Job prospects with MBA & MSCE - can't speak German

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Hi All

 

I have 8+ years technical sales, marketing and business development experience in the Telecom/IT industry. I’ve recently completed my MBA (English) from Berlin. I also have an MS (Communications Engineering) degree (English) from Technical University, Munich.

My German is not good, and so I'm facing a bit of difficulty in finding a job. Currently I'm living in Berlin, but I'm open to relocation.

 

Can you please recommend some companies in Germany (or job sites) which don't have German language requirements?

 

Thanks

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You've spent quite some time in Germany. Haven't you networked and done internships?

 

What I would do if I were you is look at targeted companies' websites to see if they are hiring anyone for international marketing or sales, which may signal that German is not required for the job. I'd also look for positions outside of Germany if I were you, including as a sales engineer.

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I’ve recently completed my MBA (English) from Berlin. I also have an MS (Communications Engineering) degree (English) from Technical University, Munich.

 

You managed to complete two master's degrees in Germany and still haven't learned German?

 

 

My German is not good

 

Do you speak any German? When did you graduate? How much longer are you allowed to look for a job here?

 

The Staufenbiel website has many jobs for recent grads (although most of them require some German).

 

You have not included info on your citzenship(s) nor any other languages you speak, therefore, it is not clear in which countries you are allowed to work. You might want to broaden your search to include countries for which you don't need a work permit and whose langauge you speak.

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Hi Conquistador & engelchen

 

Thanks for your reply.

I'm from India and I've completed my MBA in December 2013 and as per my current job search visa, I'm allowed to search for a job in Germany till June 2014.

I know a little bit of German; I would say it's at A2 level. During my studies, I concentrated more on my academic studies and not on learning German.

 

I think that I'll need work permit for rest of EU also; though I'm open to relocation. But I think I'll face the same language issue in other EU countries also except UK.

Are there any other EU countries (except UK) where English would suffice?

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I've completed my MBA in December 2013 and as per my current job search visa, I'm allowed to search for a job in Germany till June 2014.

 

Why did you only receive a job search permit for 6 months? Or did you graduate in December 2012?

 

 

I know a little bit of German; I would say it's at A2 level.

 

Nowhere near business fluent and if you only have till June 2014 to find a job, I don't know whether it is even worth it to start intensive language courses now.

 

 

But I think I'll face the same language issue in other EU countries also except UK.

Are there any other EU countries (except UK) where English would suffice?

 

Do you have any special skills, experience, etc.? Not being able to communicate with your target market in their own language is a huge obstacle to obtaining a job in sales. You might want to see if you can find any German companies looking to expand their Indian operations.

 

“If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen”

Willy Brandt

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Sorry, my mistake.

My visa is valid till June 2015.

 

Which level is considered business fluent?

Is it B2 or C1?

 

And I know it varies from person to person and lots of other things, but can you please comment as to how much time would it take me to get to B2 level?

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Sorry, but shouldn't an MBA with lots of sales experience be able to market himself, and to figure out which markets to target?

 

B2 isn't enough to do sales in Germany. Business fluent is at least C2, plus you need to understand the market. Remember you're competing with salespeople who are native speakers or otherwise fluent.

 

At my (mid-sized) company, all of the salespeople for the DACH region are natives. Everyone on our international marketing team is trilingual, with German as the lingua franca. Germans will write you off in a heartbeat if they deem your German to be insufficient.

 

There are plenty of EN-speaking countries around the world where you can work- why not look there as well? What about Singapore or Australia?

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Are there any other EU countries (except UK) where English would suffice?

 

Ireland

 

2B

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Hi Conquistador & engelchen

 

Thanks for your reply.

I'm from India and I've completed my MBA in December 2013 and as per my current job search visa, I'm allowed to search for a job in Germany till June 2014.

I know a little bit of German; I would say it's at A2 level. During my studies, I concentrated more on my academic studies and not on learning German.

 

I think that I'll need work permit for rest of EU also; though I'm open to relocation. But I think I'll face the same language issue in other EU countries also except UK.

Are there any other EU countries (except UK) where English would suffice?

 

Try Mahindra Satyam or even IFOSYS or other IT companies from India for their european operations - though they also would want local language fluency - but might consider your sales experience plus MBA

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I know a little bit of German; I would say it's at A2 level.

 

The VHS offers free placement tests (and inexpensive German courses).

 

 

During my studies, I concentrated more on my academic studies and not on learning German.

 

Why? Were you not planning on staying in Germany? I have lost count of how many times I've had this same conversation with foreign students who are considering staying here after graduation. Unfortunately, many foreign students only start learning German after they've started to look for a job.

 

 

And I know it varies from person to person and lots of other things, but can you please comment as to how much time would it take me to get to B2 level?

 

Although you could probably pass the C1 exam within a year if you worked hard at it, it'll take you much longer to reach the near native fluency you'd require for DACH area sales. With 2 master's degrees you really should be able to at least clearly state your USP.

 

 

Sorry, but shouldn't an MBA with lots of sales experience be able to market himself, and to figure out which markets to target?

 

For reasons I just can't comprehend, many marketing grads (as well as foreign HR Professionals) seem to assume they can easily get by in Germany without German. :huh:

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Sorry, but shouldn't an MBA with lots of sales experience be able to market himself, and to figure out which markets to target?

 

B2 isn't enough to do sales in Germany. Business fluent is at least C2, plus you need to understand the market. Remember you're competing with salespeople who are native speakers or otherwise fluent.

 

at least C2? You probably mean at least C1.

 

 

Ireland

 

2B

 

Possibly Malta also.

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Thank you all for your replies and feedback.

 

Well, for one reason, my MBA was of one year and was quite intensive and didn't give us much time to do anything else.

2ndly, I concentrated on my studies and secured both degrees with Honors, so I thought that I could get away with not learning German; but it doesn't seem to be the case now.

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No, I don't think C1 would be business fluent, but YMMV.

 

Yeah, it would perhaps be allright for a backoffice position where you don't have to directly deal with customers' requests.

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Thank you all for your replies and feedback.

 

Well, for one reason, my MBA was of one year and was quite intensive and didn't give us much time to do anything else.

2ndly, I concentrated on my studies and secured both degrees with Honors, so I thought that I could get away with not learning German; but it doesn't seem to be the case now.

 

I can understand what you were thinking, but at the end of the day, work experience and practical skills trump grades, especially for someone with as much work experience as you.

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Your best bet is probably trying to find work for an international company with a smaller presence in Europe, a technical sales position in EMEA where it's only required that you speak English.

 

I work in IT security, and some of the smaller vendors send us people who don't speak German. However, in most cases they don't have a presence in Germany but rather somewhere else in Europe. Many of these positions advertise for English + an additional European language preferably.

 

LinkedIn, monster.de, and stepstone.de are probably your best bet.

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No, I don't think C1 would be business fluent, but YMMV.

 

C2 is basically native level. There is no higher level. There are plenty of people in Germany working with lower level German.

 

With B2 you should be able to get through a job interview in German.

 

It depends on the job anyway. If you're expected to schmooze with clients and sell them a high tech product, you'll need high level German as well as other skills, if you're resetting their Fritzbox password or taking orders in Nordsee, then not so high.

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But you're really going to struggle in customer facing roles without very good German in Germany. That's just the reality. However, I worked at T-Systems, and I had Indian colleagues who spoke no German in BDM, Technical Sales, Marketing, etc. They managed, but only working for certain accounts. Often some accounts have deals where they'll do everything in English (especially large outsourcing deals).

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@arsenal: Sure, I'd agree that it's job-dependent, but for what sort of positions do you see "verhandlungssicher" German demanded? Professional positions that require customer contact. I'd agree that C1 is probably perfectly fine for most back office work, but that's not our context here. The type of sales the OP wants to be involved in is going to require C2 or better if it's a customer-facing position in DACH with German customers. Furthermore, he is going to have to communicate internally with product managers and others so that he will know enough about the products and services he is selling. Depending on the size and degree of multinational presence of the company, salespeople may be expected to communicate internally in German.

 

German-speaking customers in professional positions are usually very demanding and want to deal with someone speaking business fluent German. I don't think that's C1, and definitely not B2. C2, as near native, is a minimum.

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With B2 you should be able to get through a job interview in German.

 

I've done it a couple of times with B1. IT is great for talking "German", because it's perfectly fine to use English words constantly as the Germans do. However, I was never offered a single role where I would have had to speak German.

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