You’re ambitious. Your company is growing. You’re looking to expand. Where do you see the future for your business?
Brexit or no Brexit, the future is global. Already, 60% of small businesses are working across international borders. Thanks to innovation in transport and communications, the world has never been smaller. International clients, customers and capital are closer to you than ever before and only getting closer.
Language graduates can help you reach them, but that’s not all they can offer. Here are five key ways a language graduate can add value to your business…
One – They speak multiple languages
Let’s start with the most obvious perk. Graduates with a good degree in languages leave university able to speak their chosen language fluently. If it’s French then that’s an extra 230 million potential clients and customers they can communicate with. For Spanish it’s 570 million, and if it’s Chinese they speak then that’s an extra 1.2 billion. Whether they’re in account management, marketing or sales, language grads are able to develop relationships and follow up on leads that others can’t.
Looking to broaden your horizons? Get a language grad.
Zwei – They’re adaptable
One thing that sets language degrees apart from others is the obligatory year abroad. It might be in Milan, Shanghai or Darkest Peru, but wherever they go students are working in an unfamiliar language, country and culture. If you want someone who is going to be able to cope with being thrown in at the deep end and can adapt seamlessly to new environments, a languages graduate will likely be a good fit.
Time living and working in another country also teaches them local cultural practices and business etiquette, giving you a head start on your competition when arriving in new markets.
Trois – They innovate
Something you might not know is that the language you speak changes the way you think. Evidence shows that people who speak more than one language are actually able to change how they approach a problem by switching languages. For example, research has shown that English-German bilinguals are better at focusing on the present in English, but take a longer-term view in German. This built-in ability to take on a new perspective means they’ll be better than other graduates at finding innovative solutions to your team’s challenges.
Language grads are perfect for when you want to inject fresh ideas into your business.
Cuatro – They’re confident public speakers
A by-product of spending four years speaking in another language (or two), is that you suddenly realise how easy it is to speak your own. If you’re used to thinking about conjugating verbs and declining adjectives while giving presentations, not having to makes public speaking a lot less daunting. As a result, language grads are some of the most natural public speakers out there.
A language grad will have no problem pitching to new clients, partners and VCs at home or abroad.
Wǔ / 五– They’re multi-talented
Today’s language degrees aren’t just about grammar and vocabulary. In fact, language students spend most of their time studying the culture, politics and society of relevant countries, rather than the language itself. Added to this, 80% of students combine their language studies with another discipline. Popular choices include history, politics and business studies. This means language students are usually a two-for-one deal: they offer all the skills and knowledge of another graduate, with the added benefits of an extra language and excellent knowledge of another culture.
Language graduates are anything but one-trick ponies. As the late Apprentice star Stuart Baggs put it: they’re a whole field of ponies.