies from outsourcing their accounting jobs include worries about compliance issues, and the initial investment that is involved for this procedure (Offshoring Finance Jobs). Businesses are not sure if the initial cost necessary for outsourcing will override the potential benefits it could provide. Some corporations are waiting for others to outsource their accounting jobs before doing it themselves; this way, they can try to gauge the potential risks that are involved before switching to outsourcing themselves (Offshoring Finance Jobs).

Accounting outsourcing is both good and bad. As of right now, there seem to be more pros than cons, mainly due to the potentially large amount of money being saved. However, businesses should not base their entire decision on that fact alone. Companies deciding whether or not to outsource the accounting division of their business should look at the advantages and disadvantages before making such an important decision.

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Buying Health Insurance Through a Broker

In its most simple definition, a health insurance broker (also commonly known as an agent) is someone who is licensed to sell health insurance. However, there are many other services they provide you that fall under the umbrella of selling health insurance. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Perhaps the most important fact to know about working with an agent is that it’s free. Insurance agents are paid by insurance carriers, not by consumers. So don’t worry about having to pay some service fee for signing up for a plan with an agent, because it will cost you nothing more than if you were to do it yourself
  2. Health insurance is confusing, and an agent will explain it to you until it makes sense. Ask all the questions you want, that’s what they’re there for. Want to know what your coinsurance will be on a certain plan? Want to know what coinsurance even means? Ask away!
  3. An agent can help you compare plans that you’re interested in. When you let an agent know what it is you’re looking for, they will narrow down your possibilities and explain the benefits of each. They can check to see if your doctors and preferred medical facilities are in-network, and they can just to see if any prescriptions you take are covered (and how much).
  4. Your agent is your agent as long as you have your policy. This means that you have someone you can contact when you have questions or even when you want to shop around for a new plan. You’ve got someone in your corner, as opposed to just winging it and picking out a plan on your own.

Because I’m sure you don’t want to be here reading all day, those are only a few of the biggest benefits of using a licensed agent to buy health insurance. That’s not even including how much time and frustration an agent can save you (we’ll save that for another article!).

To make it even more convenient for you, many brokers have the ability to access plans that are both on and off-exchange (government-run Marketplaces for health insurance). This provides you with even more options. Additionally, for agents who can access on-exchange plans, they can also determine your subsidy eligibility that can lower your premium and out-of-pocket expenses. Again, saving you yet another headache.

The next time you need to enroll in or change a health plan, keep a licensed agent in mind- it won’t cost you anything, but it will certainly save you a lot.

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The Importance of Business Systems

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” – W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

What are business systems?

Business systems are documented procedures setting out how your organisation operates. They are processes, usually combining actions taken by people and some form of automated application, organised in such a way so as to meet a given set of business objectives. Such systems can generally take place without the business founder / owner’s direct action, over and over again, as efficiently as possible.

Examples of processes may include how your staff should answer the telephone, how they take and pass on messages; the procedure for raising, approving, placing and receiving orders; the process for generating, checking and sending out client invoices, as well as receiving payments and following up on outstanding bills etc.

Regardless of the size or type of your business, it is likely that you already have set procedures in place covering many functions within your organisation, which employees follow out of habit or as directed by their supervisor / manager.

Business systems are the manual for your business; the “know-how” of any business that many business founders / owners usually hold in their head, and have not got round to putting onto paper.

Why implement business systems?

There are many reasons and just as many benefits for having established and documented systems in your business, some of which include the following:

1. They provide a framework for your operations and an effective structure to support your business.

2. They improve consistency: production, delivery, customer service, after-sales care etc.

3. They improve results and/or productivity, because you and your employees don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time.

4. They provide a better work environment for your employees, as an effective system will contribute to clarifying roles and responsibilities as well as providing staff with some guidelines to refer to.

5. They ensure compliance with legislation, safety regulations or any other legal requirement specific to your type of business operations.

6. They give your business the ability to expand and they facilitate business growth, as they will make your business more attractive to any potential investor or buyer.

What system works best?

Although there are similarities across many functions, such as Accounts, Human Resources, Sales, Stores, Logistics etc., unfortunately there is no one perfect, one size fits all system that works for all companies. Any system will need to integrate the company’s business objectives, its people and the way it provides its products or services.

It is important to have a well-designed system, customised to your type of operation, and thought out by people at all levels within the organisation.

Such a system will be more likely to be followed by all employees, because they have been involved in its design, and they understand the value that having a system in place brings to the quality of their work and the service they provide to customers.

One point to keep in mind is that having great people working with poorly designed systems – or no systems – is likely to lead to an under-performing business. On the other hand, great systems without good people won’t work either, hence the additional benefit of involving employees in designing a system, or simply in documenting the processes they are following.

Equally so, employees who have been trained in your business systems should also feel empowered enough so that they don’t feel they just have to follow a given script without using their head.

For this reason, it is important to encourage feedback not just from your customers, but also from your employees and to use such comments to review and to continuously improve and develop your business systems.

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Advantages Of Owning A Recreational Vehicle

Bonding with family and friends would mean having fun and these days having fun would normally mean being outside the comfort zone or going to a place that is cool and riding in a recreational vehicle. Years ago when our folks would say "let's go camping" we would rush into our closet and grab a tent but nowadays going on a camp would mean riding in a recreational vehicle and heading somewhere. Thank goodness for the creation of RVs and camping would not mean staying in a tent that is so small and unsafe.

The stressful lifestyle that we have and the polluted environment that we are living, all of these makes us crave to go out on a trip to a place away from the stressful city and polluted community. This is one of the reasons why RVs are becoming so popular to many countries. RVs are also known as motorhomes and travel trailers by most folks. People like to travel in a recreational vehicle rather than taking the car, bus or train because it offers comfort and security just like a home does. Depending on the style and the owner's decision, a motorhome can have amenities just like a home. It can have a cooking stove, oven, generator, refrigerator, bed, comfort room, furniture, cabinets, shower, television, computer, and yes even bath tub. This is also the big difference if you have an RV; you can cook your own meal, sleep in a comfortable bed, can take a bath anytime that you want and go anywhere that you want.

Another advantage of having an RV is that it can save you money. Believe it or not but yes RVs can actually help you save money. If you are the type of person who is constantly on the road or someone who loves the outdoors then you should get an RV. Not only will you be able to save hundreds of dollars annually from hotel bills and from dining out in a fancy restaurant but with RVs you do not have to worry where to spend the night if you are in an unfamiliar place.

If you do not have the money to buy a brand new recreational vehicle then buy a second-hand travel trailers. There are actually many used travel trailers that are in good running condition. Be diligent in choosing the best RVs and in the end you will get the best one. When shopping for used travel trailers it is best if you do a little research online about the company where you intend to buy. Know its reputation by joining forums and online discussion. Through here you will know if their vehicles are in top shape and if their price is reasonable.

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A Healthy Food Guide For The Vegetarian Diet

The general viewpoint is that you can’t go wrong with a vegetarian diet; it is nutrient rich with plenty of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. But did you know that vegetarian diets can be low in protein if adequate beans, lentils, and/or dairy are not included? For example, a vegetarian meal that only consists of a leafy green salad with a side of whole grain bread is low in protein. Adding beans to the leafy green salad, a side of lentil soup, and/or a serving of non-fat milk or yogurt are easy ways to include protein in the meal. Also, eating the same lettuce salad for lunch every day can also mean that your diet lacks variety. Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits ensures that you are getting different nutrients from naturals foods on a regular basis. Whether you are eating at home or in a restaurant, there are websites with free tools that you can use to look up the nutrition data of foods and recipes.

Most free nutrition databases that are available online, provide the calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat content of foods. They may also include additional nutrition information of food like dietary fiber, cholesterol, and sodium content. The field of nutrition is continuously evolving due to extensive scientific research that is conducted globally. Board certified nutrition professionals are required to continuously update their knowledge and skills based on the results of the latest scientific research. Stay current with dietary recommendations by reading nutrition tips provided by qualified experts; avoid the yo-yo effects of fad diets and miracle foods.

Qualified nutrition professionals with specializations in chronic health diseases, food allergies, dietary restrictions or ethnic diets may also offer support via personalized diet consultations and advice. Many Indians follow a vegetarian diet that also includes eggs, and dairy products like milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cheese, and butter. Most savory Indian snack foods tend to be deep fried while desserts are made with ghee (clarified butter). Moderation is important as both the snacks and desserts are high in fat. There are very few free online food databases that provide accurate Indian cuisine nutrition facts or a protein content food list for ethnic cuisine. Working with a qualified nutrition professional who is also knowledgeable in ethnic dietary restrictions helps with the creation of appropriate meal plans and diet modifications that work for your lifestyle and health requirements. Whether it is heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, pregnancy, or weight loss, utilize the services offered by qualified nutrition experts to meet your health goals.

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Choosing The Right Architect For Your Commercial Real Estate Development

A good real estate development starts with the right architect. An architect is concerned not only with the concept but also the planning as well as designing of a building or any real estate development. A degree in architecture equips one with the knowledge of the building and operational codes that are to be adhered for every architectural design.

An architect is trained such that he/she transforms a user’s needs and demands into design and eventually into physical form. This implies that he/she should have complete training that will aid in the building of safe and healthy construction for people and the communities. Architects have to obtain licenses to practice architecture as their building designs and planning decisions play a vital role in the safety and security of the public.

Architects specialize in different fields among architecture i.e., land, land development, buildings, office parks, residential, landscape and the like. This specialization is a result of the increasingly fragmented, demanding and concentrated world. Thus, it is difficult for a single architect to be aware of the know-how of each of these fields and to accommodate the distinct demands of different clients.

An architect plays a very significant role in a project from its conception to its construction. The final physical form of a building or any real estate development is designed by an architect who obviously considers the desires and needs of the client. As such, it is important to choose an architect who is well qualified as well as experienced in the specialized field of your choice. An architect who has been in business for at least 5-10 years must have developed a strong foundation of relevant concepts. He/she must possess the skills, knowledge and experience needed for a decent and fascinating project. This indicates that it is essential to review an architect’s qualifications prior to selection; his/her degree, experience and license – all should be checked before one hands over the project. An important point to note is that he/she should be experienced for five plus years in the particular field of the development project and not just as a general architect.

Having said the significance of educational qualifications, it is time to review an architect’s affiliations and accreditations. An achieved architect should also be affiliated with a reliable institution, for instance, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Royal Institute of British Architects and the like. Affiliation with such institutes demonstrates an architect’s credibility and popularity in the industry. An architect who is affiliated and accredited by similar professional architectural organizations has certainly passed their comprehensive requirements. This is a strong recognition and a proof of their achievement. However, mere affiliation is not the only consideration before choosing an architect. Other relevant factors and elements should also be considered so that the ultimate decision is made bearing all concerns in mind.

Geographical area of specialty is also an important element. Some architects are specialized and well-aware of certain area(s), and as such their scope is quite limited to those areas. Although he/she may excel in architecture and the particular area(s), this does not ensure that he/she will be able to deliver equivalent results in the area of the project’s requirement. Thus, this aspect should also be kept in mind.

Certain other conditions are also relevant as they ascertain whether a project will be successful and simultaneously whether the relationship between the client and the architect is sound and pleasant. A good architect should possess good communication skills and should be responsive of the client’s questions and/or queries. This is a very important factor, which ensures the completion of the project on time and on good terms. For your relationship with the architect to be successful, the architect you ultimately select should, by all means, follow up on calls and emails and should keep his/her word on different aspects related to the project.

An architect’s connections are a reflection of his/her success and achievement as well as political and negotiation skills. One who is well connected and has contacts like city planners and those in political processes is most certainly preferred as opposed to his/her counterparts with relatively few connections and contacts. Yet another factor is an architect’s membership of local clubs as the Kiwanis, Toastmasters, Knights of Columbus, Rotary etc. An associated member is most certainly a better candidate.

Each one of the above mentioned factors are important considerations for an investor or a customer prior to choosing a suitable architect. At first, it might seem difficult to find architects with all qualifications but there are ways. You can talk to developers, other popular architects, city planning and building departments, local economic developments, chambers of commerce etc and ask for references. Similar references cal also be obtained from experienced customers, sellers and buyers. The advent and popularity of the Internet has opened previously unknown avenues for obtaining information. The Internet can be a source of information, details and contact about reputable, qualified and experienced architects. The websites of architectural professional organizations may also list prominent architects in different regions.

A good architect is the key to any real estate development. Once a solid relationship and understanding has been established with the right architects(s), the entire process of idea generation, conceptualization through to final construction becomes simpler and satisfying. A good architect is aware of all reasonable specifications and is filled with ideas that form successful real estate development strategies. Thus, it is absolutely imperative to choose the right architect – one who is aware, experienced and reputable.

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Exploding From Sissy to Seismic

I love the color gray, but then again, I also hate the color gray.

Grey is a very nice color for some things: like a business suit, warm fuzzy socks, or even hair! But it’s a really sorry color for your life, for copywriting, internet business marketing, important first dates, fast fancy race cars, lipstick, etc.

Red Hot Passion is anything but gray – that’s why they call it “Red Hot”!

Political Correctness is so gray it’s pathetic.

Detailed Specifics are not gray.

Generalization is VERY gray, and when you generalize you loose the people you wanted to reach.

Want to make a difference in life or in this world? Want to stand out from all the other gray people around you? Want your message to be heard by all those gray people? Then you want to be brilliant and vibrant. You need to be as dynamic as you can. You do not want to be a gray person or have a gray personality – you’ll get lost in the fray.

This is exactly why celebrities do such strange and stupid things. It gets attention and media coverage. It gets people talking about them (the gray people that is). The media coverage and talking usually translates into more money in their pockets. I also think that some celebrities become so addicted to it that they can’t stop doing strange things!

Like those funny and flamboyant mating dances some birds do, the biggest showoff and most colorful male gets to mate and pass on his genes to the next generation! I really think it’s built into the deep recesses of our cerebral cortex too – that’s why we can’t help but pay attention to the strange and stupid. The end result: more people watch stupid and worthless reality shows than care about real suffering and real reality. More people care about and read about Tiger Woods than the programs our leaders are voting to pass.

But how does this help or hinder life, money, and happiness? How can we use this information when it comes to making money, selling something, writing ad copy, internet business marketing, or just living the best life we can? Easy: be the colorful bird!

Make your copy interesting and vivid – if it’s dull, throw it out and start over. Make your presentation colorful, if it puts people to sleep, you failed and need to pump it up. Take a stand – you have opinions – use them! Don’t play it safe at all. Too many people are obsessed with being politically correct: it’s an epidemic of grayness!

Playing it safe and trying to please everyone and not insult or offend anyone will NOT get you ahead. You’ll just be one more invisible person. If you want your life to sizzle then you need to have some HEAT!

But what if you’re hopeless? Maybe you just have a dull gray personality and just can’t seem to find any color whatsoever? One trick people use is roll playing. Pretend you’re someone else. Sometimes I go into my crazy TV Evangelist alter ego! I Scream and holler and make wild motions with my hands! I jump around! You can do that too. Maybe when it’s time for you to write, or work on ad copy, or even go out on a date, you put on a special jacket, shirt, or shoes. And KA-BAM! You’re now nine shades of hi-gloss hot-red passion instead of the usual flat gray!

Fear is the problem. It takes courage to stand out from the crowd! I know that inside even the most subdued and dull person there’s a bright star wanting to get out. It’s fear that keeps their starlight locked-up inside: just like a black hole stops even it’s own light from escaping.

So GET FIRED UP! Get some PERSONALITY! Go from wuss to WONDER, from plain to PASSIONATE, from dull to DAZZLING, from empty to EMPHATIC, from so-so to SO WHAT, from sissy to SEISMIC! Be the colorful bird!

Fred Black

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15 Most Common Banking & Finance Interview Questions

Some of the most common interview questions for an investment banking interview include (some are a bit on the tough side but they DO come up very often, increasingly as a means of trimming down the candidate lists as the finance graduate job market gets harsher):

  1. How many degrees (if any) are there in the angle between the hour and the minute hands of a clock when the time is a quarter past three? [Typically asked during investment banking interviews for entry level investment banking graduate jobs]
  2. Find the smallest positive integer that leaves a remainder of 1 when divided by 2, a remainder of 2 when divided by 3, a remainder of 3 when divided by 4,… and a remainder of 9 when divided by 10 [Asked during interviews for quantitative finance jobs]
  3. Two standard options have exactly the same features, expect that one has long maturity, and the other has short maturity. Which one has the higher gamma? [Typically asked during interviews for bank derivatives trading jobs]
  4. How do you calculate an option’s delta? [Asked during investment banking interviews for derivatives trading jobs]
  5. When can hedging an options position make you take on more risk? [Typically asked during interviews for trading jobs]
  6. Are you better off using implied standard deviation or historical standard deviation to forecast volatility? Why? [Asked during interviews for quantitative finance jobs]
  7. Describe “duration” and “convexity”. Describe their properties and uses [Typically asked during investment banking interviews for graduate investment banking jobs]
  8. Two players A and B play a marble game. Each player has both a red and a blue marble. They present one marble to each other. If both present red, A wins $3. If both present blue, A wins $1. If the colors do not match, B wins $2. Is it better to be A or B, or does it matter? [Asked during interviews for quantitative finance or derivatives jobs]
  9. How do you “value” yourself? Here “value” means in financial terms [Typically asked during interviews for MBA finance jobs or experienced banking hires]
  10. What distinguishes you from other candidates we might hire? [Typically asked during investment banking interviews for graduate investment banking vacancies]
  11. If you could go on a cross-country car trip with any three people, who would you choose? Why? [Typically asked during interviews for corporate finance / mergers & acquisitions banking jobs]
  12. Tell be about a stock you like or hate and why [Asked by job interviewers for any accounting, finance or job!]
  13. What is the difference between default and prepayment risk? [Typically asked during interviews for credit jobs / risk management jobs]
  14. How would you move mount Fuji? [Typically asked during investment banking interviews for consulting jobs or graduate accounting jobs]
  15. Estimate the annual car demand for car batteries [Typically asked during interviews for corporate finance jobs, mergers & acquisition banking jobs or consulting jobs]
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