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Monday, September 8, 2014

Learn languages to boost your MBA 09-09

Learn languages to boost your MBA

Fluency in languages will complement your MBA and help you in your business career

MBA students at the London Business School campus in Dubai

In the increasingly globalised world of work, multinational companies are looking to hire business high-flyers who can communicate in several different languages.
Europe’s top business schools are responding to this need; courses at Insead, IESE, HEC, and London Business School incorporate a language requirement as well as the opportunity to learn and practise another language. Insead teaches Mandarin at Fontainbleu and in Singapore.
For some schools, a language component is a compulsory part of the MBA. The Insead MBA is taught exclusively in English, so fluency in the language is a pre-requisite, but in addition to that, another language at a practical level is also required for entry – and students are expected to add a third language by the time they finish their MBA. “At Insead we believe strongly in the importance of an international outlook and the ability to work effectively in multiple cultures,” says admissions director Pejay Belland.
London Business School (LBS) has no language entry requirement, but students cannot graduate unless they have reached ILR level 2 (limited working proficiency) in a second language. “We expect all of our MBAs to be able to do business in another language and understand that country’s cultural subtleties,” says admissions director for the MBA, David Simpson. Taught over 15-21 months, the LBS MBA incorporates sufficient time for intensive language study and overseas internships, which put students’ language skills to the test.
Seven core languages – Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian – are taught by visiting faculty from Kings College London’s languages department. Besides this, courses in other languages may be offered if there is sufficient demand.
At HEC business school in Paris, the language entry requirement is more relaxed. “You might have lived outside your home country for a period, attended school abroad, or be working for an international company mixing with people from different nationalities,” says admissions director Philippe Oster.
Although classes are taught in English, proficiency in French is required. “French language for non-natives is compulsory and credit bearing. MBA students spend at least four hours a week for eight months learning French,” says Oster.
Masters in management degrees, taught over two years and regarded by many as the equivalent of an MBA, typically include study in several different countries and languages. Sylvie Glandier, head of marketing for UK Trade and Investment in Brussels, is an alumna of ESCP (Europe) and fluent in French, English and German. “I work with British embassies across Europe organising trade fairs and liaising with local suppliers,” she says. “I get the best deals and the best service by negotiating with people in their own language.”

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