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A Day in The Life

A Day in the Life of an Expatriate Bank Advisor – Spain

As a bank advisor in the UK I was looking for a new challenge. I was really lucky to get the chance to move out to sunny Spain and do a similar sort of job there.

I got into this job because I wanted to move to Spain to live. I had been looking for a position there for a while when I saw an online advert looking for expat bank advisors for a major Spanish bank. They wanted new people to help deal with the rising number of English speaking expats living in the country.

As soon as I saw the job I knew it was right for me but I had to travel across the UK to the bank’s head office in London for an interview. I only discovered afterwards that I was the only one of the applicants who was brave – or foolish – enough to agree to do the whole interview in Spanish. I was really keen to get the job and start a new life in Spain. My bank experience, desire to get started and basic Spanish helped impress the interviewers enough to get me one of the positions up for grab.

What I Do Each Day

The daily tasks really vary depending upon the time of year, as the branch is located in a massively popular summer vacation area. The winter months are incredibly quiet, so I have a lot of time to speak to the ex pats who live here all year round. My first daily task is to check my list of overnight movements, to see if anyone got a big transfer in I should know about. I will then get out my list of clients and phone maybe 20 of them to try and make some appointments for financial reviews the following day. If I don’t have any appointments for the rest of the day I will head out and speak to a few local business owners. New accounts are rare at this time of year so I will look to sell investments or get new business owners to join my bank.

In summer time, the branch gets really busy. As well as vacationing families asking how to use the ATM or change money, I also have many customers who only come during the summer to work in the local bars and hotels. Most of the day is taken up helping them deposit their wages, send home money by wire transfer, order new bank cards and sort out any other issues they might have. Because they are in a foreign country they depend upon their local ex pat advisor a lot. The working day is from 8 am to 3pm and there is far less of a set routine in summer, due to the constant flow of people who walk into the branch looking for an English speaker.  

The Qualifications

It is generally quite difficult to get a bank job in Spain. They are sought after positions and because of this the entry requirements are fairly high.

However, in the case of ex pat advisors they appear to have made the decision that there are other factors more important than formal qualifications. The original job application stated that they wanted people who had graduated from high school and who had 2 years experience working in a bank. Applicants also have to have experience in sales, fluent English and at least some Spanish for this kind of role.

The Salary Expectations

Bank positions are generally well paid in Spain when compared to other white collar jobs. The staring salary is around €30,000, which works out as $38.000 per annum. A quarterly bonus scheme based on your sales can add a few thousand on top of that if you do well.

(this article was contributed by a guest writer: Robert B., a Banker in Spain)

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A day in the life of an Electrical Engineer - India

As a Senior Electrical Engineer, I am often involved in the development life cycle of electrical systems, which include brainstorming, designing, manufacturing, testing and maintaining phases. For the past 12 years, I have worked on several projects in both private and public sectors.

Irrespective of the field, whether it is an automobile company or a hospital, an educational institution or a power station, I always try to keep my designs updated with the latest developments in the field of electrical technology. If upgrading an existing system, I try to enhance it with energy efficient components and eco-friendly alternatives, such as solar energy, wherever possible.

My daily schedule:

It varies depending on the number of projects at hand, where they are located and their deadlines. But on a normal day, my schedule is as follows:

8.00 AM: Though my normal working hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM, I reach office by 8 AM. I do not like rushing at the last moment. The first thing I do as soon as I reach my office is, check my emails and look for any new updates pertaining to my projects.

8.45 AM: Grab a cup of coffee and go through my to-do list for the day. (I normally prepare my weekly schedule every Saturday for the week ahead. This eases my pressure a lot.)

9.30 AM: I hold a review meeting with my subordinates as well as other staff members working on my project. This serves as a platform to validate recent updates, check the progress of different departments involved in the project, and provide them with the necessary clarifications and directions.

10.30 AM: Depending on the progress, I assign relevant tasks and timeframes to each department, under which they have to submit their first drafts. Presently, we are working on electrical circuit application for a Primary Health Care Center (PHC) affiliated to government of Andhra Pradesh, India.

11.00 AM: I try my best to visit the site(s) on a daily basis and supervise the work going on (if the project is located locally), and if required, take necessary actions to speed up the things. Visiting the site regularly helps me to think out of the box and come up with innovative ideas that can be of a great help to the project. For this project, I have proposed to set up solar panels on the terrace of the central building, which houses administration department and emergency operation theatres to serve as an emergency power back-up, just in case.

1.00 - 2.00 PM: A much needed lunch break. This helps me to rejuvenate my energy levels and start fresh.

2.00 PM – 5 PM: Generally, this time is pre-occupied with client meetings, presentations, and discussions with my superiors, meeting team leaders from other departments, sharing each other’s views on how things are developing and what needs to be done in order to meet the client’s requirements, etc. Of course, I do take a tea-break at 3.30 PM.

After 5 PM (Occasionally): In case of urgency, I conduct meetings with the ground level staff, draftsmen, designers, architects and other staff (as needed) over the tea, to let them know of the same and make them understand what needs to be done to resolve the issue within the client’s budget and within the given deadlines.

How did I get into this job?

Depending on the number of vacancies (and the department), the Government of India initiates job postings with pre-determined qualifications that are required to perform each job effectively. My position as a Senior Electrical Engineer demanded minimum 5 years of experience as a Junior Electrical Engineer (Civil Works), passing a written exam and an interview. I did well and got selected.

Minimum qualifications required to pursue career as an Electrical Engineer:

Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (4 years); or a Diploma in Electrical Engineering (3 years) along with relevant experience. This is the minimum requirement to pursue your career as an Electrical Engineer in India.

Salary expectations:

Salary package depends on the organization you are working for, your qualifications and experience. For the year 2014, the average starting salary of an Electrical Engineer (fresher) in India is approximately $15, 000 per year.

(this article was contributed by a guest writer: E M Sankar , an Electrical Engineer in India).

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A day in the life of a Computer Engineer- Bangladesh

The life of a computer engineer in Bangladesh is a routine office work type existence. Typical office hours would be 9am to 5pm. On a work day, one needs to leave the house very early in the morning as "traffic jam" is a big issue in Bangladesh. You also don't get home till late after being stuck in traffic. During the working week, one does not get much free time to do anything else or to have much time with family. Everyone waits for the weekends for a hangout or a family dinner in a restaurant.               

In Bangladesh, there is plenty of opportunities in the IT sector but the salaries are not as good as in the "developed" countries. A good computer engineer gets a job easily. Every company, these days, want to have something to do with software so jobs related to software development are relatively easier to get.

In terms of qualifications needed, Diploma holders do get jobs in software companies but their salaries are relatively lower. A B.Sc. qualified engineer with good, proven I.T. skills get very good salaries even though  opportunity is limited at this level. A lot of Bangladesh I.T. graduates, especially from reputable universities travel abroad for jobs. Some have settled there permanently.

Salaries vary from $100 to $2000 and $2500 for a computer scientist in Bangladesh. Remuneration increases with experience. A B.Sc qualification commands considerably higher salary than a Diploma. In Bangladesh, coding skills in languages like C, C++, PHP, JAVA, ANDROID, HTML, CSS are highly sought after.

To boost your chance of getting a job in an IT firm in Bangladesh, one should at least be a graduate in computer science or engineering. Nevertheless, there are also people of non-IT background working in I.T. companies. Some are self taught or have attended training courses.

These days "freelancing" has become a great source of income in Bangladesh. Freelancing involves offering your skills on a short term basis for quick pay. A great deal of freelancing is done on the internet by computer professionals as there a re numerous programming jobs available. Computer scientists are the best earners when it comes to freelancing jobs. In the last 3-4 years a significant number of people got involved in freelancing - most of them are computer engineers.

A big contributor to the advancement of I.T. in Bangladesh is the improvement of mobile technology (Android, IOS, Windows). This opened the door for making money through "apps" development. Android apps are very common in Bangladesh as around a third of the population use Android phones.  

I would say in Bangladesh today, computer professionals are having a great time in comparison to the other professions.

(this article was contributed by a guest writer: A. Rahman, a Computer Engineer in Bangladesh).

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A day in the life of a Pharmacist - Bangladesh

I am a graduate pharmacist from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I completed my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Dhaka University. Pharmacy is a well respected profession in Bangladesh. Here, pharmacists are working in a wide range of industries such as in factories, pharmaceutical corporate offices, universities and government services. However, after my graduation I have chosen to work in the corporate office of a UK-based multinational pharmaceutical company.

On a typical work day, I start by checking my official mails and following up these on a priority basis. the rest of the day I am involved with any of:

  • Designing promotional materials for advertising and product promotion.
  • Doing sales analysis and pointing out poorly performing territories where urgent attention is required
  • Preparing presentations for the upcoming marketing or sales meetings
  • Training sales representatives on my assigned products
  • Closely work with other internal stakeholders like regulatory, medical, training, quality, HR or finance departments in some areas to facilitate some processes related to my assigned products.
  • Occasionally I do a random market visit to understand and get real insight from the market that helps in planning.

Getting this job was by no means an easy task! More than 500 applicants applied for this job. Some were either qualified pharmacists (mostly) or doctors. Among them, 12 applicants had been called for an initial interview and presentation. 3 applicants including me were selected from this pool for the final interview with the commercial director of the company. I was lucky enough to get the job because only one candidate was selected finally, and it was me.

As per the company policy, I went through some medical tests and preparatory training to judge my physical and mental fitness for this job. After joining as a product executive, I was a probationary employee for 9 months. It has been almost 3 years today since my joining. Currently, I am working in the marketing department as a senior product executive. I work 9.00 am to 6.00 pm to make my medicine brands grow.

There are several pharmaceutical product executive jobs being advertised here every month. But the competition has grown much stronger. Employers usually expect applicants to have B.Pharm/ M.Pharm/ MBBS degree. However, they also look out for an MBA in addition to those medical degrees. MBA qualified pharmacist are more preferred.

Employers usually offer 25,000 - 28,000 BDT/month to applicants with no prior experience which equals to $266.66 - $373.33 USD/month (75 BDT=1 USD as at Oct 2014). These employees will get $450 - $550 USD/month with 2/3 years of job experience. Adding to that, every employee working in a pharmaceutical company enjoys minimum 2 festival bonuses and one profit bonus after the end of the year. This amount varies widely from company to company. Salaries are very low here compared to other developed places in the world but living costs in Dhaka are cheap too.

(this article was contributed by a guest writer: S. Saha, a pharmacist in Bangladesh).

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