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What are the most useful languages to know in the field of International Business?

I am a college freshman who will major in International Business and is choosing a foreign language to study. #field #college #languages #bilingual #business #july20 #july20 #july #july


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Patrick’s Answer

Hey Laniya,

What a great skill to add! I've been working across the globe for the last decade and whilst it obviously depends what part of international business you're most interested in, I would probably lean more towards Spanish or Mandarin in business. Both are increasingly useful but if your heart lies in German, French, Japanese etc, it would certainly hold you in good stead as well! The main thing is that you're personally invested in learning the language for a long period of time to build fluency, so personal interest matters just as much as applicability to business :)

Hope this helps!

Pat

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Simeon’s Answer

Spanish and Mandarin are some of the standard answers, but I'd recommend seeing which cities are the big ones for the industry you're looking to get into. That will give you a better idea of what language to learn because you'll want to pick up the languages associated with the city that you're looking to get into. For instance, medical is big here in Houston and we have a large Vietnamese population, many of whom only speak their native language.

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Bryanna’s Answer

It was recently noted that the three most common languages in the world are English, Spanish and Mandarin. Choosing Spanish or Mandarin would open up a lot of possibilities. I suggest an immersion program where you temporarily live in an environment that requires you to read, write and speak the new language. Good luck!

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Zach’s Answer

I have traveled around the world and been to many foreign countries and one thing I began to notice is the way that people communicate with each other who have different backgrounds. I have found that English is the most common, followed by Spanish (I live in San Diego and have traveled around Latin America so I may be biased). I think one of the most important languages to know in the future would be Mandarin.

Being able to understand where people are coming from and having the flexibility to speak their language will go a long way in making important business connections down the road.

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Bryanna’s Answer

It was recently noted that the three most common languages in the world are English, Spanish and Mandarin. Choosing Spanish or Mandarin would open up a lot of possibilities. I suggest an immersion program where you temporarily live in an environment that requires you to read, write and speak the new language. Good luck!

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Gemma’s Answer

Hi there. I studied both French and Spanish to university level - both of which I have found useful in my career. Both are also easy for a native English speaker to pick up. I am based in Europe and deal with documents coming from the European Commission - often the first time documents are released, it may be issued in French before translated into English.

That said, I would echo that there are many international languages which would be useful in business. If you have an idea of where you might like to work, this might help guide you. For example, French is great in a European context, but Spanish may be more suited to an Americas context; or Arabic/Mandarin for other parts of the world.

As always, go for something you are passionate about as this will help you stay motivated! Bonne chance :)

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Stacey’s Answer

I would 100% agree with Zach and Patrick that you you would do best to learn Spanish or Mandarin as an international business major. These are the two most prominent languages used other than English for many major trade and/or political relationships. I know of several international business majors who elect to minor in one of these languages to boost their marketability when they graduate. Good luck.

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