Learning a language has more to it than simply adding up a single CV pointer. It is rare to find foreign language speakers in India, and this renders it as a distinguishing factor. Several business schools including IIFT, MDI, and IIM Calcutta already offer foreign language courses.
Foreign Language skills are generally set as a prerequisite or preferred by multinational organizations offering international positions, but would also act as an icing on the cake domestically. It has limited benefits in the short run, but being proficient in a language is itself a long term process.
Here is how learning a new language can boost your MBA career:
Novartis used to hire candidates for its HR leadership role based in Basel, Switzerland from XLRI until 2010. International offers at Indian B-Schools are not uncommon and a suitable candidate familiar with the language spoken at the work location would undeniably be an asset. One planning on moving to a foreign location post-MBA should start off learning the target language.
According to a Guardian story, acquiring a foreign language can increase salaries by 10-15%. Salary.com, a US-based compensation aggregator, reaffirms the claim stating that a 5-20% increment on the base rate is possible with an additional language. For Indian companies with International operations, a foreign language speaking manager is in a better position for dealing with foreign clients as chances of building a stronger rapport increase exponentially.
Building An Alternate Perspective
Learning a language is akin to entering the shoes of different people - it develops empathy within you. You discover a new perspective of dealing with things. A well-known polyglot learned Hebrew and Arabic to identify the ongoing conflict within the Middle East. Understanding perspectives acts as a catalyst, particularly for an HR manager, facilitating conflict resolution and empathizing.
The Student Exchange Program
Spending a trimester at a foreign university helps you gain several first-hand experiences and knowing the target language already would complement your stay. You would be able to interact with your colleagues, professors and people from the very first day accelerating learning. It is befitting to the European countries where people aren’t comfortable speaking English.
Improvising Thought Process
Research points out that learning another language develops a more logical and rational thought process. Knowledge of more than two languages helps toggle between them effortlessly without breaking a thought process which aids the decision-making process facilitating finding an optimal solution to a problem. It can also help focus on the important details of a problem, filtering out irrelevant stuff which has been implanted to mislead.
Learning a new language entails several other benefits which have been left to the reader to discover. I took up German as a hobby and later discovered the other advantages like a bonus. I would soon share my language learning story to act as a walk-through for those interested in learning a foreign language.
I hope this helps the MBA students planning to take up a new hobby or finding skills to acquire.