Why your career prospects benefit from German language skills
Advice from HHL alumnus on how to enter the German job market
This interview was first published in October 2020.
Arriving in Germany with basic German language skills, Aneesh Bhardwaj understood the importance of speaking the local language to succeed in the German job market. He therefore took advantage of the German courses offered within the HHL MBA program and made his learning of German an important part of his studies. He eventually moved on to work at Siemens Management Consulting in Munich. While his work at Siemens is mainly in English, he stresses that business also takes place during dinners, lunches and outside of the office.
Speaking the native language builds trust
Speaking the native language helps you build trust with your clients. His experience has taught him: if people can connect with you, they will be more reliable. Additionally, learning the language shows that you have respect for their culture. In this interview, he talks about why your career prospects benefit from German language skills.
“Having a good command of German will help you make the best of your time in Germany and find lifelong friends.”
How important were your German language skills when looking for a job in Germany?
Most of the employers in Germany who target MBA graduates at HHL are in fact doing business in English as the primary language. However, the number of purely English-speaking companies in Germany is limited. Having said that, I believe that it is very valuable to learn German as a language to get the most of your stay in Germany. A master’s degree in Germany should not be limited to an intellectual but also a cultural experience where you get to know the very rich German culture.
In addition to this, the work-life is not limited to the time spent in the office as a lot of interactions take place outside the working hours. Having a good command of German will help you make the best of your time in Germany, make lifelong friends and give you an experience beyond what you were expecting.
“The German language course is planned carefully so as not to conflict with the regular course load, and I recommend taking the opportunity to take advantage of this offer.”
Since my skills in the German language were very limited, I had started with the A1 course at HHL. By the time I graduated, I had reached B2/C1 level through the course offered at HHL. The German language course is planned carefully so as not to conflict with the regular course load, and I recommend taking the opportunity to take advantage of this offer.
In addition to this, I had made it a rule with all my German-speaking colleagues that they had to speak German to me in my leisure time. That really helped re-wire my brain and quickly pick up the language. Leipzig is a great place to study because, in addition to HHL, there is the University of Leipzig which is very well known for courses in science and arts with many students ready to teach you German in exchange for lessons in your mother-tongue.
German job market often requires German-language skills
We asked Psychologist Martina Beermann why German-language skills are so relevant in today’s job market. As the Director Career Development and Employer Relations at HHL she knew Aneesh as a student and shares how she observed his career development.
“Aneesh is a great example of how you can enormously increase your options for a successful career start in Germany. It shows how determination can truly move mountains because the positions at Siemens Management Consulting are in great demand and the hiring requirements are correspondingly high.
For our entire career development team, Aneesh is a true role model for career planning with strategy – right from the start he had a clear vision and a strong commitment to learning and practicing the German language at every opportunity. In addition, he paired this with an interest in his fellow human beings and enjoyment of networking! And not being afraid of making mistakes!
Like learning to walk, learning a language is about constant practice and learning from your mistakes. As we can see here: Even if the beginning is difficult, the effort pays off in the long run.”
Read this in-depth interview with Aneesh to learn more about how he became an expert in his field to increase his job opportunities.
“Like learning to walk, learning a language is about constant practice and learning from your mistakes” – Martina Beermann
HHL prepares students for the German job market
At HHL we want to support our students to make the most out of their experience with us, also by offering German courses at all levels, including pre-program German course for beginners.
The course is offered in a blocked 3-week format which allows you to concentrate solely on studying German without having the pressure to attend regular courses as part of your MBA or M.Sc. Program. In a flexible response to this year’s circumstances, this course was held virtually to ensure access for our international students. If you already have German knowledge, you can skip the intensive course and continue with the optional German courses during your studies at HHL.
German language courses throughout full-time MBA
Once you have completed our pre-program course, HHL offers you an easy transition to the next levels of German language courses (from A1 to B2/C1 level), offered as for-credit courses throughout the duration of your studies at HHL.
If you would like some assistance in finding out if HHL has the right full-time MBA program for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with program consultant Stefanie Sanches for additional information. Just click on the little envelope below her name.
All views expressed in this article are personal opinions of Aneesh Bhardwaj and do not represent the view of SIEMENS AG or any of its affiliates.