Alphas vs Betas

Imagine for a second you are a trader and the only thing you enjoy in life is precisely that: exchanging items to meet your own agenda. But then, you are sent into a foreign culture, where hugs and questions about your family seem to be the only things other people care about. How would you feel in such a situation? Wouldn’t you just like to ask these people: what’s the purpose of your life? How come you are “wasting your time” caring about other people, when you could become millionaire?

Today we had a very interesting excercise in class, where alphas and betas, two completely different cultures, met each other and tried to decode what the other culture was about. The excercise was not only exciting, but it also taught us something – we tend to underestimate about the global world we live in: there are unspoken rules in any culture, and unless we as foreigners manage to decode them, it will be difficult for us to be properly understood as well.


  1. Hi Ingo, thanks for your comment. My description of the excercise was made a bit incomplete on purpose, since I do not want to ruin the experience for next year’s MBAs. But believe me: these betas we met today do not want to waste their time asking about your cat 🙂

  2. Hi Marcello, just a quick note on your example: first of all I never met a successful trader (or any other successful guy) who did not have a family of his own. Secondly, if you have your own family you normally enjoy talking about them – and is not family the smallest common denominator across all cultures? Talking about what you have in common with others helps building bridges a lot, especially when you meet foreign cultures. And hey, a million is nothing buddy; put the bar higher or you are wasting your time already 😉

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