Does learning Spanish help an MBA student?
Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group of languages of the Indo-European language family, which evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in Iberia after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. It is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe. Today, it is a global language with nearly 500 million native speakers, mainly in Spain and America. It is the world’s second-most spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese, and the world’s fourth-most spoken language overall after English, Mandarin Chinese, and Hindi. The oldest Latin texts with traces of Spanish come from mid-northern Iberia in the 9th century, and the first systematic written use of the language happened in Toledo, a prominent city of the Kingdom of Castile, in the 13th century. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and it is also used as an official language by the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States, the African Union and many other international organizations. Modern Spanish was then taken to the viceroyalties of the Spanish Empire beginning in 1492, most notably to America, as well as territories in Africa and the Philippines.
Does learning Spanish help an MBA student? and the answer is YES!! but if done in appropriate regions.
There was a time when English was the lingua franca of international business, trade and services and then French arrived! However, with the advent of technology and the Internet, all equations of the past were redefined. Nowadays, we meet people speaking languages previously unknown to us such as Xhosa – Siutg Africa(also the native language of Nelson Mandela), Silbo Gomero – Canary Islands, Rotokas – Bougainville, Papua New Guinea and many more of the 6000 languages spoken around the world.
The scope of foreign languages the world over is full of employment opportunities, and a bilingual or multilingual person is perceived to be globally savvy, possessing an international perspective, a global traveller and a professional who can work in different cultures; attributes many employers prefer to see in their senior managers! Thus language learning undoubtedly catapults learners on a fast track towards a brighter, successful future. Several multinationals have an indomitable presence all around the world with regional offices in geography other than their own. Their deeper and stronger penetration in global markets helps them enlist themselves with prospering economies, spreading operations worldwide. Learning a new language can offer many incentives and truly make you a more competitive candidate in the international job market with bilingual/multilingual fluency spiking to your CV, together with your primary qualification.
Learning a foreign language, such as Spanish empowers a learner to remain a step ahead of other applicants in all prospective and critical jobs fields. Assuming you are working for one of the multinationals in the country of your origin, your ability to speak a foreign language will put you in a much stronger position as compared to the rest of the company staff. A few also hint that an MBA armed with a foreign language, makes it an extremely luscious combination for an employee, as you are likely to be rewarded a much better remuneration.
Language learning also enables you to have an improved understanding and experience of your company’s clients, their working ethics, culture, beliefs, way of life, business practices, etiquette and philosophy. For higher positions in a company, postings overseas, foreign internships or in job interviews, you are certain to make yourself a preferred candidate, who clearly stands out of the crowd, with his/her bi/multilingual capabilities, clearly proving to possess the potential of being a valuable asset for the company over other monolingual candidates, being considered for the same.
As a result of the cultural knowledge, that a learner acquires while learning a language, he/she is able to easily gauge and respond appropriately to customers’, clients’ reactions or expressions. This further helps a Spanish learner to act timely, change proposals, or introduce new freebies/ offers, to be able to clinch deals, build, improve, develop and broaden your personal and professional relationships, grow trust among professional acquaintances, clients and foreign associates, build networks that are the pivot to converting business opportunities.
As an example, Germans are very punctual and hate delays. Learning the German language will also introduce you to many such facts. Or that it is considered rude to pour a drink for oneself in Japan. Instead as a gesture of hospitality, your drinking partner will pour your drink and you reciprocate by pouring theirs. If you are attending a gathering or banquet, do not drink until everyone has a glass and raises it in a collective “kampai” (cheers!)
That was not so difficult. Let’s now see what to avoid offending a Spaniard
- Never eat with one hand under the table.
- Don’t think the Spanish are angry all the time.
- Don’t put your bread on your plate in Spain.
- Don’t wear your swimsuit off the beach.
- Don’t ask people what job they do when you’re at a party.
- Don’t say “Adios”.
- Don’t get drunk in the afternoon.
- Don’t tip too much.
LOL, now those are quite a few things to bear in mind..aren’t they? 🙂
Learning language, therefore, helps you understand people from another part of the world and what they perceive as right and wrong. It also helps you avoid all mistakes that may offend them!
Learning a foreign language is an excellent choice, especially if you are aiming to steer your career ahead in a global company, using your language skills in addition to your MBA qualifications. Multinational companies from Europe, and the USA are actively hiring Spanish language experts to fill different positions in their workplaces around the world, prioritizing them over other candidates.
Thus an MBA employee stands to offer a much better opportunity, with his combined intellect of language and business acumen, to a business at every meeting/ interaction. Given that business connections play a vital role in a competitive business environment, an employee can literally steal the show, if he/ she knows the language of the business’s clientele.
Several MBA students pass out of global business schools each year. And with employers insisting to hire MBA graduates who are fluent in foreign languages such as French, Spanish, Mandarin. German, Arabic and many more, it becomes a challenge for MBA schools to find good placements for their students.
Therefore, most Business School students nowadays, are already conversant in two or three languages, owing to most International MBA schools encouraging, and sometimes insisting on working knowledge of a foreign language.
The need for such bilingual/multilingual candidates is even greater in the medical, legal, and financial services sector, especially investment banks, with clients and operations scattered across the globe.
Nothing drives a point home better than the ‘we are hiring’ pages on the websites of companies such as Infosys or Tata Consultancy Services.
An MBA coursework equips a student with a broad spectrum of business-related topics including accounting, statistics, economics, communications, management, and entrepreneurship. MBA programs not only prepare students to work for financial institutions, but they also prepare them for management positions or as founders of startup companies.
While excelling in academics serves as a solid foundation, business schools gear up students to prepare themselves for real-world professional outcomes. That’s why many MBA schools value relevant work experience in their decision-making process. EMBA part/full-time programs, as an example, lay more emphasis on work experience rather than stale academic records for older individuals, who are already working in management or leadership roles.
Therefore, if you are considering majors such as International Business, Global Finance or Global Management in your MBA program, you must seriously consider learning a second language. Added to that if your aim is US, Spain or Mexico, you must learn Spanish!
While foreign languages are yet to get full-fledged acceptance and recognition as required skills along with other necessary skills, education and experience, it is a pleasure to know that skill surveys show progressive results that are sealing the deal with 45 per cent of people acknowledging foreign language skills pertinent to business (while not deeming them necessary recruitment requirement), about 36 per cent recognizing language skills, helpful in building business relationships with overseas suppliers, customers and other contacts, and yet another 26 per cent considering language skills, an important consideration for overseas postings, or for lateral or vertical hiring within the organisation.
Surprisingly the report also revealed that foreign languages are most sought after in the international customer servicing industry such as KPOs and BPOs apart from sectors such as manufacturing, where there is a considerable contact with overseas suppliers, regional offices, customers etc and the need is still growing!
Let me assure you, there’s just no need to get worried. There are many institutes teaching you Spanish, many online resources that can help you learn Spanish to a working knowledge level with adequate frequency. Listen to free podcasts, audiobooks, music and take language lessons online; brush up Spanish by watching foreign language programs, movies on TV and YouTube videos; listen to the news in Spanish and read newspapers in Spanish, online. Then, of course, you could always take up memberships of online conversation platforms such as Italki or join a local conversational Spanish club to seek more Spanish speakers around you to practice.
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