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Photo by Kévin Langlais on Unsplash

From almost fired to promoted early

“How much math do you need to become an investment banker?” — I read.

And I smiled.

An old image just hit me, and vivid memories started to flow. I was seeing myself, sitting at my old desk in 2005, struggling as a first-year analyst at Goldman Sachs’ trading floor in London.

There were people shouting. Some were talking at two phones at the same time. I could not hear my own voice. U.S. payrolls data had just been released on that dark Friday afternoon. Markets were in chaos.

I had a client on the line and my trader in…


Use patience, process, and intention to create long-term leverage

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Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

During the past few years, I have seen many professionals start their careers with huge enthusiasm, drive, and energy. But after a few months, those same people who were eager to make a revolution became bored and disappointed.

Their most common feedback when they hit the wall? “I am not making an impact”.

When this happens, I usually see the same underlying factors at play. On the one hand, a distorted concept of what impact is (and is not); on the other, a massive mismatch between short-term energy and patience to take the time to uncover long-term gains.

Impact, in…


A step-by-step methodology to take control of your job search and uncover opportunities you’d otherwise miss

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Image by TeroVesalainen.

In my professional life, I wear different but complementary hats. I am a headhunter, an associate professor of career strategy at IE Business School, and an executive coach. And in all of my roles, I continue to accumulate experience working with both students and executives who are looking for a new professional challenge, or transitioning to a new role.

From a personal perspective, I am also lucky to have experienced similar transitions first hand, through a non-linear 20-year career in professional car racing, investment banking, and entrepreneurship.

When dealing with professional change, effective networking is the #1 most impactful action…


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© Rafael Sarandeses

There is a price to pay first

Barcelona, 29th September 2002.

Telefonica World Series by Nissan (pre-F1 racing category). Warm-up session on race day. As I drive past the main finish line on my last lap I hear my engineer cheering over the radio. I had ended P1 for the session. On old tyres.

That was a sweet end to a terrible season. I started strong that year, qualifying P2 and finishing on the podium alongside Frank Montagny and Ricardo Zonta (both later became F1 drivers) on the opening round, but then it all fell apart. I was even out of a ride for some races mid-season…


Adopt this systematic method to make progress every week towards your biggest, most important goals

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Photo by Jorgen Hendriksen on Unsplash

As someone with a personal passion to help others execute on their professional goals, I do more than assist in the definition of their objectives and encourage them on their path. To be effective, we all need to develop the right productivity habits to stay on track and reach our goals.

I explained the framework I have developed over time in my previous article, “How to Achieve Your Most Important Career Goals in a Fraction of the Usual Time.” As part of that, I recommend a regular weekly planning routine. …


Plan like a CEO. Execute like a ninja.

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Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

How well do you set meaningful career goals (for yourself and others) AND execute on your plans effectively?

Are you satisfied with the professional progress you make every year — or do you feel stuck in the “same old”?

Do you work consistently on the two or three things that will help you advance in your career, or do you often find yourself “busy” or fighting unproductive behaviors?

If you are like most people (including myself), you’d probably admit that there is sometimes room for improvement in executing on your most important goals.

As a multipotentialite with a career in…


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Photo by Kenan Süleymanoğlu on Unsplash

Debunking mainstream advice with a bit of common sense

When I read things like “you too can become a 6-figure entrepreneur” or “follow your passion and you will be happy” I get nervous. This kind of marketing triggers most people into long-term career failure.

I have seen it. After 20 years of professional sports, investment banking and entrepreneurship, I have experienced my fair share of mistakes and how easy it is to fall for career advice that appeals to our emotions but does not favour longer-term success.

Most career advice is out there to make us feel good with ourselves, so that we buy things. …


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Bonus lesson: sometimes it is ok to cut corners — Valencia, World Series 2002 — © Rafael Sarandeses

Professional Sports Can be Raw Teachers

1. “Winning” is Something You Can Learn

When you achieve your first pole position, or your first win, the behaviour that made that happen integrates in your identity. A winner is someone that wins. It becomes easier to replicate the result once the breakthrough happens.

You have surely experienced this too. When we achieve a goal or we overcome a challenge we develop grit. Our brains learn that we are able to overcome obstacles, making us cultivate the right behaviours to repeat the desired outcome when needed.

I stopped racing at the age of 23. Since then, I have lived through challenges as an employee and…


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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Curate These 7 Key Aspects And go From Zero to Hired

I have always had a passion for helping people develop successful careers, specially when it comes to professionals in financial services.

First in investment banking (as Recruiting Captain for Morgan Stanley’s Sales and Trading division), and later again as an entrepreneur, I have continued to invest focus and energy in identifying, recruiting and training talent.

Today, among other activities, I collaborate with the IE Business School as an Assistant Professor, where I lecture on topics like self-awareness or execution, and I also help Masters in Finance and MBA candidates understand the world of finance and maximise their chances of getting…


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Options For The Professional Mid-Life Crisis

  • Are you thinking of leaving your current job to pursue your true calling?
  • Are you a few years into your career and asking yourself where to go next?
  • Do you feel disengaged at work, with low energy and out of tune with the company’s management, mission or goals?
  • Is the thought of becoming an entrepreneur grabbing your attention lately?

You are not alone. Over 50% of the US workforce report not being engaged. When these disengaged workers leave, 89% of employers think they leave for more money. But strikingly, only 12% leave for that reason.

Making Good Decisions is Easier if You Use a Good Decision-Making Mechanism

If you are deciding…

Rafael Sarandeses

I Help Executives Accelerate & Reinvent Their Careers | Executive Search Consultant, Executive Coach & Career Strategy Professor | rafaelsarandeses.com

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